Contact information:

Prof. Dr. Bilge Sayim
Institute of Psychology, University of Bern
Fabrikstrasse 8, 3012 Bern (Switzerland)
Phone: +41 31 631 57 99

Professor Bilge Sayim, PhD

Prof. Sayim studied Psychology and Computer Science at Kiel University and at the University of California in San Diego. After a Master thesis on color vision, he joined the PhD Program in Neuroscience at the Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne (EPFL) where he investigated spatial vision in Prof. Michael Herzog's laboratory, and graduated with a dissertation on grouping and Gestalt in visual contextual modulation. Following postdoctoral research with Prof. Patrick Cavanagh in Paris, and Prof. Johan Wagemans at the University of Leuven, he was Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. He is currently head of the Psychophysics of Appearance Laboratory at the Institute of Psychology, University of Bern, and research scientist in the SCALab at the Unversity of Lille, CNRS, France.

email: | Publications | Google Scholar

Daniel R. Coates, PhD

Dr. Coates' original training was in Mathematics and Computer Science at Macalester College. After spending a decade working as a software developer, he received a master's degree in computer science studying artificial intelligence and neural networks with Prof. Melanie Mitchell and Prof. Dan Hammerstrom at Portland State University. Studying vision as a prototypical neural processing system led directly to the Vision Science Graduate Program at UC Berkeley, researching letter recognition and crowding with Prof. Susana Chung. Most recently, he has broadened his approach to include perceptual organization and mid-level vision, as a postdoctoral fellow of the Belgian American Educational Foundation in the lab of Prof. Johan Wagemans at KU Leuven (Belgium). He was a postdoctoral researcher in the Psychophysics of Appearance Laboratory in Bern under Prof. Bilge Sayim, developing appearance-based approaches to the study of peripheral vision. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Houston College of Optometry.

email: | CV | Publications | Google Scholar

Coates DR, Wagemans J, Sayim B. Diagnosing the visual periphery: Using the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test to evaluate peripheral visual function. i-Perception (in press).

Coates DR, Chung STL. Crowding in the S-cone pathway. Vision Research April 8, 2016. doi:10.1016/j.visres.2016.03.007.

Coates DR, Chung STL. Changes across the psychometric function following perceptual learning of an RSVP reading task. Frontiers in Psychology (2014) Dec 23; 5:1434. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01434

Coates DR, Levi DM. Contour interaction in foveal vision: A response to Siderov, Waugh, and Bedell (2013) Vision Research 96 (2014):140-144. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2013.10.016

Coates DR, Chin JM, Chung STL. Factors affecting crowded acuity: eccentricity and contrast. Optometry & Vision Science (2013) Jul;90(7):628-38. doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e31829908a4

Natalia Melnik, MS (PhD Student)

Natalia Melnik received her M.Sc. in Cognitive Science from Middle East Technical University in 2015. During her studies she was involved in EEG research, working on the suppression of semantic interference during an auditory working memory task. Her research interests include attention, crowding, and reading studied by means of psychophysics, eye-tracking, and EEG.

email: | Publications

Melnik N., Coates D.R., Sayim B. (2018). Emergent features in the crowding zone: When target-flanker grouping surmounts crowding. Journal of Vision. September 2018, Vol. 18, 19. doi:10.1167/18.9.19.

Melnik N., Mapelli I., Özkurt T. E. (2017). Modulation of alpha oscillations is required for the suppression of semantic interference. Neurobiology of learning and memory, 144, 11-18.


Melnik N, Coates DR, Sayim B (2019). Peripheral appearance in dyslexic readers is characterized by an excessive loss of elements. 16th SPS SGP SSP Conference, 9-11 September 2019, Bern, Switzerland.

Melnik N, Coates DR, Sayim B (2019). What dyslexics see: Excessive information loss characterizes peripheral appearance in dyslexia. ECVP, 26-29 August 2019, Leuven, Belgium.

Melnik N., Coates D.R., Sayim B. (2019). Direct capture of peripheral appearance reveals what is lost and retained in peripheral vision. VSS, 17 - 22 May 2019, St. Pete Beach, FL, USA.

Melnik N., Coates D.R., Sayim B. (2018). Too good to be crowded: A peculiar case of weak crowding with high target-flanker similarity. ECVP, 26 August - 01 September 2018, Italy, Trieste.

Melnik N., Coates D.R., Sayim B. (2017). Emergent features in the crowding zone. ECVP, 27 - 31 August 2017, Germany, Berlin.

