KANEKO Sae Associate Professor
Research Subject

I am interested in how we see the world, especially how we use spatial and temporal contexts to process visual information in the brain. I mainly conduct experimental research using psychophysical methods.

Research Fields
Vision Science
Faculty - Division / Research Group / Laboratory
Division of Human Sciences / Research Group of Psychology / Laboratory of Psychology
Graduate School - Division / Department / Laboratory
Division of Human Sciences / Department of Psychology / Laboratory of Psychology
School - Course / Laboratory
Division of Humanities and Human Sciences / Course of Human Sciences / Laboratory of Psychology

Office/Lab: E404
Email: sakaneko(at)let.hokudai.ac.jp
Replace “(at)” with “@” when sending email.

Foreign exchange students who want to be research students (including Japanese residents) should apply for the designated period in accordance with the “Research Student Application Guidelines”. Even if you send an email directly to the staff, there is no reply.
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Laboratory of PsychologyKANEKO Sae Associate Professor

Chasing the wonder of vision
composed of subjects, senses and experiences

The “vision” we enjoy in our daily lives consists of three factors: external stimuli, senses to perceive them, and subjective visual experiences. There are myriad wonders related to vision: tiled patterns on roads that appear to be moving; instances in which yourself and a friend look at the same object but perceive its color to be different. Questions – why does this happen? – are lurking here and there in our daily lives. Everyone can easily experience the wonders of vision as a party to it, which is what makes vision interesting. Based on such wonders, you can formulate your own hypotheses and analyze data from experiments. When you complete these processes, new discoveries only you can obtain will surely await you. With this goal in mind, I strive to clarify the structure of vision through psychophysical experiments.

Psychophysical experiments are conducted to record detailed judgements on figures with various colors and sizes on a screen, thereby measuring subjective experiences.
In one of the studies, we measured electroencephalograms (EEGs) to examine brain responses to different colors.

Expectations for heated discussions and joint research
To many years of interactions that will be instrumental in the future

The laboratory of psychology at Hokkaido University is home to a number of researchers specializing in research on vision, providing an ideal environment for lively discussions and joint research. There is also the Center for Human Nature, Artificial Intelligence, and Neuroscience of Hokkaido University that serves as a platform for interdisciplinary studies on the brain and mind. I look forward to collaborating with those from different disciplines. During my student days, I was lucky to be in an environment where I could receive one-on-one guidance from my academic supervisor. Through his guidance, I could gain a variety of experiences that I would need when I became independent, such as experimental know-how and the basic stance on research of “try your hand first.” I owe what I am today to interactions with my supervisor in those days, and I am determined to spend my days productively to do the same for my future students.


In the left figure, there are a pair of circles, each of which are surrounded by six circles. Don’t the circles in the center of each group of circles appear to be different in size? In reality, the size of the circles in the center is identical. This phenomenon of objects appearing different from reality is called a visual illusion. The visual illusion is not only interesting to see but also provides an instrumental source of information for the mechanisms behind how we humans see things. The Ebbinghaus illusion described above, for instance, indicates that we determine the size of an object by comparing it with its surroundings. As just described, our laboratory focuses on delving into the mechanisms of how humans see things through various optical illusions and the properties of perceptual phenomena.

The Ebbinghaus illusion is a classical illusion known for a long time, as can be inferred from the fact that it is named after a psychologist from the 19th century, Hermann Ebbinghaus. However, just several years ago (in 2015), when the illusion was shown in motion, illusory effects were found to be greatly enhanced, attracting public attention. In other words, there is still more to be learned about even when it comes to well-established phenomena. Perhaps you could be the one to uncover such secrets. I cordially welcome those who wish to explore the wonder of vision to our laboratory.