Vision and Control of Action Group

The VISCA group is a consolidated research group acknowledged by the Catalan Government (label: 2014-SGR-79). Most of the members belong to the Departament of Cognition and Development and the Institute of Neurosciences (UBneuro). of The Universitat de Barcelona.

Our research lines

  • Sensorimotor timing and its optimization
  • Spatial attention and perception
  • Decision Making and Gain/value representation in perception/action
  • Number processing
  • Eye movements in Cognitive processing


Perception and Action in Complex Environments (PACE).

Reference number 642961 call: H2020-MSCA-ITN-2014

PACE is a large European ITN funded project. The PACE research and training programme sits at the interface between basic science, technology and clinics, in order to unveil how humans control and adapt their movements in complex, naturalistic environments. Such a research agenda has major consequences for understanding how these movements are impacted by specific brain insults and how these impairments can be compensated for via new rehabilitation methods. Improving rehabilitation programmes for sensory and motor disabilities across the lifespan is a major societal challenge in western countries and many obstacles need to be overcome. To provide but one example, with regard to eye-hand coordination of upper limb movement remaining abilities are rarely assessed in stroke patients or sensory-disabled children and this impacts both prognostic estimation and rehabilitation. New technologies, such as robotics or virtual reality, offer exciting opportunities in the perspective to transfer state-of-the-art knowledge from basic research on sensorimotor transformation into the clinical domain. To meet these societal challenges, it is crucial to train a new generation of early-stage researchers in a programme such as PACE where fundamental and applied/clinical research are effectively integrated via collaborative research, doctoral secondments and theoretical courses – in other words, one in which clinicians, neuroscientists, theoreticians and engineers can contribute around a well-defined problem: how humans acquire, lose and recover movement performance.

PACE is coordinated by the CRNS (Institute de la Timone, Marseille), and Joan López-Moliner is the PI of the research project to be carried out in Barcelona

Enhancement of sensory prediction and motor timing (PREDICT).

Reference number PSI2013-41568-P.

First, we will here study the optimization of predictive mechanisms based on optical information and use mainly interceptive tasks as a paradigm, although generalization of basic principles to a diversity of precision tasks would easily be made. Prediction involves some uncertainty of immediate future states due to transmission noise and ambiguity of sensory signals (optical variables in our case). One basic aim is to explore how to enhance the use of these signals in terms of reducing spatial and temporal errors by promoting robust 3D interpretations that can frame these sensory signals. Therefore we expect to find methods to improve temporal execution by resorting to people building 3D models of the scene. Second, predictive mechanisms appears to help humans cope with natural delays. Operating devices with additional delays between motor commands and expected feedback is becoming trendy in situations requiring high precision demands (tele-operations, drones, etc.). We easily adapt to these additional delays but at the cost of loosing precision. We try to answer which is the error-signal that drives this adaptation. This knowledge could be relevant for optimizing temporal performance under a diversity of situations in which additional delays are present. Finally, there is a strong neurocomputational perspective in which behaviourally revealed mechanisms will be implemented in neural simulations.

PREDICT's PIs are Joan López-Moliner and Matthias S. Keil

Collision detection in arbitrary environments.

TARGET, a Versatile Algorithm for Vision-based Detection of Object Approaches and Collision Threads. Ref. AVCRI-208

Matthias has developed the computer algorithm TARGET for predicting collision threads. TARGET processes image frames from video sequences or video cameras with no constraints on frame rate or resolution. The output is a simple signal which increases before collision would occur. TARGET suppresses background movement (as it would occur during car driving) without sacrificing its sensitivity for detecting collisions. Furthermore, large-field motion patterns due to camera movement or self-motion are also suppressed. Both suppression mechanisms contribute to a reduction in the number of false alerts, and make the algorithm versatile such that it can be used for many different applications, for example car driving, or airplanes. The algorithm is based on local computations, and a corresponding implementation in hardware should be feasible.

Selected Publications

Dealing with delays does not transfer across sensorimotor tasks
C. de la Malla, J. López-Moliner, E. Brenner
Journal of Vision  14(12):8  1-17  (2014)
The role of differential delays in integrating transient visual and proprioceptive information
B. Cameron, C. de la Malla, J. López-Moliner
Frontiers in Psyschology  5  50  (2014)
Synergies between optical and physical variables in intercepting parabolic targets
J. Gómez and J. López-Moliner
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience  7(46)  1-16  (2013)
Sound-driven enhancement of vision: Disentangling detection from decisional level contributions
A. Perez-Bellido, Soto-Faraco, S. and J. López-Moliner
Journal of Neurophysiology  109  1065-1077  (2013)
Seeing the last part of a hitting movement is enough to adapt to a temporal delay
C. de la Malla, J. López-Moliner and E. Brenner
Journal of Vision  12  1-15  (2012)
Unifying Time to Contact Estimation and Collision Avoidance Across Species
M. Keil and J. López-Moliner
Plos Computational Biology  7    (2012)
People favour imperfect catching by assuming a stable world
J. López-Moliner and M. Keil
Plos One  7  e35705  (2012)
Catching a gently thrown ball
J. López-Moliner, E. Brenner, S. Louw and J.B.J. Smeets
Experimental Brain Research  206  409-417  (2010)
reprint request
Interceptive timing: prior knowledge matters
J. López-Moliner and D. T. Field and J. P. Wann
Journal of Vision  7(13):11  1-8  (2007)
Motion signal and the perceived positions of moving objects
D. Linares and J. López-Moliner and A. Johnston
Journal of Vision  7  1-7  (2007)
Modes of executive control in sequence learning: from stimulus-based to plan-based control
E. Tubau and B. Hommel and J. López-Moliner
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General  136  43-63  (2007)
reprint request
Comparing the sensitivity of manual pursuit and perceptual judgments to pictorial depth effects
J. López-Moliner and J. B. J. Smeets and E. Brenner
Psychological Science  14  232-236  (2003)
reprint request

For a complete list visit the individual member's web sites

Group members

Faculty staff

Joan López-Moliner

Head of the research group. If you visit my personal web page you can have a closer look at my research lines and interests. Here you will find the people I currently work with. Below you will also find the ongoing collaborations.

Antonio Aznar

My first research interest is about how the brain represents Visual Space, i.e., how the world is represented in the brain. Visit my personal web page to learn more.

Hans Supèr

Visual cortex processing and Eye movements, you can go to my web page to learn more about my research

Elisabet Tubau

Research interests include sequence learning and decision making.

Àngels Colomé

My research interest focus on Numerical cognition: language and numbers; numbers' acquisition; cardinality and ordinality.

Matthias S. Keil

Neurocomputational modelling.

Contact Information

We are located at the Faculty of Psychology, Universitat de Barcelona, Campus Mundet

Mailing Address

Vision and Control of Action Group
Dept. Cognition and Development,
Universitat de Barcelona
Passeig de la Vall d'Hebron 171
08035 Barcelona, Catalonia

To reach us:
by metro: Line 3 Mundet Stop
by car: Ronda de Dalt, exit 4
On the map, you have the exact location
of the entrance, just walk up to the 5th floor
of the Ponent Building, Wagon 3

Phone: +34 93 312 51 43
Email (group coordinator): j.lopezmoliner at

Our Location