apl. Prof. Dr. Gernot Horstmann

Contact Details

Name: apl. Prof. Dr. Gernot Horstmann
Postal Address:

Universität Bielefeld
Fakultät für Psychologie und Sportwissenschaft
Abteilung für Psychologie
Postfach 10 01 31
D-33501 Bielefeld
Unit: AE01 / Neuro-Cognitive Psychology
Room: 2.412 (CITEC)
Phone: ++49 (0)521 106 - 12391
Fax: ++49 (0)521 106 - 156934
Email: gernot.horstmann 'at' uni-bielefeld.de
Office-Hour: by agreement (CITEC)


Research Topics

Overall topic

  • Attentional control

Central issues

  • Goal-dependent and goal-independent attention
  • Is there attentional guidance by affective features?
  • Attention and inattention to unexpected events


  • Reaction time tasks, eye tracking
ZiF Research Group 'Competition and priority control in mind & brain: New perspectives from task-driven vision'

The Research Group 'Competition and priority control in mind & brain: New perspectives from task-driven vision'took place at the Center Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) at Bielefeld University (Germany) from October 2012 until July 2013; organized by Werner Schneider (Neuro-cognitive Psychology, Bielefeld University) and Wolfgang Einhäuser-Treyer (Neurophysics, Philipps-University Marburg). The group centers on the working hypothesis that perception, memory and action share competition and priority control ("attention") as integrative principles. A major goal will be to specify these principles at the levels of frameworks, theories and computational models - guided by four perspectives of vision, task, real-world, and priority maps. Besides hosting two conferences and several workshops, the ZIF group consists of more than 20 high-profile resident fellows who will stay at the ZIF for at least one month. The ZiF is Bielefeld University's Institute for Advanced Study - an independent thematically open research institution that is open to scholars from all disciplines and all countries.


DFG (German Research Foundation) 2004-2006 and 2008-2009 "Control of Attention by Expected and Unexpected Stimuli"


Ulrich Ansorge (Vienna), Stefanie Becker (Brisbane), Ottmar Lipp (Brisbane), Ingrid Scharlau (Paderborn),


Attention, Perception and Psychophysics, Advances in Cognitive Psychology, Cognition, Cognition & Emotion, Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, Emotion, European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, European Science Foundation, Experimental Psychology, Evolutionary Psychology, International Journal of Psychophysiology, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, Journal of Vision, Motivation & Emotion,Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Perception & Psychophysics, Psychological Bulletin, PLoS ONE, Psychological Research/Psychologische Forschung, Psychological Science, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Swiss National Fonds, Visual Cognition



Riechelmann, E., Pieczykolan, A., Horstmann, G., Herwig, A., & Huestegge, L. (2017). Spatio-temporal dynamics of action-effect associations in oculomotor control. Acta Psychologica, 180, 130-136. (LINK)

Reisenzein, R., Horstmann, G., & Schützwohl, A. (2017). The cognitive-evolutionary model of surprise: A review of the evidence. Topics in Cognitive Science, in press.

Khalid, S., Horstmann, G., Ditye, T., & Ansorge, U. (2017). Measuring the emotion-specificity of rapid stimulus-driven attraction of attention to fearful faces: evidence from emotion categorization and a comparison with disgusted faces.Psychological Research, 81, 508-523.

Becker, S., Dutt, N., Vromen, J., & Horstmann, G. (2017). The Capture of Attention and the Eyes by Emotional Photographic Faces. Visual Cognition, in press.

Horstmann, G., Becker, S., & Ernst, D. (2017). Dwelling, Rescanning, and Skipping of Distractors Explain Search Efficiency in Difficult Search Better Than Guidance by the Target. Visual Cognition, in press. PDF


Horstmann, G., & Ansorge, U. (2016). Surprise capture and inattentional blindness. Cognition, 157, 237-249. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2016.09.005

Horstmann G, Herwig A and Becker SI (2016) Distractor Dwelling, Skipping, and Revisiting Determine Target Absent Performance in Difficult Visual Search. Front. Psychol. 7:1152. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01152 LINK

Horstmann, G., Becker, S., & Ernst, D. (2016). Perceptual salience captures the eyes on a surprise trial. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics. doi: 10.3758/s13414-016-1102-y

Horstmann, G., & Herwig, A. (2016). Novelty biases attention and gaze in a surprise trial. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 78, 69-77.

Khalid, S., Horstmann, G., Ditye, T., & Ansorge, U. (2016). Measuring the emotion-specificity of rapid stimulus-driven attraction of attention to fearful faces: evidence from emotion categorization and a comparison with disgusted faces.Psychological Research, xx, xx-xx.


