Franconeri, Steven, PhD

Current Research

Current Research

My lab studies high-level vision, and how vision interacts with broader cognition. How do we judge relations between objects, to know that one is larger, or brighter, or redder than another? What mechanism allows us to represent spatial relationships between objects, like seeing that a diagram depicts Mars as to the right of Earth? Some of these decisions may require processing more than one object at a time, so we also study the constraints on how we can split our attention. Other decisions may require that we shift attention among objects over time, so we study visual processes that guide attention, using eyetracking, electrophysiology, and behavioral methods to track attention. During any of these tasks that require focused attention, we also have a coarse sense of the unattended world. We also study how the visual system produces this coarse information, such as the layout of a scene or the number of objects that it contains.

Our lab strives to explore fundamental questions that also have real-world relevance. We collaborate with researchers in education (e.g. graph & diagram perception) and computer science (e.g. comparison in information visualization). These collaborations allow us to impact students and scientists, and their unsolved problems help us identify gaps in our theoretical knowledge.

Selected Publications

Selected Publications

Xu, YQ. & Franconeri, S. L. (in press). The head of the table: The location of the spotlight of attention may determine the ‘front’ of ambiguous objects. Journal of Neuroscience.

Franconeri, S. L., Scimeca, J. M., Roth, J. C., Helseth, S. A., & Kahn, L. (in press). Flexible visual processing of spatial relationships. Cognition.

Levinthal, B. & Franconeri, S. L. (2011). Common fate grouping as feature selection. Psychological Science 22(9), 1132-1137.

Franconeri, S. L., Jonathan, S., & Scimeca, J. M. (2010). Tracking multiple objects is limited only by object spacing, not speed, time, or capacity. Psychological Science, 21, 920-925.

Franconeri, S. L., Bemis, D. K., & Alvarez, G. A. (2009). Number estimation relies on a set of segmented objects. Cognition 113, 1-13.

Franconeri, S. L., Hollingworth, A., & Simons, D. J. (2005). Do new objects capture attention? Psychological Science 16(4), 275-281.



Franconeri, Steven, PhD




Office Phone

847 467-1259




Swift 317 Evanston


Areas of Research

Learning & Memory

NU Scholar Profile

Recent Publications on PubMed