Meet the Director

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Matt HeadshotWelcome to the Vision Lab! My name is Matt Schlesinger -- I not only supervise the day-to-day activities of our research lab, but more importantly, help guide and train the graduate and undergraduate students who work with me. 

My interests in studying vision can be traced back to my graduate work in the 1990's, where I studied visual perception in 6-month-old infants.  Through a series of fortunate events, I also became very interested in neural network models of vision.  After earning my doctorate, I enjoyed a remarkable year in Rome at the Italian National Research Council, where I worked with Domenico Parisi, Stefano Nolfi, Angelo Cangelosi, and several other bright, young researchers (e.g., Gianluca Baldassarre, Aldo Genovese, and Elio Tuci). 

In the following year, my remarkable luck continued as a position opened up at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where I worked with Andy Barto, Neil Berthier, and Rod Grupen.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as it allowed me to collaborate with roboticisits in computer science while maintaining my roots in psychology.  Once again, I had wonderful, creative, and inspiring colleagues who not only expanded my vocabulary, but also added substantially to my professional tool-kit. 

Fast-forward to 2000:  in Y2K I became an assistant professor of psychology in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Program at Southern Illinois University.  I started here with the ambition to build an infant lab but soon discovered that "they just don't make babies fast enough in Carbondale!"  So in the subsequent years, I've expanded the kinds of research I do, to not only offer a broader array of research opportunities to the students I train, but also to allow me to work collaboratively with researchers in other areas. 

Please accept my warmest thanks for visiting our website, and do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or want to learn more about the lab!  You can always find me at or 618-453-3524.