Søren Kyllingsbæk

Søren Kyllingsbæk


Research fields

  • Attention
  • Intentions
  • Mathematical Modelling
  • Cognitive Neuroscience.

Research group memberships

  • Department of Psychology: Cognition and Clinical Neuropsychology.

Research: brief description

Søren Kyllingsbæk is Professor in Cognitive Psychology at the Department of Psychology and at the Department of Computer Science, University of Copenhagen. His research is mainly focused on experimental studies and mathematical modeling of visual cognition including visual perception, attention, and short-term memory as well as intentional actions. Together with Professors Claus Bundesen and Thomas Habekost, he has developed a Neural Theory of Visual Attention (NTVA; Bundesen, Habekost, & Kyllingsbæk, 2005), which forms the main basis of the empirical and theoretical work at the Center for Visual Cognition. Søren Kyllingsbæk’s recent work on NTVA has mainly been focusing on further theoretical extensions of NTVA to form a unified theory of perception, attention, and visual short-term memory, which he presented in a doctoral thesis in 2014 (see Kyllingsbæk, 2014). The work is done in collaboration with Professor Susanne Ditlevesen and Associate Professor Bo Markussen at the Department of Mathemathical Sciences, UCPH and Professor Barry Giesbrecht at the UCSB.

In collaboration with Associate Professor Thor Grünbaum from the Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen, Søren Kyllingsbæk studies human voluntary action more specifically intentional object-oriented action. The aim is to develop a mathematical theory of selections of intentions and intentional actions integrating philosophically and psychological approaches including psychophysical experiments and computational modeling.

Link to Google Scholar profile: https://scholar.google.dk/citations?user=TIMCthYAAAAJ&hl=da

Link to Researchgate profile: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Soren_Kyllingsbaek

Current research projects

  • A general model of reaction time and pure accuracy tasks
  • Visual processing capacity and perceptual load
  • A Model of Intention Selection
  • Intra-cranial EEG study of the general demand system in the brain
  • Augmenting vision by combining augmented reality with models of visual attention
  • Human Performance Optimization for the Danish Frogman Corps.

Major grants

2021: Grant from the The Danish Ministry of Defence – Acquisition and Logistics Organisation (DALO) to the project: "MAREN" (co-pi, principle investigator Prof. Nikolai Baastrup Nordsborg), 2021-2024: DKK 7,349,440.

2016: Grant from the Danish Research Council for the Humanities to the project: ”Intentions, Selection, and Agency” (principle investigator Assoc. Prof. Thor Grünbaum), 2016-2020: DKK 5,670,757.

2014: Grant from the Danish Research Council for Social Sciences to the project: ”Biased attention and economic decision-making” (principle investigator Assoc. Prof. Alexander Christopher Sebald), 2014-2016: DKK 5,772,435.

2013: Grant from the University of Copenhagen Excellence Programme for Interdisciplinary Research to the project “Attention to Dopamine: From Psychological Functions to Molecular Mechanisms” (principal investigator Prof. Ulrik Gether), 2013-2016: DKK 18,759,000.

2013: Grant from the University of Copenhagen Excellence Programme for Interdisciplinary Research to the project “Dynamical Systems: Mathematical Modeling and Statistical Methodology for the Social, Health and Natural Sciences” (principal investigator Prof. Susanne Ditlevsen), 2013-2016: DKK 28,176,000.

2010: Award and grant for outstanding young research leaders from the Danish Agency for Independent Research, Sapere Aude program to the project: "Modeling Visual Cognition – Perception, Attention, and Short-term Memory" (principal investigator Søren Kyllingsbæk), 2011-2015: DKK 8,591,280.

2010: Grant from the Danish Research Council for Culture and Communication to the collaborative project: "Intentional Action, Attention to Objects, and Working Memory" (principal investigator Søren Kyllingsbæk), 2010-2013: DKK 7,783,200.

2005: Grant from the Programme for Young Researchers at the Strategic Research Council to lead the “Center for Computational Cognitive Modeling” (principal investigator Søren Kyllingsbæk), 2006 – 2010: DKK 2,717,700.

2003: Postdoc grant from the Carlsberg Foundation to the project “Attentional control, visual short-term memory, and the fronto-parietal network”, 2003 – 2005:  DKK 1,248,210.


Courses at the Bachelor's, Master's, and PhD level:

  • Cognitive psychology
  • Visual Perception
  • Ekperimental methods
  • Mathematical modeling.


  • Supervision of Bachelor's theses
  • Supervision of Master's theses in cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, and experimental psychology
  • Supervision of PhD students in cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, and experimental psychology.

