AVA Awards Recipients Report - Eric Taylor - 2017

Tom Troscianko Memorial Award

This year, I had the honour and the good fortune of being selected as the recipient of the Tom Troscianko Memorial Award, which encourages academic travel to ECVP and the surrounding area in the spirit of adventure. Flying from Toronto, this journey would not have been possible without the generous support of this legacy award.

I started my journey in Berlin, where I attended ECVP and delivered a talk on recent research in attentional orienting and configural processing. The feedback from the talk session was helpful in guiding future research and revising the manuscript I am preparing for this research. I also found the addition of the debate format keynote a fascinating inclusion in the program. Brian Scholl and Merav Ahissar debated whether top-down processing influences perception. Although they did not come to a consensus, the debate format was more informative (and more exciting) than the traditional monologue keynote. I hope they keep it for future years! In addition to my time at the conference, I took some time to explore Berlin, including its street art and biergartens.

After ECVP, I took a short flight to Amsterdam, where I spent an afternoon searching bike shops along the canals for a suitable steed to carry me across the world’s flattest landscape in what would have otherwise been a mostly easy bicycle trip if I weren’t a complete novice. Instead, I huffed and puffed for two days and 124 km with an overnight stop in Utrecht. With busted knees and the sorest bum of my life, I rolled into Nijmegen on my birthday.

In Nijmegen, I spent a week in the lab of Professor Harold Bekkering at the Donders Institute at Radboud University. This was a productive meeting where I had a chance to present my work and discuss future directions. In recent years, Professor Bekkering has moved toward a research programme focussed on social and embodied cognition, with an emphasis on the role of predictive encoding in visual cognition. I want to thank Harold and his lab for being so welcoming! Hopefully I can learn to apply his big picture perspective to my research – I hope to work with Professor Bekkering in the future.

As it turns out, the cheapest way to fly to Europe from Toronto is with Wow airlines, which offers free stopovers in Iceland. Keeping with the spirit of the Troscianko award, I spent a few days here hiking, eating, hiking and eating before heading home. Hakarl (rotten shark) is surprisingly ok! The people were lovely and inviting and the landscape is unbelievable.

Thanks again to the AVA and ECVP for facilitating this academically stimulating and adventurous journey! I hope it was in the spirit of Tom’s legacy.