Bruce C Hansen - Colgate University - Faculty Directory Skip Navigation

Colgate Directory

Bruce C. Hansen

Bruce C. Hansen

Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience; Coordinator, Neuroscience Program
Psychology, 107B Olin Hall
p 315-228-7349

Our everyday visual experiences typically yield a sense of ground truth in that we believe we are operating directly from external information.  Despite such a belief, a significant number of our decisions and actions in visual environments depend exclusively on perceptual inferences derived from internalized representations of external information.  Put another way, many of our decisions and subsequent actions are the direct result of our brains making “guesses” based on “fabricated” information.  Remarkably, the brain’s strategy for deriving “meaning” from guesses based on fabrication is not only highly accurate, but is also extremely efficient.  Exactly how the brain achieves perceptual inference remains elusive.  Research in my lab is therefore focused on how real-world visual information is encoded across early visual networks within the human brain, and subsequently perceived (and used) by the observer. 

Students in my lab (either as thesis students or undergraduate research assistants) will be exposed to a multitude of behavioral and neuroelectric techniques for studying human visual perception & cognition, all of which will be geared toward each student's level of education. Upon entering the lab, students will be immediately involved in ongoing projects (see "Interests" & "Selected Publications" sections below) and encouraged to eventually conceptualize, design and execute new projects in line with their own interests. Students interested in joining my lab should e-mail me at the address listed below.

Please visit the lab website for more details: Visual Perception Lab


BS (2000), University of Michigan-Flint; MA (2003), PhD (2004), University of Louisville

Download complete curriculum vitae [PDF]

Professional Experience

  • Associate Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience 2013-present
  • Assistant Professor of Psychology, Colgate University 2007-2013
  • Postdoctoral research fellow, McGill Vision Research, McGill University, 2005-2007


Neural mechanisms of early visual processing; neural dynamics in scene perception and categorization; non-conscious influences on human behavior; computational modeling of neural networks; eye-movements and visual attention; human face perception and recognition; neural biases involved in the aesthetics of visual art.


