Shaul Hochstein’s research contributions span the spectrum of vision research. Investigations at his lab ranged from biophysics of photo-transduction, when light is absorbed in the eye, through electrophysiology of visual information processing in eye and brain, building and storing internal representations of the external world in a hierarchy of cortical areas, to psychophysics and cognitive psychology of perceptual skill learning and conscious perception. Israeli research into many of these fields was pioneered at Shaul Hochstein’s lab, and two dozen of his students and their students now form the core of sensory system research at various Israeli academic institutions.
Shaul Hochstein’s recent work relates to cerebral changes occurring with sensory experience, adaptation, expectation and perceptual learning, the role of neural networks in short- and long-term memory, characterization and categorization of perceived objects, and perception of the identity, order, and summary statistics of a series of objects. Confronting the most difficult challenge of brain science, the study of consciousness, he and his colleagues are investigating the nature of brain activity reflecting automatic sub-conscious processes and that related to conscious perceptual experience. Together with Merav Ahissar he proposed the influential Reverse Hierarchy Theories of Perceptual Learning and of Conscious Perception.