Visual Sensation & Perception

Principal Investigator | LINE staff implicated | Collaborators | Overview | Representative Publications | Financial Support

Principal Investigator



  • Prof. Yvan Arsenijevic
    (Hôpital ophtalmique Jules-Gonin)
  • Prof. Francine Behar-Cohen
    (Hôpital ophtalmique Jules-Gonin)
  • Prof. Francois Borruat
    (Hôpital ophtalmique Jules-Gonin)
  • Dr. Sylvan Crippa
    (Hôpital ophtalmique Jules-Gonin)
  • Dr. Pierre-François Kaeser
    (Hôpital ophtalmique Jules-Gonin)
  • Prof. Aki Kawasaki
    (Hôpital ophtalmique Jules-Gonin)
  • Dr. Gérard Loquet
    (University of Fribourg)
  • Prof. Francis Munier
    (Hôpital ophtalmique Jules-Gonin)
  • Prof. Eric Rouiller
    (University of Fribourg)


  • Prof. Christoph Herrmann
    (University of Oldenburg, Germany)

  • Prof. Charles E. Schroeder
    (Columbia University, USA)

  • Prof. Daniel C. Javitt
    (The Nathan Kline Institute, USA)


"Seeing seems effortless, despite needing to segregate and integrate visual information that varies in its quality, quantity, and location. The extent to which seeing passively recapitulates the external world is challenged by phenomena such as illusory contours, an example of visual completion whereby borders are perceived despite their physical absence in the image. Instead, visual completion and seeing are increasingly conceived as active processes, dependent on information exchange across neural populations. How this is instantiated in the brain remains controversial. Divergent models emanate from single-unit and population-level electrophysiology, neuroimaging, and neurostimulation studies. Our work strives to reconcile discrepant findings from different methods and disciplines, and underscores the importance of taking into account spatio-temporal brain dynamics in generating models of brain function and perception." (from Murray & Herrmann 2013 TiCS)

Aside from examining these processes in the healthy brain, our work likewise investigates these processes in neuropsychiatric disorders including psychosis, schizophrenia, and mood disorders as part of the Swiss National Center of Excellence NCCR-SYNAPSY. The underlying hypothesis is that these disorders include impairments in low-level sensory processes that indeed may serve as biomarkers.

Most recently, we have begun an intensive collaboration with the Hôpital ophtalmique Jules-Gonin located in Lausanne, Switzerland to evaluate visual functions and their rehabilitation in patients with impaired vision.


Representative Publications

  • Murray MM, Herrmann CS (2013) Illusory contours: a window onto the neurophysiology of constructing perception. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17(9): 471-481.
  • Herrmann CS, Murray MM (2013) Seeing things that are not there: Illusions reveal how our brain constructs what we see. Frontiers in Neuroscience for Young Minds, in press.
  • Knebel JF, Murray MM. (2012). Towards a resolution of conflicting models of illusory contour processing in humans. Neuroimage, 59: 2808-2817.
  • Knebel JF, Javitt DC, Murray MM. (2011). Impaired early visual response modulations to spatial information in chronic schizophrenia. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 193: 168-176.
  • Cocchi L, Zalesky A, Toepel U, Whitford TJ, De Lucia M, Murray MM, Carter O. (2011). Dynamic changes in brain functional connectivity during concurrent dual-task performance. PLoS One, 6(11): e28301. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028301.
  • Cocchi L, Toepel U, De Lucia M, Martuzzi R, Wood SJ, Carter O, Murray MM. (2011). Working memory load improves early stages of independent visual processing. Neuropsychologia, 49: 92-102.
  • Shpaner M, Murray MM, Foxe JJ. (2009) Early processing in human LOC is highly responsive to illusory contours but not to salient regions. European Journal of Neuroscience, 30:2018-2028.
  • Knebel JF, Toepel U, Hudry J, Le Coutre J, Murray MM. (2008) Generating controlled image sets in cognitive neuroscience research. Brain Topography 20: 284-290.
  • Murray MM*, Imber ML*, Javitt DC, Foxe JJ (2006) Boundary completion is automatic and dissociable from shape discrimination. Journal of Neuroscience 26: 12043-12054.
  • Foxe JJ, Murray MM, Javitt DC (2005) Filling-in in schizophrenia: a high-density electrical mapping and source-analysis investigation of illusory contour processing. Cereb Cortex 15: 1914-1927.
  • Murray MM, Foxe DM, Javitt DC, Foxe JJ (2004) Setting boundaries: brain dynamics of modal and amodal illusory shape completion in humans. Journal of Neuroscience 24: 6898-6903.
  • Michel CM, Seeck M, Murray MM (2004) The speed of visual cognition. In: Hallett M, Phillips L, Schomer D, Massey J (Eds.) Advances in Clinical Neurophysiology, Supplements to Clinical Neurophysiology 57: 617-27.
  • Murray MM, Wylie GR, Higgins BA, Javitt DC, Schroeder CE, Foxe JJ (2002) The spatio-temporal dynamics of illusory contour processing: combined high-density electrical mapping, source analysis, and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Journal of Neuroscience 22: 5055-73.

Financial Support

Current funding:

  • Swiss National Science Foundation, National Center of Competence in Research (SYNAPSY – The Synaptic Bases of Mental Disease, project no. 51AU40_125759);

Past funding:

  • Swiss National Science Foundation (grant #310030B_133136; PI: Micah Murray)
  • Swiss National Science Foundation (grant #320000_120579; PI: Reto Meuli, Co-investigator: Micah Murray)




CHUV - BH 08.078 - rue du Bugnon 46 - CH-1011 Lausanne
Tel. +41 21 314 13 21
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