Bachelor and Master Theses

Investigating pupil-linked arousal responses to changes in environmental statistics

A growing body of study demonstrates that humans track statistical regularities in their environments and build models to cope with uncertainties in the world. However, as with every model, mental models of agents encounter uncertainties due to changes in environmental statistics. Uncertainties offer risk and/or opportunity, therefore mandating arousal, and require internal models of environmental regularities to be either updated or changed with an alternative. LC-NE is thought to regulate such arousal and model updating and replacement in the brain. Since LC-NE also has a correlational relationship with pupil dilation responses, those responses can be used to infer the time-dependent activity of the LC-NE while uncertainties occur.

In this bachelor thesis, you will present auditory and/or visual patterns to participants and measure their pupil responses to changes in environmental statistics as a result of the model maintenance process.

You will work with Hamit Basgol in order to design a new experiment and analyze its results in Python/Psychopy. If you are interested, please get in touch with Hamit Basgol,

Visual perception and visually-guided actions: Do they have similar scales of size resolution?

Several researchers (Ganel et al., 2012, Goehringer et al., 2019, Heath et al., 2022) have tried to answer whether actions like grasping can better resolve size differences than perceptual judgement. This question is relevant for the Perception-Action Model (Milner & Goodale, 2008) which assumes that the same visual information is processed in different ways for visual perception and visually-guided actions. In this project, we aim to investigate this issue with replications and improved analysis methods.

This Bachelor or Master thesis will involve designing, programming and conducting an experiment using MATLAB and analysing the results using R. Reaction times and movement kinematics will be recorded and analysed.

This particular project can also be more focused on experimental data collection or data analysis/statistics depending on what you would rather work on. Please indicate your preferences in an email.

This project is led by Kriti Bhatia. If interested, please send an email here:, with a few sentences about your background (study program, interests) and time-frame when you would like to work on this project. However, the exact topic of the thesis is flexible and can be tailored to your interests.

Are People Confident When Artifical Neural Networks Are Confident? (with Sascha Meyen)

A recent investigation by Prof. Wichmann and colleagues revealed that state of the art artificial neural networks that are supposed to model the human visual system are disappointingly inconsistent with how humans classify images (Beyond accuracy: quantifying trial-by-trial behaviour of CNNs and humans by measuring error consistency (Geirhos et al., 2020)). We want to further investigate this gap between artifical neural networks vs. humans and dig deeper.

In this Bachelor or Master thesis, you will repeat the existing experiment and make modifications (in Matlab and R). The main question is: Are artificial neural networks confident when humans are confident? Depending on your preference, you can refine methods for the consistency between neural network and human responses (more statistics oriented) or, alternatively, include more artificial neural networks (more computer science oriented).

If you are interested, send me an email.

Developing Flicker-Priming for Unconscious Processing (with Sascha Meyen and Alexander Blöck)

A black-and-white flickering (when flickering fast enough) appears as grey to the observer. Nevertheless, the flickering can be decoded in EEG of human observers as shown by the literature on steady-state visually evoked potentials. We ask the question: Can human observers unconsciously process these flickering stimuli (e.g., the "1" in the figure)?

In this Bachelor thesis, you will adapt a simple experiment to present these flickering stimuli to participants (in Matlab and R). You will analyze the data with the perspective of recent methods developed for unconsciousness research (Meyen et al., 2022; Biafora & Schmidt, 2020). With that, you will develop a new paradigm for investigating unconscious processing.

If you are interested, send me an email.