Psychophysics of visual perception
Psychophysics of visual perception

Probing the capabilities and limits of biological vision is one of the fundamental goals of visual neuroscience. Since its foundation, our lab has pursued this goal using a variety of psychophysical tools, including visual priming and classification imageĀ approaches, pioneering the study of rat visual cognition. Our work has shown that rats can:

  • recognize visual objects despite substantial changes in their appearance (Zoccolan et al., 2009; Tafazoli et al., 2012), using advanced, multifeatural shape processing strategies (Alemi-Neissi et al., 2013; Rosselli et al., 2015; Djurdjevic et al., 2018; Muratore et al, 2024)
  • integrate visual and tactile information to optimally process oriented patterns (Nikbakht et al., 2018)
  • perceive global motion direction of complex visual patterns (Matteucci et al., 2021)
  • discriminate visual textures defined by multi-point correlations, displaying the same pattern of sensitivity found in human participants and predicted by the efficient coding principle (Caramellino et al., 2021)

See below for a complete list of our behavioral studies.

Selected articles
Unraveling the complexity of rat object vision requires a full convolutional network-and beyond
Muratore P, Alemi A, Zoccolan D (2024)
Biorxiv: doi:
Rat sensitivity to multipoint statistics is predicted by efficient coding of natural scenes
Caramellino R*, Piasini E*, Buccellato A, Carboncino A, Balasubramanian V & Zoccolan D (2021)
eLife: 2021; 10:e72081
Rats spontaneously perceive global motion direction of drifting plaids
Matteucci G*, Zattera B*, Bellacosa Marotti R, & Zoccolan D (2021)
Plos Comp. Biol.: 17(9): e1009415
A general-purpose mechanism of visual feature association in visual word identification and beyond.
Vidal Y, Viviani E, Zoccolan D & Crepaldi D (2021)
Curr. Biol.: 31(6), 1261-1267
A passive, camera-based head-tracking system for real-time, three-dimensional estimation of head position and orientation in rodents.
Vanzella W*, Grion N*, Bertolini D*, Perissinotto A, Gigante M & Zoccolan D (2019)
J. Neurophys. : 122, 2220-2242
Accuracy of rats in discriminating visual objects is explained by the complexity of their perceptual strategy.
Djurdjevic V*, Ansuini A*, Bertolini D, Macke JH & Zoccolan D (2018)
Curr. Biol. : 28(7), 1005-1015
Supralinear and supramodal integration of visual and tactile signals in rats: psychophysics and neuronal mechanisms.
Nikbakht N, Tafreshiha A, Zoccolan D & Diamond ME (2018)
Neuron : 97, 626-639
Object similarity affects the perceptual strategy underlying invariant visual object recognition in rats.
Rosselli FB*, Alemi A*, Ansuini A & Zoccolan D (2015)
Front. Neural Circuits : 9(10). doi: 10.3389/fncir.2015.00010
Multifeatural shape processing in rats engaged in invariant visual object recognition.
Alemi-Neissi A*, Rosselli BF* & Zoccolan D (2013)
J. Neurosci. : 33, 5939-5956
Transformation-tolerant object recognition in rats revealed by visual priming.
Tafazoli S*, Di Filippo A* & Zoccolan D (2012)
J. Neurosci. : 32, 21-34
A rodent model for the study of invariant visual object recognition.
Zoccolan D*, Oertelt N*, DiCarlo JJ & Cox DD (2009)
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA : 106, 8748-53