ZiF Research Group

Cognitive Behavior of Humans, Animals, and Machines:

Situation Model Perspectives

October 2019 – July 2020

Convenors: Werner Schneider (Bielefeld, GER), Helge Ritter (Bielefeld, GER)

Heinrich René Liesefeld


Foto General and Experimental Psychology,
Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, Germany
E-Mail: heinrich.liesefeld@psy.lmu.de


René studied Psychology at Saarland University (UdS), including stays abroad in Nancy and Shanghai, graduating with a thesis on working memory and intelligence (2008; supervisor: Dirk Wentura). He conducted behavioral, EEG and fMRI experiments and spend 5 months at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing) for his PhD on mental rotation (2012; supervisor: Hubert D. Zimmer). After a short postdoc at UdS on visual long-term memory, working half-time in a user-interface-design company, he moved to Hermann J. Müller's lab at LMU for a postdoc on visual search. There and during a research stay with Marius Usher (Tel Aviv), he learned computational modeling. Since about 2015, René is a principle investigator in Hermann's group, conducting and supervising various projects on visual working memory and visual search based on grants to Hermann and his own funding. Together they recently organized an international workshop and edited a special issue on visual working memory.

Current Main Research Interests

René is interested in how attentional and working-memory resources are distributed across the various objects in a visual scene, focusing on priority maps and distraction. Priority maps are spatial representations coding for behavioral relevance and guiding allocation of scarce cognitive resources. Distractors are irrelevant to the task at hand but still have the potential to achieve high priority and therefore to hamper task performance. René employs a mixture of empirical (including psychophysics and EEG) and modeling/theoretical techniques to approach questions such as the architecture of priority-map computations, the influence of saliency/priority on visual working memory encoding, and the various (control- and experience-based) cognitive mechanisms supporting distractor handling. In addition, he is interested in methodological questions such as EEG latency measures and how to account for speed-accuracy tradeoffs. He is currently extending his repertoire towards virtual reality, combining EEG and eye tracking, and integration of EEG data into cognitive modeling.

Five selected publications with particular relevance to the Research Group
  • Liesefeld, H. R., Liesefeld, A. M., & Müller, H. J. (2019). Two good reasons to say 'change! ' — ensemble representations as well as item representations impact standard measures of VWM capacity. British Journal of Psychology, 110, 328-356. doi:10.1111/bjop.12359
  • Liesefeld, H. R., & Müller, H. J. (2019). Distractor handling via dimension weighting. Current Opinion in Psychology, 29, 160-167. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2019.03.003
  • Sauter, M., Liesefeld, H. R., & Müller, H. J. (2019). Learning to suppress salient distractors in the target dimension: Region-based inhibition is persistent and transfers to distractors in a non-target dimension. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/xlm0000691
  • Liesefeld, H. R., Liesefeld, A. M., Töllner, T., & Müller, H. J. (2017). Attentional capture in visual search: capture and post-capture dynamics revealed by EEG. NeuroImage, 156, 166-173. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.05.016
  • Liesefeld, H. R., Moran, R., Usher, M., Müller, H. J., & Zehetleitner, M. (2016). Search efficiency as a function of target saliency: The transition from inefficient to efficient search and beyond. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 42, 821-836. doi:10.1037/xhp0000156