Associate Professor Tom Carlson

A/Prof.

Member of the Brain and Mind Centre

A19 - Griffith Taylor Building
The University of Sydney


Curriculum vitae Curriculum vitae

Biographical details

Current & Previous Appointments

2016-present ARC Future Fellow/Associate Professor, University of Sydney

2013-2016 ARC Future Fellow/Senior Lecturer, Macquarie University

2008-20013 Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, USA

2004-2008 Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University/University of Utrecht

Research interests

My research focuses on uncovering the brain mechanisms that support human perception -- how do we see?.

We are a computational and theoretical neuroscience research group in the School of Psychology at the University of Sydney. Our research uses neural decoding methods to study how the brain represents information; and how the structure of information in brain representations relates to, and can be use to be predict behaviour. We use functional magnet resonance imaging (fMRI) to study how information is represented in different brain areas; and magnetoencephalography (MEG) to study how the brain dynamically processes information in time with millisecond precision.

Teaching and supervision

The lab currently has several openings for Honours and PhD projects. Example projects include:

Making mind maps from brain waves

How do our brains see and represent the visual world around us? To answer this question, this project will apply cutting-edge brain-reading techniques to neuroimaging data. The project will use electroencephalography (EEG) to record brain activity from participants while they view visual stimuli. The stimuli will be presented periodically at different speeds, using a fast periodic decoding paradigm recently developed in our lab. We will apply state-of-the art machine learning techniques to the neuroimaging data to decode how the brain responds to these series of images. We will then compare the neural responses of different images to construct a mind-map. This reconstructed mind-map will unravel how our brains represent the visual world around us.

* Please note that this is a computational lab and the research involves computer programming. Students are expected to have programming expereince or a strong motivation to learn. Contact A/Prof Carlson for an appointment if you would like more information.

Current projects

Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project (2016-2019) "Predicting Behaviour from Brain Representations." Carlson, T.

Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship (2013-2017) "Decoding the neural representation of the objects."

In the media

The mountain illusion: What's wrong with this picture? BBC Future. 22 May 2015. (Carlson, T., & Wardle, S.)

PhD and master's project opportunities

International links

United Kingdom

(United Kingdom Medical Research Council) Collaboration studying the neural mechanisms of object perception with Dr. Niko Kriegeskorte (Programme leader of the Memory and perception group).

United Kingdom

(University College London) Collaboration studying the neural mechanisms of motion perception with Dr. Sam Solomon.

United States

(National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)) Collaboration studying neural mechanisms of object and face perception with Dr. David McMahon and Dr. David Leopold (Section Chief of the Cognitive Neurophysiology and Imaging in the Laboratory of Neuropsychology).

Selected grants

2019

  • Lie to me: what can one�s face (and brain) tell us about a person�s emotional state?; Carlson T; School of Psychology/Booster Grant.

2018

  • Linking brain and decision-making using a new informational �seed and network� approach; Carlson T; School of Psychology/Seed Grant.

2016

  • Predicting Behaviour from Brain Representations; Carlson T; School of Psychology/Research Support.
  • Predicting Behaviour from Brain Representations; Carlson T; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

2013

  • Decoding the neural representation of objects in the human brain; Carlson T; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Future Fellowships (FT).

