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Sebastiaan Mathôt
Sebastiaan Mathôt

Overview

About me

I’m currently working as a Marie Curie Fellow at the Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive at the CNRS / Aix-Marseille université. My main research interests are Eye movements, pupillometry, and perception. I also maintain www.cogsci.nl, develop OpenSesame, and occasionally make some music.

Find me on

Miscellaneous writing

I occasionally write blogs about research, academic publishing, and other ‘meta-scientific’ topics. A selection:

About my research

Broadly speaking, my research is about eye movements and perception.

Recently, I have become interested in pupillometry. This is also the topic of my Marie Curie Project, called The Active Pupil. Although pupil size is used routinely as a diagnostic tool in optometry, and as a marker of arousal (or cognitive load, effort, etc.) in a wide range of research fields, there are many things that we still do not know about why, when, and how the pupil changes its size. I’m particularly interested in the relationship between the pupillary response and spatial eye movements, such as saccades and smooth pursuit. If you want to read more about this, see our recent papers on the topic.

The video below shows the most widely known pupillary response: the light response. This video is based on real data of me viewing an alternating sequence of black and white displays.

During my PhD project at the VU University Amsterdam, I focused on visual stability: How do we construct a stable and complete representation of our environment–if indeed we do!–despite the incompleteness and instability of visual input at the level of the retina? In the video below, you see schematically depicted how the retinal image (on the left) changes as we make eye movements across a visual scene (on the right).

Scientific software

OpenSesame

I’m the lead developer of OpenSesame, an open-source graphical experiment builder for the social sciences. OpenSesame is a tool for creating psychological experiments with a minimum of fuzz. Below you can see a demonstration video (courtesy of Chris Longmore).

Other scientific software

In addition to OpenSesame (see above), I have developed a number of other software packages, mostly tools for programming, research, and writing. Notable packages:

For a full list of software, see:

Scientific publications, presentations, etc.

Publications (peer reviewed)

Many papers are open access and can be freely downloaded from the publisher via the doi: links. For papers that are paywalled or not yet officially available, an unofficial pre-print is available via the [pdf] links.

2014 / online first / in press

Mathôt, S., Dalmaijer, E., Grainger, J., & Van der Stigchel, S. (in press). The pupillary light response reflects exogenous attention and inhibition of return. Journal of Vision. [pdf]

Mathôt, S., van der Linden, L., Grainger, J., & Vitu, F. (in press). The pupillary light response reflects eye-movement preparation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. [pdf]

Chanceaux, M., Mathôt, S., & Grainger, J. (2014). Effects of number, complexity, and familiarity of flankers on crowded letter identification. Journal of Vision, 14(6), 7. doi:10.1167/14.6.7

Grainger, J., Mathôt, S., & Vitu, F. (2014). Tests of a model of multi-word reading: Effects of parafoveal flanking letters on foveal word recognition. Acta Psychologica, 146, 35-40. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.11.014 [pdf]

Theeuwes, J., Mathôt, S., & Grainger, J. (2014). Object-centered orienting and IOR. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 76(8), 2249–2255. doi:10.3758/s13414-014-0718-z

2013

Mathôt, S., van der Linden, L., Grainger, J., & Vitu, F. (2013). The pupillary response to light reflects the focus of covert visual attention. PLoS ONE, 8(10), e78168. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078168 (See also this blog post)

Mathôt, S., & Theeuwes, J. (2013). A reinvestigation of the reference frame of the tilt-adaptation aftereffect. Scientific Reports, 3, e1152. doi:10.1038/srep01152

Chanceaux, M., Mathôt, S., & Grainger, J. (2013). Flank to the left, flank to the right: Testing the modified receptive field hypothesis of letter-specific crowding. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 25(6), 774-780. doi:10.1080/20445911.2013.823436 [pdf]

Dalmaijer, E., Mathôt, S., & Van der Stigchel, S. (2013). PyGaze: an open-source, cross-platform toolbox for minimal-effort programming of eye-tracking experiments. Behavior Research Methods. doi:10.3758/s13428-013-0422-2

Talsma, D., White, B., Mathôt, S., Munoz, D., & Theeuwes, J. (2013). A retinotopic attentional trace after saccadic eye movements: Evidence from event-related potentials. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25(9), 1563-1577. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00390 [pdf]

Theeuwes, J., Mathôt, S., Grainger, J. (2013). Exogenous object-centered attention. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics. 75, 812-818. doi:10.3758/s13414-013-0459-4 [pdf]

