Ehud Zohary Lab

ELSC Members

Ehud Zohary


Phone: +972-2-6586737
Fax: +972-2-6584985
Lab Phone: +972-2-6585152
Address: The Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences,
The Suzanne and Charles Goodman Brain Sciences Building,
Level 2, Room 2201, Edmond J. Safra Campus,
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 9190401
Dr. G. Levi de Veali Chair in Neurobiology
The Swiss Friends Vision Laboratory, Linking Perception, Memory and Action

Welcome to Ehud Zohary’s Lab.

Our research is focused on how the brain generates a representation of the world around us, combining incoming perceptual information with memory-based expectations, to act on it.  To appreciate this, press the following link.

Current research in our lab is centered on two main aspects characterizing the visual scene analysis:

  1. Development: Vision following recovery from prolonged blindness;
  2. Hierarchical analysis and its implementation in the human brain:

We use a variety of techniques including psychophysical testing, eye tracking methods, functional MRI, and modelling using DNNs (deep neural networks) to study these issues.

Focus #1 Vision recovery:

We study a world unique population of children in Ethiopia that have been blind from birth due to bilateral cataracts and regain eyesight only years later.

These children are found, diagnosed and receive medical treatment (i.e. surgery) by our team. But regaining eyesight is far from ensuring functional vision. The seminal studies of Hubel & Wiesel suggested that there is a “critical period” for normal vision development in the early years, after which opportunities for beneficial plastic changes in the brain are drastically limited. Thus, following their legacy, cataract surgery is typically done as early as possible, within months from birth. Our project is exceptional in having the opportunity to assess vision restoration after the presumed “critical period”, when most people would assume that permanent damage was already done.

We have been testing the recovery of visual function in this population of kids in the last 10 years. We study both simple (low-level) capabilities which may limit perception such as visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, motion perception, etc, as well as high level functions such as gaze understanding, social interaction understanding, face and body posture information extraction, and pattern completion (in slit-viewing conditions).

For full information please see our website:   

Focus #2: Studying the brain mechanisms that enable object and scene understanding   

How is the specific computational problem solved and what should be the specific characteristics of brain areas in the visual cortex, that match these predictions. See two examples below:

One particularly impressive capability of the visual system is our ability to identify the shape of an object moving through a narrow slit (termed anorthoscopic vision).  In this case, the global shape can only be recovered by integration of information across the seqence of partial views.  Using fMRI and multivoxel pattern analysis, we searched for brain regions that encode temporally integrated shape identity. We further required that the representation of shape should be invariant to changes in the slit orientation. We (Orlov & Zohary 2018) found strong evidence for a global encoding of shape in high-order lateral occipital cortex (LOC), but not in earlier processing stages. The slit-invariant representation of the various shapes in LOC also mirrored the structure of shape perceptual space as assessed by perceptual similarity judgment tests.

Another example is the interpretation of social scenes. Surprisingly, vision-based social scene understanding is ill-studied from both computational and neuroscience perspectives. We postulate that social scene understanding requires a series of processing steps, in a hierarchy of levels of representation, such that (1) lower-level brain regions encode social interaction primitives at the level of the individual agent (e.g. body posture, gestures, etc.); and (2) each type of social interaction is uniquely characterized by a pattern of these primitives (obtained across all interacting agents), encoded in downstream regions.

Tanya Orlov
Senior Researcher
Daniel Houry
MSc Student
Ilana Nave
PhD Student
Lior D. Aloni
MSc Student
Sara Attias
PhD Student
Maayan Raveh
PhD Student
Asael Sklar
Post Doc
Zohary E, Harari D, Ullman S, Ben-Zion I, Doron R, Attias S, Porat Y, Sklar AY, Mckyton A.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 May 17;119(20):e2117184119. (2022)

Tanya Orlov, Maayan Raveh, Ayelet McKyton, Itay Ben-Zion, Ehud Zohary

Current Biology, Volume 31, Issue 14, Pages 3162-3167 (2021)

Senna I, Andres E, McKyton A, Ben-Zion I, Zohary E, Ernst MO

Curr Biol. 2021 Nov 8;31(21):4879-4885.e6 (2021)

Moreh E, Zohary E, Orlov T

Neuropsychologia. 2021 Jul 16;157:107860 (2021)

A Mann, I Naveh, E Zohary

Vision Research, Volume 150, Pages 15-23 (2018)

A McKyton, I Ben-Zion, E Zohary

Psychological Science, 29(2), 304–310. (2018)

E Andres, A McKyton, I Ben-Zion, E Zohary

Current Biology, Volume 27, Issue 14, Pages R696-R697 (2017)

Seidel Malkinson T, Pertzov Y, Zohary E.

Front Psychol; 7:165. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00165. (2016)

Porat, Y, Zohary E.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A;113(46):E7327-E7336 (2016)

McKyton A, Ben-Zion I, Doron R, Zohary E.

Curr Biol. 25(18):2373-8. (2015)

Roth ZN, Zohary E.

Cereb Cortex. 2015 Sep;25(9):2427-39. Epub 2014 Mar 31. (2015)

Moreh E, Malkinson TS, Zohary E, Soroker N.

J Cogn Neurosci. 2014 Sep;26(9):2155-70. (2014)

Orlov T, Porat Y, Makin TR, Zohary E.

Journal of Neuroscience 2 April 2014, 34 (14) 4882-4895; (2014)

Seidel Malkinson T, McKyton A, Zohary E.

J Vis. 2012 Jun 22;12(6). pii: 30. (2012)

Porat Y, Pertzov Y, Zohary E.

J Vis. 2011 Oct 21;11(12):17 (2011)

15. Eisenberg M, Shmuelof L, Vaadia E, Zohary E.

Journal of Neuroscience, 31 (34) 12377-12384; (2011)

Pertzov Y, Avidan G, Zohary E.

J Neurosci. 2011 Jan 19;31(3):1059-68 (2011)

Orlov T, Makin TR, Zohary E.

Neuron. 2010 Nov 4;68(3):586-600 (2010)

Pertzov Y, Zohary E, Avidan G.

J Neurosci. 2010 Jun 30;30(26):8882-7 (2010)

Eisenberg M, Shmuelof L, Vaadia E, Zohary E.

J Neurosci. 2010 Jun 30;30(26):8897-905 (2010)

Amedi A, Raz N, Azulay H, Malach R, Zohary E.

Restor Neurol Neurosci. 2010;28(2):143-56. (2010)

Makin TR, Wilf M, Schwartz I, Zohary E.

Psychol Sci. 2010 Jan;21(1):55-7 (2010)

We are always looking for bright and motivated students, who have keen interest in Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience. Computational/analytical background is a major advantage. Please email Ehud Zohary if you qualify.
We thank the following agencies and private foundations for their generous support in the past & present: Israel-US Binational foundation (BSF); Israel Science Foundation, The German-Israeli Project (DFG), The McDonnell Foundation, The Dana Foundation, The Israel National Institute for Psychobiology.

For information regarding our ongoing project on the recovery of vision after prolonged early onset blindness see Project EyeOpener

Ehud Zohary


Phone: +972-2-6586737
Fax: +972-2-6584985
Lab Phone: +972-2-6585152
Address: The Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences,
The Suzanne and Charles Goodman Brain Sciences Building,
Level 2, Room 2201, Edmond J. Safra Campus,
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 9190401

“Working memory”