Academic staff – University of Copenhagen

Department of Psychology > Academic staff

Thomas Habekost

Thomas Habekost


Research fields

  • Visual and attentional processes: experimental studies and mathematical modeling
  • Assessment of attention in healthy and clinical populations
  • Cognitive deficits after brain damage


Research group memberships

  • Center for Visual Cognition (Dept. of Psychology)
  • Clinical Neuropsychology (Dept. of Psychology)
  • International TVA network (research coordinator)
  • Young Academy section of the Danish Royal Society for Sciences and Letters


Research: brief description

Thomas Habekost is professor with special responsibilities (MSO) in cognitive neuropsychology at the Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen. His research focuses on visual and attentional processes using a range of experimental and technical methods (e.g., MRI, EEG, eye tracking). Many of his studies are theoretically based in the mathematical TVA model (Bundesen, Psychological Review 1990). A major focus of Thomas Habekost’s research is to develop and apply the TVA model as a research tool for assessment of attentional deficits in neurological, neuropsychiatric and developmental disorders (see Habekost, Frontiers in Psychology 2015, for an overview of this field). His research on TVA based assessment also includes studies of the psychometric properties of the test, the influence of aging on test performance, and EEG correlates of the test parameters. Every second year since 2010 he has organized an international conference on TVA-based research in Copenhagen (the ITVA meetings).

Thomas Habekost’s research is currently supported by two grants: “Attentive Mind”  (DFF Sapere Aude) and “Attention to Dopamine” (University of Copenhagen’s cross-disciplinary 2016 funds) which fund 4 Ph.D students, 1 postdoc, and 1 research assistant. The projects are carried out in close collaboration with other researchers at the Center for Visual Cognition as well as external partners. In Denmark main collaborators are at the Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology (University of Copenhagen) as well as at psychiatric research units in Copenhagen (Glostrup  and Bispebjerg Hospitals) and the Centre for Brain Injury Rehabilitation. Internationally, main collaborators include Dr. Kathrin Finke (Ludwig Maximillian’s Universität Munich) and Professor Sverker Sikström (Lund University).

Link to Google Scholar profile:

Link to Researchgate profile:


 Current research projects

  • Interactions between arousal and selective attention
  • Cognitive profiling of ADHD including effects of medication
  • EEG studies of visual attention in healthy and brain damaged individuals
  • Modeling of attentional processes in animal behavior (TVA analysis of 5CSRTT performance)


Major grants

2013-2017: Share of grant (5.756.000 Dkr.)  from KU's crossdisciplinary 2016-program (PI: Ulrik Gether, vice-PI: Thomas Habekost): "Attention to Dopamine": 18.759.000 Dkr.  

2013-2017: Share of grant from KU's crossdisciplinary 2016-program (PI: Susanne Ditlevsen): "Dynamical Systems": 28.176.000 Dkr.

2012-2016: Grant from the Danish Council for Independent Research's Sapere Aude program (PI: Thomas Habekost): "The attentive mind: towards a unified theory of visual selectivity and arousal": 8.637.068 Dkr.

2008-2013: Share of grant from KU's Centre of Excellence program (PI: Claus Bundesen): "Integrated visual attention research": 20.000.000 Dkr. 



Teaching and supervision at BA, KA, and Ph.D. levels in:

  •  Bachelor’s theses (course coordinator)
  •  Master’s theses
  •  Cognitive Psychology
  •  Neuropsychology
  •  Research methods in cognitive neuroscience
  •  Clinical psychology with cognitive or neural aspects


Selected publications

Sikström, S., Jürgensen, A. M., Haghighi, M., Månsson, D., Smidelik, D., & Habekost, T. (in press). Attentiveness interacts with transcranial Direct Current Stimulation. Neural Plasticity.

Habekost, T. (2015). Clinical TVA-based studies: a general review. Frontiers in Psychology. Mar 18;6:290. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00290

Bundesen, C., Vangkilde, S., & Habekost, T. (2015). Components of visual bias: a multiplicative hypothesis. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1339, 116-124.

Neitzel, J., Bäuml, J. G., Redel, P., Müller, H. J., Meng, C., Jaekel, J., Daamen, M., Scheef, L., Busch, B., Baumann, N., Boecker, H., Bartmann, P. Habekost, T., Wolke, D., Wohlschläger, A., & Finke, K. (2015). Visual attention in preterm born adults: specifically impaired attentional sub-mechanisms that link with altered intrinsic brain networks in a compensation-like mode. NeuroImage, 107, 95-106.

Habekost, T., Petersen, A., Behrmann, M., & Starrfelt, R. (2014). From word superiority to word inferiority: visual processing of letters and words in pure alexia. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 31(5-6), 413-436.

Bundesen, C., & Habekost, T. (2014). Theory of Visual Attention (TVA). In S. Kastner and K. Nobre (Eds), Oxford Handbook of Attention. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Habekost, T., Vangkilde, S., & Petersen, A. (2014). Assessment of attention: ANT and TVA provide complementary measures. Behavior Research Methods, 46(1), 81-94. 

