Linus Holm

Associate professor

Address: Department of Psychology
Behavioural Sciences Building
Umeå University
S-901 87 Umeå
Ph: 46 (0)90 - 786 76 07
Fax: 46 (0)90 - 786 66 95

I received my Ph. D. in psychology in September 2007 with Prof. Timo Mäntylä as main supervisor. My doctoral thesis is entitled “Predictive eyes precede retrieval: Visual recognition as hypothesis testing” and investigated eye movement control in scene and object recognition. I spent two quarters at UCLA in Prof. Bob Bjork’s lab during my Ph.D. training, on a scholarship from the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education. Immediately after my dissertation defense, I moved to Minneapolis to work with Prof. Stephen Engel at the University of Minnesota, in a project entitled “How rich knowledge resolves poor vision”, funded by the Swedish Research Council. The project involved computational modelling and empirical testing of information selection using eye movements by humans in object recognition. The project also included a brief stay in Prof. Alan Yuille’s lab at UCLA.  I returned to Umeå University for a second two year post doc period, working on timing control with Prof. Guy Madison. Since 2013 I am Associate Professor (docent) at Umeå University.

I mainly teach vision, including visual perception, visual cognition and visual neuroscience. I also supervise several bachelor and master’s thesis projects, which over the years have covered a wide range of topics including interaction tool development for severely autistic persons, creative tool use in New Caledonian crows, functional field of view effects of object learning, quantification of curiosity and more. Students about to begin their thesis course are strongly encouraged to contact me to discuss topics.

Scientific Program
Humans are limited in the information they can extract and process from the environment.  Thus, through our biological past, it has been vital that we extract the important information about the positions of predators, food and mates. In grasping for a key in your pocket or finding a friend in a crowd to avoiding a stalking predator, you act to receive the information distinguishing the right key from the wrong, your friend from the strangers and the camouflaged predator from its surround. Your movements give rise to a cycle of sensory impression and action. At the heart of the sensation and action exchange lays selection. The decisions involved in selecting where and when to move your fingers and eyes are made continuously throughout our waking hours and make the difference between success and failure for the organism. In my research, I try to understand how humans make these decisions using experimental and computational methods.

Ongoing projects:

  1. I investigate sensory motor control in timing within a project entitled “The causal relationship between cognitive processing and brief interval timing”  funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet).
  2. Timing is fundamental to music production and perception. I collaborate in a research program entitled “Den musicerande människan - kultur och arv i samspel” headed by professor Fredrik Ullén, Karolinska Institute, to identify hereditary and training related timing control, financed by the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond).
  3. Selecting the actions with the highest expected information outcome seems sensible from a learning perspective, it is also possible that they are the most appealing and spark curiosity the most. This theme is investigated in a project called “Curiosity and the reward of learning “ which is  funded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien).

Sidansvarig: Linus Holm