Sergei Gepshtein

Staff Scientist

Vision Center Laboratory

Salk Institute for Biological Studies - Sergei Gepshtein

Sergei Gepshtein

Collaboratory for Adaptive Sensory Technologies
As the founding director of the Collaboratory for Adaptive Sensory Technologies at the Salk Institute, Sergei Gepshtein studies visual perception and visually guided behavior using methods of sensorimotor psychophysics and computational neuroscience. One of Sergei’s long-standing interests is the interaction between two aspects of visual perception: the entry process called early vision and the constructive process called perceptual organization. Early vision captures visual information and thus determines the boundaries between the visible and invisible. Perceptual organization creates visual meaning; it constructs our visual experience (the “visual world”) from the information captured by early vision.


MSc in Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
PhD in Psychology, University of Virginia, USA
Postdoctoral Fellow in Vision Science, University of California at Berkeley, USA

Awards & Honors

  • Inaugural Award (“Vision science for dynamic architecture”) from the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (2013)
  • Invited Founding Member, 5D Institute for Immersive Design (2011)
  • Fellowship (“Towards an economic theory of neural function”) from The Swartz Foundation (2008)
  • Fellowship (“Making sense of motion adaptation”) from National Institutes of Natural Sciences (Japan, 2007)

Press & Public Events

  • New discovery on how the brain filters visual information Psychology Today (2019) LINK
  • Thriving on teamwork: new research shows how brain cells filter information in groups EurekAlert (2018) LINK
  • New discovery on how the brain filters visual information (2019) LINK
  • Solid field of sensitivity: perceptual structure of immersive space, keynote. VI International Conference on Spatial Cognition (2015) LINK
  • WEAVING MERCURY: Art and Science in Perception, livestream panel, FMX conference on animation, effects, games and transmedia (2015) LINK
  • Seen and unseen: Could there ever be a “cinema without cuts”? Scientific American Blogs (2014) LINK
  • How the movies of tomorrow will play with your mind. Pacific Standard (2014) LINK
  • The visual system as economist: neural resource allocation in visual adaptation.
    Medical Xpress (2013) LINK
  • Despite what you may think, your brain is a mathematical genius. ScienceNewsline (2013) LINK
  • Brain waves challenge area-specific view of brain activity. KU Leuven (2013) LINK