Horstmann, G. (2015). The surprise-attention link: a review. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciencees, online-first, . PDF

Schneider, W., Einhäuser, W., & Horstmann, G. (2015). Introduction to Competitive Visual Processing Across Space and Time: Attention, Memory, and Prediction. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1339, v-viii .


Horstmann, G. & Herwig, A. (2014). Surprise attracts the eyes and binds the gaze. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 22, 743-749. . PDF

Becker, S. I., Horstmann, G., & Herwig, A. (2014). Eye Movement Control. Journal of Ophthalmology, 2014.LINK

Venini, D., Remington, R. W., Horstmann, G., & Becker, S. I. (2014). Centre-of-Gravity Fixations in Visual Search: When Looking at Nothing Helps to Find Something. Journal of Ophthalmology, 2014.LINK


Reisenzein, R., Studtmann, M., & Horstmann, G. (2013). Coherence between emotion and facial expression: Evidence from laboratory experiments. Emotion Review, 5 16-23. LINK

Schneider, W. X., Einhäuser, W., & Horstmann, G. (2013). Attentional selection in visual perception, memory and action: a quest for cross-domain integration. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 368(1628) , 20130053.LINK

Savage, R. A., Lipp, O. V., Craig, B. M., Becker, S. I., & Horstmann, G. (2013). In search of the emotional face: Anger versus happiness superiority in visual search. Emotion, 13(4), 758. PDF


Horstmann, G., Lipp, O. V., & Becker, S. I. (2012). Of toothy grins and angry snarls? Open mouth displays contribute to efficiency gains in search for emotional faces. Journal of Vision, 12(5):7, 1-15.LINK


Ansorge, U., Horstmann, G., & Scharlau, I. (2011). Top-down contingent feature-specific orienting with and without awareness of the visual input. Advances in Cognitive Psychology, 7, 108-119. PDF

Becker, S.I., Horstmann, G., & Remington, R.W. (2011). Perceptual grouping, not emotion, accounts for search asymmetries with schematic faces. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 37, 1739-1757. PDF

Becker, S.I., & Horstmann, G. (2011). Novelty and saliency in attentional capture by unannounced motion singletons. Acta Psychologica, 36, 290-299. PDF

Herwig, A., & Horstmann, G. (2011). Action-effect associations revealed by eye movements. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18, 531-537. PDF

Horstmann, G. & Becker, S.I. (2011). Evidence for goal-independent attentional capture from validity effects with unexpected novel color cues - a response to Burnham (2007). Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18, 512-517. PDF

Horstmann, G., & Ansorge, U. (2011). Compatibility between tones, head movements and facial expressions. Emotion, 11, 975-980. PDF


Ansorge, U., Horstmann, G., & Worschech, F. (2010). Attentional capture by masked colour singletons. Vision Research, 50, 2015-2027. PDF

Ansorge, U., Horstmann, G., & Scharlau, I.  (2010). Top-down contingent attentional capture during feed-forward visual processing. Acta Psychologica, 135, 123-126. PDF

Horstmann, G. (2010). Tone-Affect Compatibility with Affective Stimuli and Affective Responses. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63, 2239-2250. PDF

Horstmann, G., Becker, S., Bergmann, S. & Burghaus, L. (2010).  A reversal of the search asymmetry favoring negative schematic faces.  Visual Cognition, 18, 981-1016. PDF


Becker, S.I., Ansorge, U., & Horstmann, G. (2009). Can intertrial priming account for the similarity effect in visual search? Vision Research, 49, 1738-1756.

Horstmann, G. (2009). Visual search for schematic affective faces: Stability and variability of search slopes with different instances. Cognition and Emotion, 23, 355-379. PDF

Horstmann, G. & Ansorge, U. (2009). Visual search for facial expressions of emotions: A comparison of dynamic and static faces. Emotion, 9, 29-38. PDF

Becker, S & Horstmann, G. (2009). A feature-weighting account of priming in conjunction search. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 71, 258-272. PDF


Horstmann, G. & Becker, S. (2008). Attentional effects of negative faces: Top-down contingent or involuntary? Perception and Psychophysics, 70, 1416-1434.  PDF

Horstmann, G. & Becker, S. (2008). Effects of stimulus onset asynchrony and display duration on implicit and explicit measures of attentional capture by a surprising singleton. Visual Cognition, 2/3, 290-306. PDF


Horstmann, G. (2007). Preattentive face processing: What do visual search experiments with schematic faces tell us? Visual Cognition, 15, 799-833. PDF

Ansorge, U. & Horstmann, G. (2007). Premptive control of attentional capture by colour. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 60, 952-975. PDF


Horstmann, G. (2006). On the latency and the duration of the action interruption in surprise. Cognition & Emotion, 20, 242-273. PDF.

