Claus Bundesen


Department of Psychology
Øster Farimagsgade 2A
1353 København K

Office: 03-4-413b
Phone: +45 353-24858
Phone (Reception desk): +45 353-24800

Primary research areas

Every moment our eyes receive a massive, constantly changing set of inputs. Visual attention is the psychological function that selects the most important part of this information for consciousness and action. The study of attention is a classical research area, often considered one of the fundamental issues in psychology. Previous decades have seen much progress in this field. An important step was taken at the Center for Visual Cognition of the University of Copenhagen as Bundesen (1990) presented a Theory of Visual Attention (TVA) that integrated a large part of the existing theoretical and empirical knowledge. A main strength of TVA is its cognitive specificity: The theory partitions attentional function into different model parameters that can be precisely measured in psychological tests. Such accuracy is vital for assessing attention disturbances after brain damage, a clinical application of TVA that has recently been taken up by research groups around Europe. Over the past score of years TVA has been developed in five large articles in Psychological Review[1] with steadily growing impacts (Bundesen, 1990; Bundesen, Habekost, & Kyllingsbæk, 2005; Logan, 1996, 2002; Logan & Gordon, 2001). One of the world's most influential attention scientists, John Duncan (Deputy Director of MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge), even claims that TVA is now "... without question, the field's leading account of attentional functions ...". In the latest development, Bundesen et al. (2005) demonstrated a close analogy between the central equations of TVA and the activity of individual neurons in the visual system of the brain. Thus, TVA represents a unifying mathematical frame for understanding attention across psychology and cellular biology.

The purpose of our current research is to take advantage of this unique theoretical position and develop an account of visual attention that integrates psychological and neurobiological perspectives in a very general sense. Specifically, we aim to characterize visual attention in three research areas that span major disciplines in cognitive neuroscience: cognitive psychology, functional neuroanatomy, and neurochemistry. Research integration is a main priority of the project: Our subprojects spring from the same mathematical conception of visual attention, TVA, which leads to synergy in our efforts towards a general understanding of visual attention.

[1] Probably the most distinguished journal in psychology.

Curriculum vitae

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, January 26, 1948

Mag.Art. in Psychology, University of Copenhagen, 1972

Dr.Phil. in Psychology, University of Copenhagen, 1986

Professor of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Copenhagen since 1995.

International administrative tasks. President of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCoP) 2007-2009; member of the Executive Committee of ESCoP 1990-1998 (Treasurer 1994-1998) and 2001-2005. Member of the Advisory Council of ESCoP 1999-2001. Member of the Executive Committee of the International Association for the Study of Attention and Performance (A & P) since 2002. Member of the Advisory Council of A & P 1981-1988 and 1992-2001. Member of evaluation panel for a general assessment of research in Psychology and Psychiatry at Norwegian universities, university hospitals, and research institutes, 2004. Member of the 10-person Scientific Committee ranking applications for the Outstanding Young Investigators Awards of the Research Council of Norway, 2004, and the 11-person Scientific Committee ranking applications for Centers of Excellence for the Research Council of Norway, 2006. External Reviewer of proposals forEuropean Science Foundation (Strasbourg), Medical Research Council (London), National Science Foundation (Washington DC), The Israel Science Foundation (Jerusalem),  The United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation (Jerusalem), Air Force Office of Scientific Research (Arlington, Virginia), The International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (Strasbourg), Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (Stockholm), The Research Council of Norway (Oslo).

National administrative tasks. Head of the Danish Research School of Psychology since 2003. Director of the Center for Visual Cognition of the Danish Research Council for Culture and Communication since 2003. Member of the Council of the Faculty for the Humanities, University of Copenhagen 1997-2001. Director of the Psychological Laboratory, University of Copenhagen, 1985-1986. Chairman of the Psychological Study Board, University of Copenhagen, 1982-1983. Chairman of selection committees for the chair of Cognitive Psychology at Aarhus University (1997, 2000, and 2006) and the chair of Neuropsychology at University of Copenhagen (2001). Member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters since 2007.

Editorial tasks. Editor-in-Chief of The European Journal of Cognitive Psychology(Psychology Press, Hove, UK) 2002-2005, Associate Editor 1998-2001. Member of Editorial Boards of Psychological Review (American Psychological Association, Washington DC) 1997-2004 and 2005-, Visual Cognition (Psychology Press, Hove, UK) 1994-2005,Psychological Research/Psychologische Forschung (Springer-Verlag, Berlin) since 1988,The Open Psychology Journal since 2007. Referee for Nature; Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London; Acta Psychologica; Behavioral and Brain Sciences; Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology; Cerebral Cortex; Cognition; Cognitive Psychology; Consciousness and Cognition; International Journal of Cognition, Technology & Work; Journal of Experimental Psychology: General; Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance; Journal of Mathematical Psychology; Journal of Neuroscience; Memory & Cognition; Neuroscience; Perception & Psychophysics; Physica Scripta; Psychological Science; Psychonomic Bulletin & Review; Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Experimental Psychology; Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. Reviewer of book proposals for Routledge and Oxford University Press.

Major grants. (a) 1988-1990: Basic Research Grant from the Danish Ministry of Education and Research to "Research in Cognitive Psychology" (C. Bundesen, A. Larsen): kr. 1.213.200. (b) 1991-1994: Share of a grant of US$ 830.938 from The International Human Frontier Science Program Organization to the project "Brain mechanisms of visual selection" (C. Bundesen, R. Desimone, J. Duncan,  S. Hillyard, G. W. Humphreys [PI], T. Inui, G. Orban): US$ 98.230. (c) 1996-1999: Grant from the Danish Research Councils for the Natural Sciences, Medicine, the Humanities, and the Technical Sciences to the project "Vision and the brain: Psychophysical, neurobiological, and computational studies" (C. Bundesen, L. Friberg, A. Larsen [PI], O. B. Paulson, H. Shibuya): DKK 2.250.000. (d) 1999-2003: Grant from the Danish Research Agency (Information Technology Program) to the project "Computing natural shape" (C. Bundesen, T. Darvann, J. Gravesen, P. Johansen [PI], A. Larsen, P. Larsen, M. Nielsen, H. Pedersen, et al.):  DKK 6.855.600. (e) 2003-2008: Grant from the Danish Research Council for the Humanities to the project "Visual cognition" (C. Bundesen [PI], A. Larsen, S. Kyllingsbæk, T. Habekost): DKK 4.985.000. (f) 2008-2013: Grant from the Programme of Excellence of the University of Copenhagen to the project "Integrated visual attention research" (C. Bundesen [PI], A. Larsen, S. Kyllingsbæk, T. Habekost, et al.): DKK 20.000.000.