University of Wisconsin–Madison

Emily Ward

Assistant Professor

517 Psychology

Research Area(s):
Cognitive and Cognitive Neuroscience

Lab website:

Research Interest
My lab explores the nature of human visual processing, with an emphasis on the ways in which high-level perception interacts with and constrains other processes in the mind. Some of the specific questions that we have explored are: What determines whether we become aware of something? What factors determine how accurately we perceive something? How do visual factors constrain what we remember? How does the brain transform representations, such as linking two states of an object, for example, before and after an object undergoes a physical state change? To address these topics, we use a combination of behavioral and functional neuroimaging methods, including both creating novel visual tasks and applying pattern analysis and machine learning to explore neural representations and transformation.

Representative publications
Ward, E. J., Bear, A., & Scholl, B. J. (2016). Can you perceive ensembles without perceiving individuals?: The role of statistical perception in determining whether awareness overflows access. Cognition, 152, 78-86.

Ward, E. J. & Chun, M. M. (2016). Neural discriminability of object features predicts perceptual organization. Psychological Science, 27, 3-11.

Ward, E. J. & Scholl, B. J. (2015). Stochastic or systematic?: Seemingly random perceptual switching in bistable events triggered by transient unconscious cues. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance. 41, 929-939.

Ward, E. J. & Scholl, B. J. (2015). Inattentional blindness reflects limitations on perception, not memory: Evidence from repeated failures of awareness. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 22, 722-727.

Ward, E. J., Chun, M. M., & Kuhl, B. A. (2013). Repetition suppression and multi-voxel pattern similarity differentially track implicit and explicit visual memory. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(37): 14749-14757.