2012

Mathôt, S., & Theeuwes, J. (2012). It’s all about the transient: Intra-saccadic onset stimuli do not capture attention. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 5(2):4, 1-12. [pdf]

Mathôt, S., Cristino, F., Gilchrist, I.D., & Theeuwes, J. (2012). A simple way to estimate similarity between pairs of eye movement sequences. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 5(1):4, 1-15. [pdf]

Mathôt, S., Schreij, D., & Theeuwes, J. (2012). OpenSesame: An open-source, graphical experiment builder for the social sciences. Behavior Research Methods, 44, 314-324. doi:10.3758/s13428-011-0168-7

2011

Mathôt, S., & Theeuwes, J. (2011). Mantra: An open method for object and movement tracking. Behavior Research Methods, 43(4), 1182-1193. doi:10.3758/s13428-011-0105-9

Mathôt, S., & Theeuwes, J. (2011). Visual attention and stability. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 366(1564), 516-527. doi:10.1098/rstb.2010.0187 [pdf]

2010

Cristino, F., Mathôt, S., Theeuwes, J., & Gilchrist, I. D. (2010). ScanMatch: A novel method for comparing fixation sequences. Behavior Research Methods, 42(3), 692-700. doi:10.3758/BRM.42.3.692 [pdf]

Mathôt, S., Hickey, C., & Theeuwes, J. (2010). From reorienting of attention to biased competition: Evidence from hemifield effects. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 72(3), 651-657. doi:10.3758/APP.72.3.651 [pdf]

Mathôt, S., & Theeuwes, J. (2010). Gradual remapping results in early retinotopic and late spatiotopic inhibition of return. Psychological Science, 21(12), 1793-1798. doi:10.1177/0956797610388813 [pdf]

Mathôt, S., & Theeuwes, J. (2010). Evidence for the predictive remapping of visual attention. Experimental Brain Research, 200(1), 117-122. doi:10.1007/s00221-009-2055-3

Theeuwes, J., Mathôt, S., & Kingstone, A. (2010). Object-based eye movements: The eyes prefer to stay within the same object. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 72(3), 12–21. doi:10.3758/APP.72.3.597 [pdf]

Keynotes, invited lectures, and workshops

Click on the doi: links to download slides where available.

2014

Mathôt, S. (2014, May). An Introduction to Experiment Building With OpenSesame. Workshop presented at CiMEC, Rovereto, Italy. doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.1022767

Mathôt, S. (2014, May). The Active Pupil: Pupil Size in Attention and Active Vision. Invited lecture presented at CiMEC, Rovereto, Italy. doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.1022766

2013

Mathôt, S. (2013, Dec). The Visual World from Glance to Glance (NVP dissertation-award lecture). Keynote presented at the 2013 NVP winter conference, Egmond aan Zee, Netherlands. doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.892329

Mathôt, S. (2013, May). An Introduction to Experiment Building with OpenSesame. Workshop presented at the APS 25th Annual Convention, Washington, DC, United States. doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.791576

2012

Mathôt, S. (2013, March). OpenSesame: A graphical experiment builder for the social sciences. Invited lecture presented at the Center for Visual Cognition, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Conference talks

Click on the doi: links to download slides where available.

2014

Mathôt, S., van der Linden, L., Grainger, J., & Vitu, F. (2014, May). The Pupillary Light Response Reflects Eye-Movement Preparation. Talk presented at the Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society, St. Pete Beach, FL, United States. doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.1036325

2013

Mathôt, S. (2013, Dec). The Pupillary Light Response Reveals Pre-saccadic Attentional Shifts. Talk presented at the 2013 NVP winter conference. doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.892331

Mathôt, S. (2013, Nov). Using OpenSesame to Run Experiments on the Raspberry Pi. Talk presented at the 6th annual meeting of Cogiter, Paris, France. doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.861072

Mathôt, S., van der Linden, L., Grainger, J., & Vitu, F. (2013, Aug). Shifting Attention to the Dark Side: The Pupillary Light Response Reveals the Focus of Attention. Talk presented at the European Conference on Eye Movements, Lund, Sweden. doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.791625

Mathôt, S. (2013, May). OpenSesame: A Graphical Experiment Builder for the Social Sciences. Talk presented at the Center for Open Science APS Pre-conference, Washington, DC, United States. doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.791576

2012

Mathôt, S., Grainger, J., & Theeuwes, J. (2012, Nov). World-centred, Object-centred, and Eye-centred Visual Attention. Talk presented at the GDR Vision Annual Forum, Marseille, France.

