Universität Bielefeld

© Universität Bielefeld

Apl. Prof. Dr. Gernot Horstmann

Contact Details

Name: 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
  • Target guidance and distractor rejection influences on visual search efficiency
  • The perception of gaze


  • Reaction time tasks, eye tracking, psychophysics

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

DFG grant 2016-2019 "Expectation Discrepancy, Eye Movements, and Attention"



Horstmann, G., Ernst, D., & Becker, S (2019). Dwelling on distractors varying in target-distractor similarity. Online first LINK.

Horstmann, G., & Loth, S. (2019). The Mona Lisa Illusion - Scientists See Her Looking at Them Though She Isn't. i-Perception, 10(1), 1-5. doi:10.1177/2041669518821702. . LINK

Horstmann, G., & Becker, S (2019). More efficient visual search for happy faces may not indicate guidance, but rather faster distractor rejection: Evidence from eye movements and fixations. Emotion, in press.


Ernst, D., & Horstmann, G. (2018). Pure color novelty captures the gaze. Visual Cognition, 26, 366-381. PDF

Loth, S., Horstmann, G., Osterbrink, C., & Kopp, S. (2018). Accuracy of Perceiving Precisely Gazing Virtual Agents. In Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents - IVA 18 (pp. 263-268). Sydney, NSW, Australia: ACM Press. https://doi.org/10.1145/3267851.3267852 PDF


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, 11 (1), 50-74 PDF

Poth, C., & Horstmann, G. (2017). Assessing the monitor warm-up required before a psychological experiment can gebin. The Quantitative Methods for Psychology, 13,> 166-173. PDF

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. PDF

Becker, S., Dutt, N., Vromen, J., & Horstmann, G. (2017). The Capture of Attention and the Eyes by Emotional Photographic Faces. Visual Cognition, 25:1-3, 241-261. PDF

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 PDF

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 PDF

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


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 . PDF


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. PDF

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 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

  • Head of the MSc Psychology student selection committee
  • Coordinater for BSc Psychology Module Perception and Cognition
  • Coordinater for BSc Psychology Module Experimental Practicum
  • Coordinater for MSc Psychology Module Experimental Seminar
  • Coordinater for BSc Cognitive Informatics Module Perception & Cognition
  • Coordinater for BSc Sport Sciences Module Neuro-Cognitive Psychology