Selected publications

Download citations: PDF RTF Endnote

Journals

  • Mai, A., Grootswagers, T., Carlson, T. (2019). In search of consciousness: Examining the temporal dynamics of conscious T visual perception using MEG time-series data. Neuropsychologia, 129, 310-317. [More Information]
  • Grootswagers, T., Kennedy, B., Most, S., Carlson, T. (2019). Neural signatures of dynamic emotion constructs in the human brain (forthcoming). Neuropsychologia. [More Information]
  • Teichmann, L., Grootswagers, T., Carlson, T., Rich, A. (2019). Seeing versus knowing: The temporal dynamics of real and implied colour processing in the human brain. NeuroImage, 200, 373-381. [More Information]
  • Robinson, A., Grootswagers, T., Carlson, T. (2019). The influence of image masking on object representations during rapid serial visual presentation. NeuroImage, 197, 224-231. [More Information]
  • Grootswagers, T., Robinson, A., Carlson, T. (2019). The representational dynamics of visual objects in rapid serial visual processing streams. NeuroImage, 188, 668-679. [More Information]
  • Teichmann, L., Grootswagers, T., Carlson, T., Rich, A. (2018). Decoding digits and dice with Magnetoencephalography: Evidence for a shared representation of magnitude. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 30(7), 999-1010. [More Information]
  • Sankaran, N., Thompson, W., Carlile, S., Carlson, T. (2018). Decoding the dynamic representation of musical pitch from human brain activity. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 839. [More Information]
  • Grootswagers, T., Cichy, R., Carlson, T. (2018). Finding decodable information that can be read out in behaviour. NeuroImage, 179, 252-262. [More Information]
  • Carlson, T., Goddard, E., Kaplan, D., Klein, C., Ritchie, B. (2018). Ghosts in machine learning for cognitive neuroscience: Moving from data to theory. NeuroImage, 180, 88-100. [More Information]
  • Goddard (nee Weston), E., Klein, C., Solomon, S., Hogendoorn, H., Carlson, T. (2018). Interpreting the dimensions of neural feature representations revealed by dimensionality reduction. NeuroImage, 180, 41-67. [More Information]
  • Grootswagers, T., Ritchie, J., Wardle, S., Heathcote, A., Carlson, T. (2017). Asymmetric Compression of Representational Space for Object Animacy Categorization under Degraded Viewing Conditions. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 29(12), 1995-2010. [More Information]
  • Grootswagers, T., Wardle, S., Carlson, T. (2017). Decoding dynamic brain patterns from evoked responses: A tutorial on multivariate pattern analysis applied to time series neuroimaging data. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 29(4), 677-697. [More Information]
  • Contini, E., Wardle, S., Carlson, T. (2017). Decoding the time-course of object recognition in the human brain: From visual features to categorical decisions. Neuropsychologia, 105, 165-176. [More Information]
  • Goddard (nee Weston), E., Solomon, S., Carlson, T. (2017). Dynamic population codes of multiplexed stimulus features in primate area MT. Journal of Neurophysiology, 118(1), 203-218. [More Information]
  • Wardle, S., Ritchie, J., Seymour, K., Carlson, T. (2017). Edge-Related Activity Is Not Necessary to Explain Orientation Decoding in Human Visual Cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 37(5), 1187-1196. [More Information]
  • Wardle, S., Kriegeskorte, N., Grootswagers, T., Khaligh-Razavi, S., Carlson, T. (2016). Perceptual similarity of visual patterns predicts dynamic neural activation patterns measured with MEG. NeuroImage, 132, 59-70. [More Information]
  • Ritchie, J., Tovar, D., Carlson, T. (2015). Emerging Object Representations in the Visual System Predict Reaction Times for Categorization. PLoS Computational Biology, 11(6), 1-18. [More Information]
  • Carlson, T. (2014). Orientation Decoding in Human Visual Cortex: New Insights from an Unbiased Perspective. Journal of Neuroscience, 34(24), 8373-8383. [More Information]
  • Carlson, T., Ritchie, J., Kriegeskorte, N., Durvasula, S., Ma, J. (2014). Reaction time for object categorization is predicted by representational distance. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26(1), 132-142. [More Information]
  • Plow, E., Cattaneo, Z., Carlson, T., Alvarez, G., Pascual-Leone, A., Battelli, L. (2014). The compensatory dynamic of inter-hemispheric interactions in visuospatial attention revealed using rTMS and fMRI. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8(1 APR, 17 April 2014), 1-12. [More Information]
  • Carlson, T., Simmons, R., Kriegeskorte, N., Slevc, L. (2014). The emergence of semantic meaning in the ventral temporal pathway. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26(1), 120-131. [More Information]
  • Redcay, E., Carlson, T. (2013). Rapid neural discrimination of communicative gestures. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 10(4), 545-551. [More Information]
  • Carlson, T., Tovar, D., Alink, A., Kriegeskorte, N. (2013). Representational dynamics of object vision: The first 1000 ms. Journal of Vision, 13(10), 1-19. [More Information]
  • Ritchie, J., Carlson, T. (2013). Tool Integration and Dynamic Touch. Psychological Science, 24(6), 1066-1068. [More Information]
  • Dakin, S., Greenwood, J., Carlson, T., Bex, P. (2011). Crowding is tuned for perceived (not physical) location. Journal of Vision, 11(9), 1-13. [More Information]
  • Hogendoorn, H., Carlson, T., Verstraten, F. (2011). Mapping the route to visual awareness. Journal of Vision, 11(13), 1-10. [More Information]
  • Naber, M., Carlson, T., Verstraten, F., Einhauser, W. (2011). Perceptual benefits of objecthood. Journal of Vision, 11(4), 1-9. [More Information]
  • Naber, M., Carlson, T., Verstraten, F., Einhauser, W. (2011). Perceptual benefits of objecthood. Journal of Vision, 11(4), 1-9. [More Information]
  • Carlson, T., Hogendoorn, H., Fonteijn, H., Verstraten, F. (2011). Spatial coding and invariance in object-selective cortex. Cortex, 47(1), 14-22. [More Information]
  • Carlson, T., Alvarez, G., Wu, D., Verstraten, F. (2010). Rapid Assimilation of External Objects Into the Body Schema. Psychological Science, 21(7), 1000-1005. [More Information]
  • Hogendoorn, H., Carlson, T., VanRullen, R., Verstraten, F. (2010). Timing divided attention. Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, 72(8), 2059-2068. [More Information]
  • Hogendoorn, H., Kammers, M., Carlson, T., Verstraten, F. (2009). Being in the dark about your hand: Resolution of visual-proprioceptive conflict by disowning visible limbs. Neuropsychologia, 43(13), 2698-2703. [More Information]
  • Kanai, R., Carlson, T., Verstraten, F., Walsh, V. (2009). Perceived timing of new objects and feature changes. Journal of Vision, 9(7), 1-13. [More Information]
  • Hogendoorn, H., Carlson, T., Verstraten, F. (2008). Interpolation and extrapolation on the path of apparent motion. Vision Research, 48(7), 872-881. [More Information]
  • Carlson, T., Rauschenberger, R., Verstraten, F. (2007). No Representation without Awareness in the Lateral Occipital Cortex. Psychological Science, 18(4), 298-302. [More Information]
  • Hogendoorn, H., Carlson, T., Verstraten, F. (2007). The time course of attentive tracking. Journal of Vision, 7(14), 1-10. [More Information]
  • Carlson, T., Hogendoorn, H., Verstraten, F. (2006). The speed of visual attention: What time is it? Journal of Vision, 6(12), 1406-1411. [More Information]