Selected publications

Grünbaum, T., Oren, F., & Kyllingsbæk, S. (2021). A new cognitive model of long-term memory for intentions. Cognition, 215, 104817.

Grünbaum, T., & Kyllingsbæk, S. (2020). Is remembering to do a special kind of memory?. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 11(2), 385-404.

Blurton, S. P., Kyllingsbæk, S., Nielsen, C. S., & Bundesen, C. (2020). A Poisson random walk model of response times. Psychological Review, 127(3), 362.

Dongart, R., & Kyllingsbæk, S. (2019). Masked Priming in a Semantic Selection Task Reveals' Feeling of Knowing'Experiences but No Subliminal Perception. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 26(5-6), 6-34.

Smith, P. L., Corbett, E. A., Lilburn, S. D., & Kyllingsbæk, S. (2018). The power law of visual working memory characterizes attention engagement. Psychological Review, 125(3), 435.

Christensen, J. H., Markussen, B., Bundesen, C., & Kyllingsbæk, S. (2018). A physiologically based nonhomogeneous Poisson counter model of visual identification. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 44(9), 1383.

Tamborrino, M., Ditlevsen, S., Markussen, B., & Kyllingsbæk, S. (2017). Gaussian counter models for visual identification of briefly presented, mutually confusable single stimuli in pure accuracy tasks. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 79, 25-103.

Smith, P. L., Lilburn, S. D., Corbett, E. A., Sewell, D. K., & Kyllingsbæk, S. (2016). The attention-weighted sample-size model of visual short-term memory: Attention capture predicts resource allocation and memory load. Cognitive Psychology, 89, 71-105.

Li, K., Kozyrev, V., Kyllingsbæk, S., Treue, S., Ditlevsen, S., & Bundesen, C. (2016). Neurons in primate visual cortex alternate between responses to multiple stimuli in their receptive field. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 10, 141, 1-20.

Christiansen, J. H., Christensen, J., Grünbaum, T., Kyllingsbæk, S. (2014). A common representation of spatial features drives action and perception: grasping and judging object features within trials. PLoS ONE, 9, e94744, 1-14. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094744

Kyllingsbæk, S., Markussen, B., & Bundesen, C. (2012). Testing a Poisson counter model for visual identification of briefly presented, mutually confusable single stimuli in pure accuracy tasks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 38, 628-642. doi: 10.1037/a0024751

Petersen, A., & Kyllingsbæk, S. (2012). Eye Movements and Practice Effects in the Attentional Dwell Time Paradigm. Experimental Psychology, 60, 22-33. doi: 10.1027/1618-3169/a000170

Petersen, A., Kyllingsbæk, S., & Bundesen, C. (2012). Measuring and Modelling Attentional Dwell Time. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 9, 1029-1046.

Kyllingsbæk, S., Sy, J. L., & Giesbrecht, B. (2011). Understanding the allocation of attention when faced with varying perceptual load in partial report: A computational approach. Neuropsychologia, 49, 1487-1497. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.11.039

Kyllingsbæk, S., & Bundesen, C. (2009). Changing change detection: Improving the reliability of measures of visual short-term memory capacity. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 16, 1000-1010.

Kyllingsbæk, S., & Bundesen, C. (2007). Parallel processing in a multi-feature whole-report paradigm. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 33, 64-82.

Kyllingsbæk, S., Valla, C., Vanrie, J., & Bundesen, C. (2007). Effects of spatial separation between stimuli in whole report from brief visual displays. Perception & Psychophysics, 69, 1040-1050.

Kyllingsbæk, S. (2006). Modeling visual attention. Behavior Research Methods, 38, 123-133.

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

Kyllingsbæk, S., Schneider, W. X., & Bundesen, C. (2001). Automatic attraction of attention to former targets in visual displays of letters. Perception & Psychophysics, 63, 85-98

Bundesen, C., Kyllingsbæk, S., Houmann, K. J., & Jensen, R. M. (1997). Is visual attention automatically attracted by one's own name? Perception & Psychophysics, 59(5), 714-720.

Current research

Intention, Selection, and Agency

How do people remember what they have decided to do? How are those intentions stored and later, when the time is right, retrieved? This ability is central to human agency. Without it, we could not form intentions for future actions, we would lose our ability for long-term planning, and our psychological and practical life would lose its structure and stability. And yet, the problem of how intentions are selected and retrieved from memory has received little attention in the philosophical and psychological literature. This project will propose a new psychological model for the selection and retrieval of intentions from memory and situate it within existing philosophical debates.

The project runs within the CoInAct research group in collaboration with Thor Grünbaum from the Department of Media, Cognition and Communication and Mark Schram Christensen at the Department of Psychology.

ID: 1496870