• Research

    We investigate the mechanisms underlying visual perception, judgment and behavior. The two main themes are on face perception and self-motion perception.

    Face Perception and Emotion

    we investigate the influence of prior exposure to stimuli in the visual and auditory modalities that affect our judgment of facial expression and emotion, identity and facial attractiveness. We use psychophysical experiments, eye movement tracking and EEG recordings.

    Self-motion Perception and Navigation

    In self-motion perception, we investigate the human factors in efficient and effective way-finding and speed thresholds for road users. We use survey studies, psychophysical experiments, eye movement tracking, virtual reality simulation, computational modeling, and onsite mockup test from different perspectives (e.g., the designers, visual perception, user experience, and engineering).

  • Principal Investigator

    XU, Hong, Assistant Professor

    I am curious about how we perceive the world, make judgement, and act accordingly? I started to be interested in physiological psychology when I was an undergraduate and research assistant at the State Key Laboratory of Physiological Psychology in Peking University. Then I went to the University of Chicago to study the neural correlates of heading perception and judgment by single unit recording from non-human primates for Ph.D research at the Department of Psychology. At the same time, to analyze the neural data I also studied statistics with a Master’s degree. I then worked on face perception by cross-level visual adaptation in human psychophysics at Columbia University (Center for Neurobiology and Behavior) as a postdoctoral fellow before I joined NTU. My lab at NTU investigates human visual perception (face and heading/navigation in particular), the neural basis for visual perception such as how information processing along the neural pathways (e.g., bottom-up and top-down), the integration of auditory and visual sensory systems, and computational modeling the neural system and behavior.

  • Research Fellow

    Face recognition is an effortless task for the vast majority of us. When we see someone we know, it is easy to recollect details that are linked to this person, such as a name or shared times together. Individuals with developmental prosopagnosia, however, struggle in daily life to easily recall such information that is attached to a face. Through the use of behavioural, EEG and MEG measures, my PhD research at Swansea University focused on answering why these individuals find it so hard to recognise faces. Here at NTU I am continuing my interest in prosopagnosia and how such individuals process different types of visual information.

  • PhD Students

    I received my M.Sc in Psychology in 2010 and postgraduate certificate in cognitive aging and cognitive epidemiology in 2012 (University of Edinburgh). I then began my PhD studies in the Visual Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at NTU in 2012.

    My main research interests concern the emotional face perception and emotional influences on behavior. I am currently studying the underlying mechanisms of emotional face perception using both psychophysics and EEG techniques.

    I have received my Master degree in 2014, from University of Glasgow; and my Bachelor degree in 2013, from Beijing Forestry University.

    My research interest is face perception, especially in how others' facial emotions influence individual's perception of their social characteristics.

    My research interest is multisensory emotion perception.

    I study the interaction between facial expression and emotional prosody when forming an emotion percept. Essentially, the research question I am asking is whether the two cues are always combined or only do so under certain conditions.

    My research interest lies in investigating variation of driver's visual features (e.g. saccade, fixation and blink) in different driving environments. I am also interested in different algorithms for event detection in eye tracking data. Through studying how eye movements cope with real world and cognitive demands, I hope to get a better understanding of how prediction, learning and attention work with sensory signals to contribute to the effective operation of eye movements during driving conditions. Then possibly lead to bridge the gap between intelligent autonomous behaviour and human driving perception (with smooth maneuvers and driving with foresight normally).

  • Project Officers

    I graduated with my Bachelor degree in Psychology in 2016 from NTU, School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Currently, I am working on speed perception of simple objects projected to the screen and in virtual reality (VR) simulation, and whether the perception differs from moving objects in real life. Besides perception, I am interested in clinical psychology and human factors.

    My current project draws upon research in visual processing and object perception in the real world to design and evaluate systems and products in an empirical setting. Outside of this work, I am also interested in biological, clinical, health, and social psychology research. Currently, I am particularly keen to learn more about psychometrics and sleep psychology.

    I have been working as software developer since graduated with computer engineering degree from Shanghai University in 2001.

    Now I am helping on the speed threshold project, to build a two-way communication system between physical motion sensor and VR simulator. The data collected from the system can be used to analyze the behavior of road user and finally to increase the road safety.

  • Publication

    1. H.J. Ying, E.J. Burns, X.Y. Lin, and H. Xu*#. Ensemble statistics shape face adaptation and the cheerleader effect” Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, In Press.

    2. E. J. Burns, J. Tree, A.H.D. Chan; H. Xu*#. Bilingualism shapes the other race effect Vision Research, 2018, Sep 8. pii: S0042-6989(18)30145-7. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2018.07.004.

