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About Us


Principle Investigator

The Shimojo Psychophysics Laboratory is one of the few laboratories on the campus of the California Institute of Technology which exclusively concentrates on the study of perception, cognition, and action in humans. Our lab employs psychophysical paradigms and a variety of recording techniques such as eye-tracking, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalogram (EEG), as well as, brain stimulation techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), and recently ultrasound neuromodulation (UNM). We try to bridge the gap between cognitive and neurosciences. We would like to understand how the brain adapts real-world constraints to resolve perceptual ambiguity and to reach ecologically valid, unique solutions. In addition to our continuing interest in surface representation, motion perception, attention, and action, we also focus on crossmodal integration (including VR environments), visual preference/attractiveness decision, social brain, flow and choke in the game-playing brains, individual differences related to “neural, dynamic fingerprint” of the brain.

Check our publications here.


  • We have received yet another award (honorable mention) from our collaboration with the HMRI! (here)
  • We have received the Red Dot Award this year! It is apparently one of the “three major design awards” in the world, and we did received it in the category of “innovative concept.” Obviously, they acknowledge our highly-interdisciplinary efforts in collaboration with Drs. Taka Suegami of Yamaha Morors and Mark Chanigizi (they both are originally from our lab) as well as Mr. Kip Washio of Yamaha, on our joint production of “ePlegona” (here) a popular large-scale game machine. One can watch how it works at various YouTube videos. Just search for “ePlegona.”
  • New illusion alert! Magnetic Sand illusion – experience it here.
  • Drs. Hung, Wu, and Prof. Shimojo’s aging study with Prof. Arakaki from the Huntington Medical Research Institutes have been published (here). This study found that stronger implicit interference occurred in older participants with a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The study is featured on Caltech News (here).
  • We are recruiting a postdoc for an interdisciplinary and internationally joint project supported by Caltech Chen Institute of Neuroscience, on human magnetoreception in relation to language. Check here.
  • Dr. Shehata and Prof. Shimojo’s study with various collaborators on the neural correlates of Team Flow has been published in eNeuro (check the journal article here). The paper received a wide news coverage including The Times Magazine London (here), Psychology Today (here and here), IFL Science (here), TVN (here), Science Alert (here), SciShow News (here), and more (here). According to Altermetrics (here), the paper received a High Attention Score compared to any paper of the same age (99th percentile) and one of the highest-scoring papers ever published in eNeuro (#6 of out of 1,839).
  • There is a new package (here) of auditory-visual demos is now available (However, it is download-purpose only, the demos won’t work remotely). 
  • The highly controversial paper by Prof. Shimojo (together with Drs. H-I. Liao and M. Kashino of NTT) is finally accepted, via new peer-review system at Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. It can be read at bioRxiv. It reports pupil constriction, rather than dilation as long-believed in the literature, to attractiveness of face. Moreover, it demonstrates a possibility of positive loop between pupil and attractiveness, just as in the case of the “gaze cascade effect” (Shimojo, et al., Nat.Neurosci., 2003).Liao, Hsin-I, Kashino, M., and Shimojo, S. Transient pupil constriction reflects and affects facial attractiveness, J. Cognitive Neurosci., in press, bioRxiv, doi: 10.1101/2020.04.02.021436.
  • Prof. Shimojo translated one of his journalistic articles published earlier into English. It is inspired by a recent politico-scientific Much Ado related to COVID-19 in Japan. Click here. He may translate more later.
  • Drs. Hung, Wu, and Prof. Shimojo published a paper in Nature Communications on how conscious task load gates unconscious semantic interference in a double Stroop paradigm (5-12-2020). Journal article.
  • Prof. Shimojo continues to write on various topics, including COVID-19 lately, at RONZA (Asahi Shimbun digital newspaper in Japanese language). Link to his articles.
  • Dr. Stiles and Prof. Shimojo published a paper on the dynamic of the flash illusion in Multisensory Research. Journal article.
  • Dr. Shehata and Prof. Shimojo’s presentation on Team Flow at the 49th annual meeting for the Society for Neuroscience 2019 was selected for a press conference (only 50 out of about 14000 presentations were selected).
  • The Rabbit Illusion video has appeared in the August 2019 issue of The Caltech Effect.
  • The Rabbit Illusion video from our lab was Caltech’s top-performing video in 2018 and is Caltech’s fourth most-viewed upload of all time.
  • Prof. Kirschvink and Prof. Shimojo published a paper on human magnetoreception in eNeuro.  (Journal article) (The Project Page) (The Guardian article) (Youtube cover)
  • The updated information for CNS/Bi/SS/Psy 176 – Cognition course is on CNS wiki
  • Dr. Stiles and Prof. Shimojo published a paper on intuitive texture stimuli for sensory substitution in Scientific Reports.  Journal article.  Caltech Media Article.
  • Dr. Stiles and Prof. Shimojo published a book chapter on Sensory Substitution and Crossmodal Plasticity in the Oxford Handbook of Perceptual Organization.  Links: hardcover version at OUP or  hardcover version at Amazon
  • Dr. Stiles and Prof. Shimojo published a paper on constancy learning with sensory substitution in Frontiers in Psychology
  • Dr. Gharib and Prof. Shimojo published a paper on social preferences in Autism in Neuropsychologia
  • Prof Levitan, Dr. Stiles, and Prof. Shimojo published a paper on crossmodal rate adaptation in Scientific Reports


Prof. Shimojo’s work in Japanese language:

  • The dimension of Implicit Cognition (Yuuhi Kaku, 2019, in press).
  • Modern World in A Blackbox (Nihon Hyoronsha, 2017).
  • For his older books in Japanese, please visit: here
  • Prof. Shimojo has been writing as a regular scientific columnist for a Japanese newspaper (Asahi Shimbun) digital site (Asahi WEBRONZA). Here are all the articles until recently (3 month ago).