Coates D.R., Yildirim, Z., Melnik N., Sayim B. (2017). Deconstructing peripheral appearance. ECVP, 27 - 31 August 2017, Germany, Berlin.

Sayim B., Melnik N., Yildirim Z., Coates D.R. (2017). Creating peripheral shape metamers. ECVP, 27 - 31 August 2017, Germany, Berlin.

Mapelli I., Melnik N.,Özkurt T.E. (2015). Alpha activity in the posterior regions distinguishes visual false memories and other memory errors, OHBM, Hawaii, USA

Melnik N., Mapelli I., Özkurt T.E.(2015). Alpha activity reflects semantic interference resolution in an auditory working memory task, OHBM, Hawaii, USA

Fazilet Zeynep Yildirim, MS (PhD Student)

Fazilet Zeynep Yildirim graduated from Bilkent University Psychology Department in 2013. She was a research assistant at UMRAM between 2014-2016 under the supervision of Asst. Prof. Hulusi Kafaligonul, and received her Master of Science degree in Neuroscience from Bilkent University in 2016. Her Master's thesis was about changes in fMRI resting state networks due to audiovisual association induced effects on visual motion perception. She also investigated the changes in evoked potentials in an experiment that uses auditory adaptation of different frequencies to influence the subsequent perception of speed of visual apparent motion. Her research interests include audiovisual associative learning, visual motion perception, and speed perception, using the techniques of psychophysics, EEG, and fMRI. Currently, she is pursuing a doctorate in Psychology at the University of Bern under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Bilge Sayim.

email: | Publications


Yildirim, Z., Oluk, C. & Kafaligonul, H. (2014) Auditory and Visual Timing Adaptation Alters Perceived Visual Speed. Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference, Bilkent, Ankara.

Koen Rummens, MS (PhD Student)

Koen Rummens graduated in 2017 from the University of Leuven, where he completed the Theory and Research Master in Psychology. During his internship in the lab of Prof. Peter Kuppens, he looked into the role of personality on the temporal dynamics of emotions and emotion regulation strategies. In his Master's thesis, supervised by Prof. Bilge Sayim, he investigated whether the uncrowding of word segments by contrast polarity increased peripheral reading performance. Currently, as a PhD candidate under Prof. Dr. Bilge Sayim, he focusses on the relation between crowding and reading performance by means of psychophysics and eye-tracking studies.


Affiliated Members

Photo Courtesy Studio Olafur Eliasson

Ivana Franke

Ivana Franke is a visual artist based in Berlin. In her works, largely installations, Ivana often uses ambiguous visual phenomena and arresting spatial structures which she orchestrates to expose disjunctions and unexpected connections within the spatiotemporal realm we inhabit. Drawing from a wide range of disciplines like vision science, mathematics, optics and architecture, Ivana challenges our habitual perception. As an affiliated member of the Psychophysics of Appearance Lab, she works on several projects investigating the limits of perception.


Laura Niederhauser

Laura Niederhauser received her BSc in Psychology at the University of Bern. After her graduation in 2014 she gained some work experience as an educational consultant. In 2015 she started her MSc in Psychology in Bern with a focus on cognitive psychology and work-/organizational psychology. Her research experience includes virtual reality and computer-human interaction.


Noëmi Chava Capdevila

Noëmi Chava Capdevila is currently doing her BSc in Psychology at the University of Bern. In the meantime she's gaining work experience as a research assistant at the Clinic Südhang since 2017.


Tilde Van Uytven

Tilde Van Uytven obtained an M.A. in Graphic Design from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, and an M.A. in Painting from Sint-Lukas University College in Brussels. She worked as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator before becoming a professor at the Royal Academy and the university college Sint Lucas Antwerp in 1990, where she is teaching illustration and drawing. Tilde's graphic works and paintings have been shown in numerous group and solo exhibitions all around the world. She was a guest lecturer in the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, artist in residence at The Hermitage, Florida, and regularly travels and works in Asia, for example, during a four-months sojourn researching the link and interaction between graphic design and high quality printing (as artist in residence) in Japan. Since 2014 she collaborates with Bilge Sayim on several research projects investigating peripheral vision.


Lea Volken

Lea Volken received her BSc in Psychology from the University of Bern in 2017. She is currently doing her MSc in Psychology in Bern. During her studies she was involved in TMS research and she is doing her master thesis in tDCS research. Also, she works as a research assistant at the Clinic Südhang.