Wiegand, I., Toellner, T., Habekost, T., Dyrholm, M., Müller, H. J., & Finke, K. (2014). Event-related potential correlates of visual attention parameters perceptual processing speed and short-term storage capacity. Cerebral Cortex, 24(8), 1967-1978.

Habekost, T., & Hassing, J. (2014). Experimental methods in psychology and cognitive and affective neuroscience. Politik, 17(3). 

Starrfelt, R., Nielsen, S., Habekost, T., & Andersen, T. S. (2013). How low can you go: spatial frequency sensitivity in a patient with pure alexia. Brain and Language, 126(2), 188-192.

Mellentin, A., Skot, L., Teasdale, T. W., & Habekost, T. (2013). Conscious knowledge influences decision making differently in substance use disorder adults with or without co-morbid antisocial personality disorder. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 54(4), 292-299.

Habekost, T., Vogel, A., Rostrup, E., Bundesen, C., Kyllingsbæk, S., Garde, E., Ryberg, C., & Waldemar, G. (2013). Visual processing speed in old age. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 54(2), 89-94.

Caspersen, I. D., & Habekost, T. (2013). Selective and sustained attention in children with spina bifida myelomeningocele. Child Neuropsychology, 19(1), 55-77.

McAvinue, L., Vangkilde, S., Johnson, K. A., Habekost, T., Kyllingsbæk, S., Bundesen, C., & Robertson, I. H. (2012). A componential analysis of visual attention in children with ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders. Nov 27 [Epub ahead of print]

Starrfelt, R., Gerlach, C., Habekost, T., & Leff, A. P. (2012). Word-superiority in pure alexia. Behavioral Neurology, 25, 1-3.

McAvinue, L., Habekost, T., Johnson, K. A., Kyllingsbæk, S., Vangkilde, S., Bundesen, C., & Robertson, I. H. (2012). Sustained attention, attentional selectivity and attentional capacity across the lifespan. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 74 (8), 1570-1582.

McAvinue, L., Vangkilde, S., Johnson, K. A., Habekost, T., Kyllingsbæk, S., Robertson, I. H. & Bundesen, C. (2012). The relation between sustained attention, attentional selectivity and capacity. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 24, 313-328.

Bundesen, C., Habekost, T., & Kyllingsbæk, S. (2011). A neural theory of visual attention and short-term memory (NTVA). Neuropsychologia, 49, 1446-1457.

Habekost, T. (2010). ADHD: en neurobiologisk forstyrrelse? Psyke og Logos, 31:2, 647-667.

Vangkilde, S., & Habekost, T. (2010). Finding Wally: Prism adaptation improves visual search in chronic neglect. Neuropsychologia, 48, 1994-2004.

Starrfelt, R., Habekost, T., & Gerlach, C. (2010). Visual processing in pure alexia: a case study. Cortex, 46, 242-255.

Starrfelt, R., Habekost, T., & Leff, A. (2009). Too little, too late: reduced visual span and speed characterize pure alexia. Cerebral Cortex, 19, 2880-2890.

Habekost, T., & Starrfelt, R. (2009). Visual attention capacity: a review of TVA-based patient studies. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 50, 23-32.

Bundesen, C., & Habekost, T. (2008). Principles of Visual Attention: linking mind and brain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Habekost, T., & Rostrup, E. (2007). Visual attention capacity after right hemisphere lesions. Neuropsychologia, 45, 1474-1488.

Bundesen, C., & Habekost, T. (2006). Models of attention. In Q. Jing, M. R. Rosenzweig, G. d'Ydewalle, H. Zhang, H.-C. Chen, & K. Zhang (Eds.), Progress in psychological science around the world: Proceedings of the 28th International Congress of Psychology. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

Habekost, T., & Starrfelt, R. (2006). Alexia and quadrant-amblyopia. Reading disability after a minor visual field deficit. Neuropsychologia, 44, 2465-2476.

Habekost, T., & Rostrup, E. (2006). Persisting asymmetries of vision after right side lesions. Neuropsychologia, 44, 876-895.

Bundesen, C., & Habekost, T. (2005). Attention. In K. Lamberts & R. Goldstone: Handbook of Cognition (pp. 105-129). London: Sage Publications.

Bundesen, C., Habekost, T., & Kyllingsbaek, S (2005). A neural theory of visual attention: Bridging cognition and neurophysiology. Psychological Review, 112, 291-328.

Habekost, T. (2005). Deficits in visual attention after right side brain damage. TVA based patient studies. Doctoral dissertation. University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Gerlach, C., Marstrand, L., Habekost, T., & Gade, A. (2005). A case of impaired shape integration. Visual Cognition, 12, 1409 - 1443.

Habekost, T., & Bundesen, C. (2003). Patient assessment based on a theory of visual attention (TVA): Subtle deficits after a right frontal-subcortical lesion. Neuropsychologia, 41, 1171-1188.


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