2019

  • Mai, A., Grootswagers, T., Carlson, T. (2019). In search of consciousness: Examining the temporal dynamics of conscious T visual perception using MEG time-series data. Neuropsychologia, 129, 310-317. [More Information]
  • Grootswagers, T., Kennedy, B., Most, S., Carlson, T. (2019). Neural signatures of dynamic emotion constructs in the human brain (forthcoming). Neuropsychologia. [More Information]
  • Teichmann, L., Grootswagers, T., Carlson, T., Rich, A. (2019). Seeing versus knowing: The temporal dynamics of real and implied colour processing in the human brain. NeuroImage, 200, 373-381. [More Information]
  • Robinson, A., Grootswagers, T., Carlson, T. (2019). The influence of image masking on object representations during rapid serial visual presentation. NeuroImage, 197, 224-231. [More Information]
  • Grootswagers, T., Robinson, A., Carlson, T. (2019). The representational dynamics of visual objects in rapid serial visual processing streams. NeuroImage, 188, 668-679. [More Information]

2018

  • Teichmann, L., Grootswagers, T., Carlson, T., Rich, A. (2018). Decoding digits and dice with Magnetoencephalography: Evidence for a shared representation of magnitude. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 30(7), 999-1010. [More Information]
  • Sankaran, N., Thompson, W., Carlile, S., Carlson, T. (2018). Decoding the dynamic representation of musical pitch from human brain activity. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 839. [More Information]
  • Grootswagers, T., Cichy, R., Carlson, T. (2018). Finding decodable information that can be read out in behaviour. NeuroImage, 179, 252-262. [More Information]
  • Carlson, T., Goddard, E., Kaplan, D., Klein, C., Ritchie, B. (2018). Ghosts in machine learning for cognitive neuroscience: Moving from data to theory. NeuroImage, 180, 88-100. [More Information]
  • Goddard (nee Weston), E., Klein, C., Solomon, S., Hogendoorn, H., Carlson, T. (2018). Interpreting the dimensions of neural feature representations revealed by dimensionality reduction. NeuroImage, 180, 41-67. [More Information]

2017

  • Grootswagers, T., Ritchie, J., Wardle, S., Heathcote, A., Carlson, T. (2017). Asymmetric Compression of Representational Space for Object Animacy Categorization under Degraded Viewing Conditions. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 29(12), 1995-2010. [More Information]
  • Grootswagers, T., Wardle, S., Carlson, T. (2017). Decoding dynamic brain patterns from evoked responses: A tutorial on multivariate pattern analysis applied to time series neuroimaging data. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 29(4), 677-697. [More Information]
  • Contini, E., Wardle, S., Carlson, T. (2017). Decoding the time-course of object recognition in the human brain: From visual features to categorical decisions. Neuropsychologia, 105, 165-176. [More Information]
  • Goddard (nee Weston), E., Solomon, S., Carlson, T. (2017). Dynamic population codes of multiplexed stimulus features in primate area MT. Journal of Neurophysiology, 118(1), 203-218. [More Information]
  • Wardle, S., Ritchie, J., Seymour, K., Carlson, T. (2017). Edge-Related Activity Is Not Necessary to Explain Orientation Decoding in Human Visual Cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 37(5), 1187-1196. [More Information]

