Welcome to the Different Minds Lab at the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia, where we believe that . . . 

Great minds think different. 

In the Different Minds Lab, we explore how experience, culture and biology converge to shape that way we perceive the world.  We investigate the strategies of perceptual experts such as birdwatchers, dermatology specialists and car enthusiasts using eye-tracking, EEG and psychophysics methods. We are interested in understanding the perceptual operations and cues (e.g., color, motion, spatial frequency) that experts employ to identify objects in their expert domain. We also examine the everyday expertise of face recognition. As "face experts,"  most of us are able to identify a familiar face or emotional expression in a split second without conscious thought.  In our lab, we study the cognitive processes, temporal dynamics and neural substrates behind face recognition and compare how face recognition is similar to and different from expert object recognition. We are also interested in what happens when the face recognition is compromised due to prosopagnosia or autism. Finally, we are interested in the "paths to expertise"; that is,  what sort of training and learning is involved as someone becomes an expert. 

In the DML, we apply our understanding of perceptual expertise to develop state-of-the-science treatment interventions and education programs. Our Centre for Autism Research, Technology and Education (CARTE) has designed the Let's Face It! iPad app to teach face recognition skills to children with autism. We also use automatic expression recognition programs to develop training programs in emotion perception and production for children on the autism spectrum. At the Different Minds Lab and CARTE, we build "new tools for different minds." Our goal is to create innovative technologies that are clinically validated, low cost, and on the cutting edge of intervention science.

The Different Minds Lab (left to right): Michaella Trites, Yunxiang Zhang, Xiaoyi Liu, Kaitlyn Thomas, Fiona Lojong, Amy VanWell, Lauren Kean, Maddie Topfer, Liz Gregory, Serena Stewart, Marie Söntgerath, Jacqueline Carhoun, Derek Douglas, Alison Campbell, Jim Tanaka

Photo Credit: Maximilian Rabe

 Lab News & Events

Congratulations to Simen Hagen (DML alumnus) for publication of 
"Examining the neural correlates of within-category discrimination in face and a non-face expert recognition" in press at Neuropsychologia.

Jim Tanaka will deliver the keynote address at the 38th Banff Annual Seminar in Cognitive Science (BASICS) , May 3rd and 4th, Banff, Alberta. 

Congratulations to Simen Hagen.  Simen will begin a post-doctoral position in the new year  with Bruno Rossion in Nancy, France.

Congratulations to Buyun Xu, CEO of his new company Abstractia who desgin innovative training platforms in visual learning.