Selected Publications

  • Gepshtein S, Wang Y, He F, Diep D & Albright TD (2020). A perceptual scaling approach to eyewitness identification. Nature Communications, 11, Article number: 3380,
  • Pawar AS, Gepshtein S, Savel'ev S & Albright TD (2019). Mechanisms of spatiotemporal selectivity in cortical area MT. Neuron, 101 (3), 514-527 
  • Gepshtein S & Snider J (2019). Neuroscience for architecture: The evolving science of perceptual meaning. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 116 (29), 14404-14406, doi/10.1073/pnas.1908868116
  • Gepshtein S (2019). On some paradoxes of current perceptual theories. In Bianchi I & Davies R (Eds.) Paolo Bozzi's Experimental Phenomenology, pp. 56-63.
  • Gepshtein S & Albright TD (2017). Adaptive optimization of visual sensitivity. Journal of the Indian Institute of Science, 97 (4), 423-434. 
  • Zharikova A, Gepshtein S & van Leeuwen C (2017). Paradoxical perception of object identity in visual motion. Vision Research, 136, 1-14. 
  • Nikolaev A, Gepshtein S & van Leeuwen C (2016). Intermittent regime of brain activity at the early, bias-guided stage of perceptual learning.Journal of Vision, 16(14), 11. 
  • Snider J, Lee D, Poizner H & Gepshtein S (2015). Prospective optimization with limited resources. PLoS Computational Biology, 11 (9): e1004501. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004501.
  • Gepshtein S, Li X, Snider J, Plank M, Lee D & Poizner H (2014). Dopamine function and the efficiency of human movement. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26 (3), 645-657.
  • Sejnowski TJ, Poizner H, Lynch G, Gepshtein S & Greenspan RJ (2014). Prospective optimization. Proceedings of the IEEE, 102 (5), 799-811.
  • Gepshtein S, Lesmes LA & Albright TD (2013). Sensory adaptation as optimal resource allocation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 110 (11), 4368-4373.
  • Jurica P, Gepshtein S, Tyukin I & van Leeuwen C (2013). Sensory optimization by stochastic tuning. Psychological Review, 120 (4), 798-816.
  • Kubovy M, Epstein W, & Gepshtein S (2013). Visual perception: Theoretical and methodological foundations. In Healy AF & Proctor RW (Eds), Experimental Psychology, Second edition, 85-119, Volume 4 in Weiner IB (Editor-in-Chief) Handbook of Psychology. John Wiley & Sons, New York, USA.
  • Alexander DM, Jurica P, Trengove C, Nikolaev AR, Gepshtein S, et al (2013). Traveling waves and trial averaging: The nature of single-trial and averaged brain responses in large-scale cortical signals. NeuroImage, 73, p. 95-112.
  • Plomp G, van Leeuwen C & Gepshtein S (2012). Perception of time in articulated visual events. Frontiers in Psychology, 3:564, 1-8.
  • Wagemans J, Feldman J, Gepshtein S, Kimchi R, Pomerantz JR, et al (2012). A century of Gestalt psychology in visual perception. Conceptual and theoretical foundations. Psychological Bulletin, 138 (6), 1218-1252.
  • Vidal-Naquet M & Gepshtein S (2012). Spatially invariant computations in stereoscopic vision. Frontiers of Computational Neuroscience, 6:47, 1-13.
  • Gepshtein S, Tyukin I & Kubovy M (2011). A failure of the proximity principle in the perception of motion. Humana Mente, 17, 21-34.
  • Gepshtein S (2010). Two psychologies of perception and the prospect of their synthesis. Philosophical Psychology, 23 (2), 217-281.
  • Nikolaev AR, Gepshtein S, Gong P & van Leeuwen C (2009). Duration of coherence intervals in electrical brain activity in perceptual organization. Cerebral Cortex, 20 (2), 365-382.
  • Gepshtein S (2009). Closing the gap between ideal and real behavior: Scientific vs. engineering approaches to normativity. Philosophical Psychology, 22 (1), 61-75.
  • Nikolaev AR, Gepshtein S, Kubovy M & van Leeuwen C (2008). Dissociation of early evoked cortical activity in perceptual grouping. Experimental Brain Research, 186 (1), 107-122.
  • Gepshtein S, Elder JH & Maloney LT (2008). Perceptual organization and neural computation. Journal of Vision, 8 (7), 1-4.
  • Gepshtein S & Kubovy M (2007). The lawful perception of apparent motion. Journal of Vision, 7 (8):9, 1-15.
  • Gepshtein S, Tyukin I & Kubovy M (2007). The economics of motion perception and invariants of visual sensitivity. Journal of Vision, 7 (8):8, 1-18.
  • Gepshtein S, Seydell A & Trommershäuser J (2007). Optimality of human movement under natural variations of visual-motor uncertainty. Journal of Vision, 7 (5):13, 1-18.
  • Trommershäuser J, Gepshtein S, Maloney LT, Landy MS & Banks MS (2005). Optimal compensation for changes in task relevant movement variability. Journal of Neuroscience, 25 (31), 7169-7178.
  • Gepshtein S & Kubovy M (2005). Stability and change in perception: Spatial organization in temporal context. Experimental Brain Research, 160 (4), 487-495.
  • Gepshtein S, Burge J, Ernst M & Banks MS (2005). The combination of vision and touch depends on spatial proximity. Journal of Vision, 5 (11):7, 1013-1023.
  • Banks MS, Gepshtein S & Landy MS (2004). Why is spatial stereoresolution so low? Journal of Neuroscience, 24 (9), 2077-2089.
  • Kubovy M and Gepshtein S (2003). Perceptual grouping in space and in space-time: An exercise in phenomenological psychophysics. In Behrmann M, Kimchi R, and Olson CR (Eds) Perceptual Organization in Vision: Behavioral and Neural Perspectives, 45-85. Lawrence Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ, USA.
  • Gepshtein S & Banks MS (2003). Viewing geometry determines how vision and touch combine in size perception. Current Biology, 13 (6), 483-488.
  • Kubovy M & Gepshtein S (2000). Gestalt: From phenomena to laws. In Boyer KL and Sarkar A (Eds) Perceptual Organization for Artificial Vision Systems, 41-71. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, MA, USA.
  • Gepshtein S & Kubovy M (2000). The emergence of visual objects in space-time. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 97 (14), 8186-8191.