2016

  • Wardle, S., Kriegeskorte, N., Grootswagers, T., Khaligh-Razavi, S., Carlson, T. (2016). Perceptual similarity of visual patterns predicts dynamic neural activation patterns measured with MEG. NeuroImage, 132, 59-70. [More Information]

2015

  • Ritchie, J., Tovar, D., Carlson, T. (2015). Emerging Object Representations in the Visual System Predict Reaction Times for Categorization. PLoS Computational Biology, 11(6), 1-18. [More Information]

2014

  • Carlson, T. (2014). Orientation Decoding in Human Visual Cortex: New Insights from an Unbiased Perspective. Journal of Neuroscience, 34(24), 8373-8383. [More Information]
  • Carlson, T., Ritchie, J., Kriegeskorte, N., Durvasula, S., Ma, J. (2014). Reaction time for object categorization is predicted by representational distance. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26(1), 132-142. [More Information]
  • Plow, E., Cattaneo, Z., Carlson, T., Alvarez, G., Pascual-Leone, A., Battelli, L. (2014). The compensatory dynamic of inter-hemispheric interactions in visuospatial attention revealed using rTMS and fMRI. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8(1 APR, 17 April 2014), 1-12. [More Information]
  • Carlson, T., Simmons, R., Kriegeskorte, N., Slevc, L. (2014). The emergence of semantic meaning in the ventral temporal pathway. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26(1), 120-131. [More Information]

2013

  • Redcay, E., Carlson, T. (2013). Rapid neural discrimination of communicative gestures. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 10(4), 545-551. [More Information]
  • Carlson, T., Tovar, D., Alink, A., Kriegeskorte, N. (2013). Representational dynamics of object vision: The first 1000 ms. Journal of Vision, 13(10), 1-19. [More Information]
  • Ritchie, J., Carlson, T. (2013). Tool Integration and Dynamic Touch. Psychological Science, 24(6), 1066-1068. [More Information]

2011

  • Dakin, S., Greenwood, J., Carlson, T., Bex, P. (2011). Crowding is tuned for perceived (not physical) location. Journal of Vision, 11(9), 1-13. [More Information]
  • Hogendoorn, H., Carlson, T., Verstraten, F. (2011). Mapping the route to visual awareness. Journal of Vision, 11(13), 1-10. [More Information]
  • Naber, M., Carlson, T., Verstraten, F., Einhauser, W. (2011). Perceptual benefits of objecthood. Journal of Vision, 11(4), 1-9. [More Information]
  • Naber, M., Carlson, T., Verstraten, F., Einhauser, W. (2011). Perceptual benefits of objecthood. Journal of Vision, 11(4), 1-9. [More Information]
  • Carlson, T., Hogendoorn, H., Fonteijn, H., Verstraten, F. (2011). Spatial coding and invariance in object-selective cortex. Cortex, 47(1), 14-22. [More Information]

2010

  • Carlson, T., Alvarez, G., Wu, D., Verstraten, F. (2010). Rapid Assimilation of External Objects Into the Body Schema. Psychological Science, 21(7), 1000-1005. [More Information]
  • Hogendoorn, H., Carlson, T., VanRullen, R., Verstraten, F. (2010). Timing divided attention. Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, 72(8), 2059-2068. [More Information]

2009

  • Hogendoorn, H., Kammers, M., Carlson, T., Verstraten, F. (2009). Being in the dark about your hand: Resolution of visual-proprioceptive conflict by disowning visible limbs. Neuropsychologia, 43(13), 2698-2703. [More Information]
  • Kanai, R., Carlson, T., Verstraten, F., Walsh, V. (2009). Perceived timing of new objects and feature changes. Journal of Vision, 9(7), 1-13. [More Information]

2008

  • Hogendoorn, H., Carlson, T., Verstraten, F. (2008). Interpolation and extrapolation on the path of apparent motion. Vision Research, 48(7), 872-881. [More Information]

2007

  • Carlson, T., Rauschenberger, R., Verstraten, F. (2007). No Representation without Awareness in the Lateral Occipital Cortex. Psychological Science, 18(4), 298-302. [More Information]
  • Hogendoorn, H., Carlson, T., Verstraten, F. (2007). The time course of attentive tracking. Journal of Vision, 7(14), 1-10. [More Information]

2006

  • Carlson, T., Hogendoorn, H., Verstraten, F. (2006). The speed of visual attention: What time is it? Journal of Vision, 6(12), 1406-1411. [More Information]

To update your profile click here. For support on your academic profile contact .