2011

Mathôt, S., & Theeuwes, J. (2011, Dec). Visual Stability for Action and Background Motion. Talk presented at the 2011 NVP Winterconference, Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands.

Mathôt, S., & Theeuwes, J. (2011, Aug). Visual Attention in the Pre-saccadic Interval. Talk presented at the 16th European Conference on Eye Movements, Marseille, France.

Mathôt, S., & Theeuwes, J. (2011, May). Visual Attention in the Pre-saccadic Interval. Talk presented at the Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society, Naples, FL, United States.

2009

Mathôt, S., & Theeuwes, J. (2009, Dec) Predictive Remapping Affects the Locus of Attention. Talk presented at the NVP Winterconference, Egmond aan Zee, the Netherlands.

Mathôt, S., & Theeuwes, J. (2009, Aug). Evidence for the Predictive Remapping of Visual Attention. Talk presented at the 15th European Conference on Eye Movements, Southampton, United Kingdom.

Conference posters

2013

Mathôt, S., Siebold, A., Donk, M., & Vitu, F. (2013, May). Large Pupils Predict Goal-driven Eye Movements. Poster presented at the APS 25th Annual Convention, Washington, DC, United States.

2011

Mathôt, S., Schreij, D., Theeuwes, J. (2011, Aug). OpenSesame: A free, graphical experiment builder for the social sciences. Poster presented at the 16th European Conference on Eye Movements, Marseille, France.

2010

Mathôt, S., & Theeuwes, J. (2010, Jun). Remapping, Attention, and Inhibition of Return. Poster presented at the Summer School for Action and Perception, Bielefeld, Germany.

Mathôt, S., & Theeuwes, J. (2010, Apr). Gradual Remapping Results in Early Retinotopic and Late Spatiotopic Inhibition of Return. Poster presented at the Conference on Selection and Control Mechanisms in Selection and Action, Jerusalem, Israel.

2009

Mathôt, S., & Theeuwes, J. (2009, Aug). Clustering and Comparing Scanpaths. Poster presented at Math Psych 2009, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

2008

Mathôt, S., & Theeuwes, J. (2008, Oct). Spatiotopy, Retinotopy, and Attention. Poster presented at Rovereto Attention Workshop 2008, Rovereto, Italy.

Miscellaneous publications, manuscripts, methods, data and experimental scripts

For most of the empirical manuscripts, participant data and experimental scripts are publicly available. For newer studies, links to data are provided in the corresponding manuscript. For older studies, much of the data can be downloaded from https://github.com/smathot/data_repository.

Mathôt, S. (2013). Open-source software in de wetenschap. De Psychonoom, 28(2), 22-24. [pdf]

Mathôt, S., Dalmaijer, E., van der Linden, L., Schreij, D. (2013). Experimenteren met OpenSesame. De Psychonoom, 28(2), 25-26. [pdf]

Mathôt, S. (2013). Visual attention and stability (PhD thesis). doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.704402

Mathôt, S., Theeuwes, J. (2013). The Effect of Saccadic Response Time on the Reference Frame of Inhibition of Return. doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.703886

Mathôt, S. (2013). A Simple Way to Reconstruct Pupil Size During Eye Blinks. doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.688001

Grants, awards, and sponsorships

2014 Nov - 2016 Oct

Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IEF. The Active Pupil: The role of pupil size in active vision. (Grant #622738, €194,047)

2014 May

Best Illusion of the Year Contest, St. Pete Beach, FL, United States. Top 10 finalist with the illusion Infinite Maze. (http://illusionoftheyear.com/2014/infinite-maze).

2013 Dec

Dutch Psychonomic Society (De Nederlandse Veriniging voor Psychonomie) Award for best Dutch PhD thesis in the field of experimental psychology. (€500,-)

2012 Nov

Ipskamp publishers, Enschede, The Netherlands Sponsorship printing costs PhD thesis. (approx. €1000,-)

2012 Jan

VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Talent-budget grant (€5500,-)

2009 Jan

VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Prize for best master’s thesis from the faculty of psychology and education. (€450,-)

2008 Oct

Rovereto Attention Workshop, Trento, Italy Award for best poster. (€400,-)

Feel free to leave a comment! For lengthy discussions and technical questions/ remarks, please refer to the forum.