    3. Burns E.J.; Martin J.; Chan A.H.D.; Xu H.* (2017). Impaired processing of facial happiness, with or without awareness, in developmental prosopagnosia. Neuropsychologia, Volume 102, 28 July 2017, Pages 217–228 (* corresponding)
    4. Zhou Q; Wong YD; Xu H; Thai VV; Loh HS; Yuen KF. (2017). An enhanced CREAM with stakeholder-graded protocols for tanker shipping safety application. Safety Science, Volume 95, June 2017, Pages 140-147
    5. Z. H. Derric Eng, Y. Y. Yick, Yu Guo, Hong Xu, Miriam Reiner, T. J. Cham, SH Annabel Chen. (2017). 3D faces are recognized more accurately and faster than 2D faces, but with similar inversion effects. Vision Research.
    6. Luo CW, Burns E., and Xu H.*, Association between autistic traits and facial emotion adaptation in partially occluded faces, Vision Research. 2017 Apr;133:21-36. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2016.12.018. Epub 2017 Feb 17. (* corresponding)
    7. Zhou, Q., Wong, Y., Xu, H. & Thai, V.V. (2017). In Risk, Reliability and Safety: Innovating Theory and Practice: Human reliability analysis of seafarers using CREAM method - The case of tanker shipping. ESREL 2016 (pp. 930-937) London: CRC Press.
    8. Ying HJ and Xu H.*, Rapid Sequential Visual Presentation and Ensemble Coding in Facial Expression Adaptation, Journal of Vision, January 2017, Vol.17, 15. doi:10.1167/17.1.15 (*corresponding)
    9. Wang XD, Guo XT, Chen L., Goldberg M.E., and Xu H.*, Auditory to Visual Cross-Modal Adaptation for Emotion: Psychophysical and Neural Correlates, Cerebral Cortex, 2016, 1-10, doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhv321 (* corresponding)
    10. Luo CW, Wang QY, Schyns PG, Kingdom FAA, and Xu H*, Facial Expression Aftereffect Revealed by Adaption to Emotion-Invisible Dynamic Bubbled Faces, PLoS One. 2015 Dec 30;10(12):e0145877. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145877 (* corresponding)
    11. Liu P., Montaser-Kouhsari L.*, and Xu H.*, Effects of face feature and contour crowding in facial expression adaptation, Vision Research, 2014 Dec; 105: 189-98 (* co-corresponding)
    12. Xu H.*, Wallisch P., and Bradley D. C., Spiral motion selective neurons in area MSTd contribute to judgments of heading, Journal of Neurophysiology, 2014 Jun 1;111(11):2332-42. doi: 10.1152/jn.00999.2012 (* corresponding)
    13. Yeung J.S., Wong Y.W., Xu H., Driver perspectives of open and tunnel expressways, Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2013, 36, 248-256
    14. Campolo D., Widjaja F., Xu H., Ang W.T., and Burdet E., Analysis of accuracy in pointing with redundant hand-held tools: a geometric approach to the uncontrolled manifold method, PLoS Computational Biology (available online Apr. 2013, http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002978)
    15. Campolo D., Widjaja F., Xu H., Ang W.T., and Burdet E. (2012), A geometric approach to the Uncontrolled Manifold analysis, Proceedings of the 4th IEEE RAS/EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob2012), Page(s): vii – x.
    16. Xu H.*, Liu P., Dayan P., and Qian N., Multi-level visual adaptation: Dissociating curvature and facial-expression aftereffects produced by the same adapting stimuli, Vision Research, Nov. 1;72:42-53. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2012.09.003 (* corresponding)
    17. Wu J.*, Xu, H.*, Dayan P., and Qian N., The role of background statistics in face adaptation, Journal of Neuroscience, Sep. 2009, 29: 12035-12044 (* co-first author)       Correction to the paper
    18. Xu H., Dayan P., Lipkin R. M., and Qian N., Adaptation across the cortical hierarchy: low-level curve adaptation affects high-level facial-expression judgments, Journal of Neuroscience, Mar. 2008; 28: 3374-3383
    19. Bradley D. C., Troyk P. R., Berg J. A., Bak M., Cogan S., Erickson R., Kufta C., Mascaro M.,McCreery D., Schmidt E. M., Towle V. L., and Xu H., Visuotopic Mapping Through a Multichannel Stimulating Implant in Primate V1, Journal of Neurophysiology, Mar 2005; 93: 1659 – 1670

  • Open position

    If you are interested in joining VCN lab, please contact Dr. Hong XU directly.

    The Visual Cognitive Neuroscience (VCN) lab in Division of Psychology, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore is currently looking for graduate students (Ph.D program) who are interested in studying face perception, motion perception and auditory influence on visual perception through psychophysical experiments and/or computational modeling – collaborating with Communication Engineering, computer vision and machine learning. University research scholarship will be provided to qualified students.


    For students who are interested in this program, please send your latest CV (or personal statement), two letters of recommendation and up-to-date college transcript to Dr. Hong XU directly via email: xuhong at ntu.edu.sg.

    R&D Software Engineer (Software engineering / Software development / Programmer)


    We are looking for a research staff to work in a research team on projects in the area of virtual reality (VR) simulator for walking, cycling and electric personal mobility. In particular, the research staff shall write software codes using the System Development Kit of software packages including Oculus Rift, Microsoft Kinect System, Uc-Win Road (simulation software). These codes should integrate the hardware and the software in the VR simulator. It will facilitate the communication between physical motion sensors and simulation software.


    The research staff will participate in all aspects pertaining to the development of an advanced simulator to be used as an assessment or analytical tool for the design and audit of transport infrastructure including roads, pedestrian pathways and cycling tracks.


    Apart from working on technical aspects of research projects, he/she will also take charge of general matters for the projects, including data management, project documentation, demonstration and presentation.


    Educational qualifications and skills:
    • Bachelor Degree in IT or Computer Science or equivalent field;
    • Good knowledge in Delphi or similar programming language;
    • Experience in design and development using system development kits (SDK);
    • Experience in hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) systems, data acquisition systems, VR systems, hardware and software integration and communication devices.
    • Fluency in English is mandatory


    Years of experience:

    1 year software development experience


    For more information about the position, please contact:


    Dr. Hong Xu
    Division of Psychology
    School of Humanities and Social Sciences Nanyang Technological University
    14 Nanyang Drive, NTU, HSS-04-06 Singapore, 637332
    xuhong at ntu.edu.sg
    (65) 6592-1571 (Office)