Embodied Cognition Lab
Director: Dana Ballard

By studying humans behavior we hope to understand the limits imposed on human cognition so as to discover the appropriate constraints that can be imposed on learning algorithms. By utilizing such constraints we can simplify the problem of learning while still allowing for human like intelligence.

To achieve this goal, our lab examines two scientific problems: human vision and motor control. The vision research attempts to understand how our perception is limited by the physical limitations of the eye. This is particularly interesting because the eye is a finite resource that has to be shared between different cognitive tasks. The second direction of research that we are pursuing involves studying the characteristics of human motion. By understanding statistical properties of motion we can define a simpler space upon which learning algorithms can operate to achieve biological motion.

All of our studies are done using people and virtual reality (for vision research). Virtual reality allows us to study human behavior in natural environments, while at the same time controlling for many variables. The human behavior can then be analyzed and even replayed to generate computational models describing that behavior.

Dana Ballard Faculty dana [at] cs utexas edu
Lijia Liu Ph.D. Student lijialiu [at] cs utexas edu
Ruohan Zhang Ph.D. Student zharu [at] utexas edu
The role of uncertainty and reward on eye movements in a virtual driving task 2012
Brian Sullivan, Leif Johnson, Constantin Rothkopf, Mary Hayhoe and Dana Ballard, Journal of Vision, Vol. 12, 9 (2012).
A modular reinforcement learning model for human visuomotor behavior in a driving task 2011
Brian Sullivan, Leif Johnson, Dana Ballard and Mary Hayhoe, Proceedings of the AISB 2011 Symposium on Architectures for Active Vision. (2011), pp. 33-40.
Using visuo-spatial memory for novelty detection 2011
Dmitry Kit, Brian Sullivan and Dana Ballard, Proceedings of the 2011 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (2011).
Cognitive Task Analysis for Developing UAV Wilderness Search Support 2009
Julie A. Adams, Curtis M. Humphrey, Michael A. Goodrich, Joseph L. Cooper, Bryan S. Morse, Cameron Engh and Nathan Rasmussen, Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making, Vol. 3, 1 (2009), pp. 1--26.
Towards using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in Wilderness Search and Rescue: Lessons from field trials 2009
Michael A. Goodrich, Bryan S. Morse, Cameron Engh, Joseph L. Cooper and Julie A. Adams, Interaction Studies, Vol. 10, 3 (2009), pp. 455--481.
Supporting Flight Control for UAV-Assisted Wilderness Search and Rescue Through Human Centered Interface Design 2008
Joseph L. Cooper, Masters Thesis, Brigham Young University.
Supporting Wilderness Search and Rescue using a Camera-Equipped Mini UAV 2008
Michael A. Goodrich, Bryan S. Morse, Damon Gerhardt, Joseph L. Cooper, Morgan Quigley, Julie A. Adams and Curtis Humphrey, Journal of Field Robotics, Vol. 25, 1--2 (2008), pp. 89--110.
Towards Combining UAV and Sensor Operator Roles in UAV-Enabled Visual Search 2008
Joseph L. Cooper and Michael A. Goodrich, In Proceedings of ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, March 2008.
Using a Mini-UAV to Support Wilderness Search and Rescue Practices for Human-Robot Teaming 2007
Michael A. Goodrich, Joseph L. Cooper, Julie A. Adams, Curtis Humphrey, Ron Zeeman and Brian G. Buss, In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Safety, Security and Rescue Robotics, Rome, Italy, September 2007.
PRISM: Precision-aware Aggregation for Scalable Monitoring 2006
Navendu Jain, Dmitry Kit, Prince Mahajan, Praveen Yalagandula, Mike Dahlin, and Yin Zhang, Technical Report, University of Texas at Austin.