Selected publications (reprint requests should be directed to:**denotes Colgate student author):
  • Greene, M.R. & Hansen, B.C. (2018). Shared spatiotemporal category representations in biological and artificial deep neural networks. ​PLoS Computational Biology, 14(7), ​e1006327​. [ResearchGate]
  • Farivar, R., Clavagnier, S., Hansen, B.C., Thompson, B., & Hess, R.F. (2017). Non-uniform phase sensitivity in spatial frequency maps of the human visual cortex. Journal of Physiology, 595, 1351-1363. [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C., Haun, A.M., Johnson, A.P., & Ellemberg, D. (2016). On the differentiation of foveal and peripheral early visual evoked potentials. Brain Topography, 29, ​506-514. [ResearchGate]
  • Ramkumar, P., Hansen, B.C., Pannasch, S., & Loschky, L.C. (2016). Visual information representation and rapid scene categorization are simultaneous across cortex: An MEG study. NeuroImage, 134,​ 295-304. [ResearchGate]
  • Freeman, T.E., Loschky, L.C., & Hansen, B.C. (2015). Scene masking is affected by trial-blank screen luminance, Signal Processing: Image Communication, 39B, 319-327. [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C., *Rakhshan, P.J.*, Ho, A.K., & Pannasch, S. (2015). Looking at others through implicitly or explicitly prejudiced eyes. Visual Cognition, 5, 612-642. [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C., Richard, B., *Andres, K.A.*, Johnson, A.P., Thompson, B., & Essock, E.A. (2015). A cortical locus for anisotropic overlay suppression of stimuli presented at fixation. Visual Neuroscience, 32, 1-17. [ResearchGate]
  • Richard, B., Johnson, A.P., Thompson, B., & Hansen, B.C. (2015). The effects of tDCS across the spatial frequencies and orientations that comprise the contrast sensitivity function. Frontiers in Psychology: Perception Science, 6, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01784. [ResearchGate]
  • Loschky, L.C., Ringer, R.V., Ellis, K., & Hansen, B.C. (2015). Comparing rapid scene categorization of aerial and terrestrial views: A new perspective on scene gist. Journal of Vision, 15, 1-29. [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C., May, K.A., & Hess, R.F. (2014). One "shape" fits all: The orientation bandwidth of contour integration. Journal of Vision, 14(13), 1-21. [ResearchGate]
  • Kirkpatrick, K., Bilton, T., Hansen, B.C., & Loschky, L.C. (2014). Scene gist categorization by pigeons. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 40, 162-177. [ResearchGate]
  • Pannasch, S., Helmert, J.R.,  Hansen, B.C., Larson, A.M., & Loschky, L.C. Commonalities and differences in eye-movement behavior when exploring aerial and terrestrial scenes. In M. Buchroithner et al. (Eds.) Cartography from Pole to Pole, Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography, Springer-Verlag, Berlin (2014). [ResearchGate]
  • Ramkumar P., Hansen B.C., *Lee A.*, *Lanphier S.*, Pannasch S., Loschky L.C. (2014). A high-resolution neural portrait of natural scene processing. SUNw: Scene Understanding Workshop, Columbus, OH. [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C. & Loschky, L.C. (2013).  The contribution of amplitude and phase spectra defined scene statistics to the masking of rapid scene categorization.  Journal of Vision, 13, 1-21. [ResearchGate]
  • Ellemberg, D., Hansen, B.C., & Johnson, A.P. (2012). The developing visual system is not optimally sensitive to the spatial statistics of natural scenes. Vision Research, 67, 1-7. [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C. & Hess, R.F. (2012). On the effectiveness of noise masks: Naturalistic vs. un-naturalistic image statistics. Vision Research, 60, 101-113. [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C., Johnson, A.P., & Ellemberg, D. (2012). Different spatial frequency bands selectively signal for natural image statistics in the early visual system. Journal of Neurophysiology, 108, 2160-2162.  [ResearchGate
  • Kelly, S.D., Hansen, B.C., & *Clark, D.T.* (2012). "Slight" of hand: The processing of visually degraded gestures and speech. PLoS ONE, 7, e42620. [ResearchGate]
  • Ramkumar, P., Pannasch, S., Hansen, B.C., Larson, A.M., & Loschky, L.C. (2012). How does the brain represent visual scenes? A neuromagnetic scene categorization study. Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS 2011): Workshop on Machine Learning and Interpretation in Neuroimaging. [ResearchGate]
  • Spiegel, D.P., Hansen, B.C., Byblow, W.D., Thompson, B. (2012). Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation reduces psychophysically measured surround suppression in the human visual cortex. PLoS ONE, 7, e36220. [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C., *Jacques, T.*, Johnson, A.P., & Ellemberg, D. (2011). From spatial frequency contrast to edge preponderance: The differential modulation of early VEPs by natural scene stimuli. Visual Neuroscience, 28, 221-237. [ResearchGate]
  • Johnson, A.P., Richard, B., Hansen, B.C., & Ellemberg, D. (2011). Center-surround facilitation in the discrimination of amplitude spectra is dependent on the center amplitude spectra content, and not the surround. Journal of Vision, 11, 1-10. [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C., Thompson, B., Hess, R.F., & Ellemberg, D. (2010). Extracting the internal representation of faces from human brain activity: An analogue to reverse correlation. NeuroImage, 51, 373-390. [ResearchGate]
