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Alla Yankouskaya

Postdoctoral Researcher


My current work focuses on understanding neural mechanisms of self-and reward-prioritization.  This project feeds into a larger body of work that aims to examine perceptual biases in processing of stimuli associated with the self and reward. I am using behavioural testing and eye-tracking along with multivariate pattern and functional connectivity analyses to explore how learning-induced visual and semantic information is instantiated in the brain.

My previous work was concerned with the relationship between processing of identity and emotional expression in faces. This research steams from my interest in integrative processing of different types of visual information in simple objects and complex objects such as human faces. This was addressed by testing for independence versus interaction between the two processes at behavioural and neural level using the redundant target paradigm. I applying novel in face processing approach to test (i) whether greater experience with faces was associated with greater redundancy gains and super capacity in processing of identity and emotional expression, (ii) whether the coactive processing was preserved with age, (iii) what neural mechanisms support the integrative processing.  

I am also interested in exploring of how predictable visual illusions. For example, it is well known that overlapping visual fields of the two eyes allow the brain reconstruct the structure of the visual world. When two eyes are simultaneously presented with two different patterns (e.g., salient static object and moving pattern), however, rather than forming a stable vision, the two stimuli can compete for visual dominance, with perception alternating between one stimulus and the other every few seconds (phenomenon called binocular rivalry). Similar happens when the two spatially overlapped patterns are presented to both eyes. However in the later case the only static object is likely to repeatedly disappear for few seconds (phenomenon called motion induced blindness).  The project that I was working on aimed to examine whether the disappearance of the static object in MIB might have a predictable pattern.