Horstmann, G. (2006). Time course of intended and unintended orienting of attention. Psychological Research /Psychologische Forschung, 70, 13-25. PDF.

Horstmann, G., & Ansorge, U.(2006). Attentional capture by rare singletons. Visual Cognition, 14, 295-325. PDF.

Horstmann, G. & Bauland, A. (2006). Search asymmetries with real faces: Testing the anger-superiority effect. Emotion, 6, 193-207.PDF.

Horstmann, G., Borgstedt, K. & Heumann, M. (2006). Flanker effects with faces may depend on perceptual as well as emotional differences. Emotion, 6, 28-39. PDF.

Horstmann, G., Scharlau, I., & Ansorge, U. (2006). More efficient rejection of happy than angry face distractors in visual search. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 13, 1067-1073.PDF

Hegel, F., Spexard, T., Vogt, T., Horstmann, G. & Wrede, B. (2006). Playing a different imitation game: Interaction with an emphatic android robot. Proceedings of the IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids '06)., 56-61. PDF

Meyer, W.U. & Horstmann, G. (2006). Emotion. In Kurt Pawlik (Hrsg.)., Handbuch der Psychologie (S. 231-238)., Springer, Heidelberg.

Scharlau, I., and Horstmann, G. (2006). Perceptual latency priming and illusory line motion: Facilitation by gradients of attention? Advances in Cognitive Psychology, 2, 87-97.PDF.

Scharlau, I., Ansorge, U. & Horstmann, G. (2006). Latency facilitation in temporal-order judgments: Time course of facilitation as a function of judgment type. Acta Psychologica, 122, 129-159. PDF.


Horstmann, G. (2005). Attentional capture by an unannounced color singleton depends on expectation discrepancy. Journal of Experimental Psychology:Human Perception and Performance, 31, 1039-1060. PDF.

Anorge, U., Horstmann, G., & Carbone, E. (2005). Top-down contingent capture by color: Evidence from RT distribution analyses in a manual choice reaction task. Acta Psychologica, 120, 243-266.

Reisenzein, R. und Horstmann, G. (2005). Emotionen. In Hans Spada, Lehrbuch Allgemeine Psychologie (435-500). Bern: Huber.


Horstmann, G. (2003). The psychological refractory period of stopping. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 29, 965-981. PDF

Horstmann, G (2003). What do facial expressions convey: Feeling states, behavioral intentions, or action requests? Emotion, 3, 150-166. PDF


Horstmann, G. (2002). Evidence for attentional capture by a surprising color singleton in visual search. Psychological Science, 13, 499-505. PDF 

Horstmann, G. (2002). Facial expressions of emotion: Does the prototype represent central tendency, frequency of instantiation, or an ideal? Emotion, 2, 297-305. PDF

2001 and earlier

Horstmann, G. (2001). Judgements of typicality and frequency of facial expressions of emotion. In K. J. Jonas, P. Breuer, B. Schauenberg & M. Boos (Eds)., Perspectives on Internet research: Concepts and Methods. (WWW document). URL: http://www.gor.de/gor01/proceedings/

Schützwohl, A. & Horstmann, G. (1999). Überraschung, Handlungsunterbrechung und Schemarevision. In M. Jerusalem & R. Pekrun (Hrsg.)., Emotion, Motivation und Leistung (S. 65-77). Göttingen: Hogrefe.

Horstmann, G. & Schützwohl, A. (1998). Der Einfluss der Verknüpfungsstärke von Schemaelementen auf die Stärke der Überraschungsreaktion. Zeitschrift für Experimentelle Psychologie, 45, 203-217.

Wulf, G., Horstmann, G. & Choi, B. (1995). Does mental practice work like physical practice without information feedback? Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 66, 262-267.

Curriculum Vitae


  • 2014 Adjunct Professor at the Psychology Department, Bielefeld University
  • Since May 2011: Organizing Assistent to the ZiF Research Group Competition and Priority Control in Mind and Brain
  • 2006-2011 Temporary Professorships at the Psychology Departments of the Universities of Erlangen-Nürnberg & Bielefeld, Germany
  • 2002-2011 Lecturer (wissenschaftlicher Assistent), Department Psychology, Bielefeld University (C1)

  • 2007 Habilitation Degree for Psychology, Bielefeld University, Germany; Habilitation thesis on Action interrruption and orienting of attention elicited by expected and unexpected stimulus changes
  • 2001 Dr. phil., Department Psychology, Bielefeld University, Germany; Doctoral thesis on The interrupt function of surprise: A new experimental paradigm and a test of the automaticity hypothesis
  • 1996 Diploma study program 'Psychology', Bielefeld University, Germany
Current administrative activities

  • MSc Psychology student selection committee