  • Hess, R.F., Li, X., Lu, G., Thompson, B., & Hansen, B.C. (2010). The contrast dependence of the cortical fMRI deficit in amblyopia; a selective loss at higher contrasts. Human Brain Mapping. [ResearchGate]
  • Loschky, L.C., Hansen, B.C., Sethi, A., & Pydimarri, T.N. (2010) The role of higher-order image statistics in masking scene gist recognition. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 72, 427-444. [ResearchGate]
  • Mansouri, B., Hansen, B.C., & Hess, R.F. (2009). Disrupted retinotopic maps in amblyopia. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 50, 3218-3225. [ResearchGate]
  • Hess, R.F., Li, X., Mansouri, B., Thompson, B., & Hansen, B.C. (2009). Selectivity as well as sensitivity loss characterizes the cortical spatial frequency deficit in amblyopia. Human Brain Mapping, 30, 4054-4069. [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C., Haun, A.M., & Essock, E.A. The "horizontal effect": A perceptual anisotropy in visual processing of naturalistic broadband stimuli. In Visual Cortex: New Research, Nova Science Publishers, New York (2008). [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C., Farivar, R., Thompson, B., & Hess, R.F. (2008). A critical band of phase alignment for discrimination but not recognition of human faces. Vision Research, 48, 2523-2536. [ResearchGate]
  • Thompson, B., Farivar, R., Hansen, B.C., & Hess, R.F. (2008). A dichoptic projection system for visual psychophysics in fMRI scanners. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 168, 71-75. [ResearchGate]
  • Thompson, B., Troje, N.F., Hansen, B.C., & Hess, R.F. (2008). Amblyopic perception of biological motion, Journal of Vision, 6, 1-14. [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C. & Hess, R.F. (2007). Structural sparseness and spatial phase alignment in natural scenes. Journal of the Optical Society of America A, 24, 1873-1885. [ResearchGate]
  • Essock, E.A., Hansen, B.C., & Haun, A.M. (2007). Illusory bands in orientation and spatial frequency: A cortical analogue to mach bands. Perception, 36, 639-649. [ResearchGate]
  • Thompson, B., Hansen, B.C., Hess, R.F., & Troje, N.F. (2007). Peripheral vision; good for biological motion, bad for signal noise segregation? Journal of Vision, 7, 1-7. [ResearchGate]
  • Zheng, Y., Essock, E.A., Hansen, B.C., & Haun, A.M. (2007). A new metric based on extended spatial frequency and its application to DWT based fusion algorithms. Information Fusion, 8, 177-192. [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C. & Essock, E.A. (2006). Anisotropic local contrast normalization: The role of stimulus orientation and spatial frequency bandwidths in the oblique and horizontal effect perceptual anisotropies. Vision Research, 46, 4398-4415. [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C. & Hess, R.F. (2006). Discrimination of amplitude spectrum slope in the fovea and parafovea and the local amplitude distributions of natural scene imagery. Journal of Vision, 6, 696-711. [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C. & Hess, R.F. (2006). The role of spatial phase in texture segmentation and contour integration. Journal of Vision, 6, 594-615. [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C. & Essock, E.A. (2005). Influence of scale and orientation on the visual perception of natural scenes. Visual Cognition, 12, 1199-1234. [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C. & Essock, E.A. The relationship between human perceptual performance and the physical attributes of night vision imagery. In D.T. Rosen, R.S. Kozak, G.K. Carlson, M.R. Tyler, and S.V. Joist (Eds.) Trends in Experimental Psychology Research, Nova Science Publishers, New York (2005). [ResearchGate]
  • Zheng, Y., Essock, E.A., & Hansen, B.C. (2005). An advanced DWT fusion algorithm and its optimization by using the metric of image quality index, Optical Engineering, 44, 037003 (1-12). [ResearchGate]
  • Essock, E.A., Sinai, M.J., DeFord, J.K., Hansen, B.C., & Srinivasan, N. (2004). Human perceptual performance with non-literal imagery: Region recognition and texture-based segmentation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 10, 97-110. [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C. & Essock, E.A. (2004). A horizontal bias in human visual processing of orientation and its correspondence to the structural components of natural scenes. Journal of Vision, 4, 1044-1060. [ResearchGate]
  • Essock, E.A., DeFord, J.K., Hansen, B.C., & Sinai, M.J. (2003). Oblique stimuli are seen best (not worst!) in naturalistic broad-band stimuli: A horizontal effect. Vision Research, 43, 1329-1335. [ResearchGate]
  • Hansen, B.C., Essock, E.A., Zheng, Y., & DeFord, J.K. (2003). Perceptual anisotropies in visual processing and their relation to natural image statistics. Network: Computation in Neural Systems, 14, 501-526. [ResearchGate]


  • National Science Foundation: Cognitive Neuroscience Grant, 2017-2020
  • James S. McDonnell Foundation: Understanding Human Cognition, 2015-2023
  • National Science Foundation: Major Research Instrumentation Grant, 2013-2016
  • Guy Stevenson Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies, University of Louisville
  • Grawemeyer Fellow, University of Louisville
  • Graduate Research Fellow, NASA Kentucky Space Grant Consortium, Bowling Green, KY
  • Alfred C. Raphelson Prize, Recognition of Outstanding Research Award, University of Michigan-Flint