Dr Ansgar Koene

Research Fellow

School of Psychology


Contact details

School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


Dr Ansgar Koene is a postdoctoral research fellow working on human sensory motor control. Based on his multi-disciplinary background in psychology and robotics he also leads the Behaviour Informatics project for facilitating interdisciplinary sharing of information related to human, animal and robot behaviour.


M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering (specialized in Control Systems) from Delft University of Technology, Netherlands

Ph.D. in Physics from the Helmholtz Institute at Utrecht University, Netherlands


Dr Ansgar Koene did graduate work on Fuzzy Neural Networks for system identification at Delft Univsersity of Technology and completed a PhD on the role or “Eye mechanics and their implications for eye movement control” at Utrecht University. He subsequently worked on modeling the brainstem oculomotor control circuit at the INSERM U534 “Espace et Action” in Lyon, did Psychophysics experiments on audio-visual sensory integration as well as visual salience at the Psychology department at University College London, worked on a biologically inspired eye-head gaze control system for a humanoid robot at the Advanced Telecommunications Research institute (ATR) in Kyoto, Japan, did some visual perception psychophysics and fMRI at the Psychology department of the National Taiwan University (NTU) in Taipei, developed an integrated computational model of various brain structures (Amygdala, Basal Ganglia, Hippocampus) for the control of a simulated robot rat at the Psychology department at the University of Sheffield, UK and worked on computational modeling of decision making and action selection based on reinforcement learning theories at the RIKEN institute in Tokyo, Japan before taking up the post of Research Fellow at Birmingham University.


Core research interests focus on understanding how humans and other living creatures perceive and behave, respond and act upon their environment and how this dynamic interplay shapes us into who we are. In recognition of the broad scope of this question Ansgar Koene is a strong believer in the need for inter- and multi-disciplinary approaches. Though his work has primarily taken the form of computational neuroscience he has also performed psychophysical experiments with healthy human subjects, been involved in neural imaging experiments and contributed towards the development of a humanoid robot.

Based on the philosophy of 'understanding through creating' he believes that bio-mimetic and biologically inspired computational and robotic engineering can teach us not only how to build more flexible and robust tools but also how actual living creatures deal with their environment. Ansgar Koene is therefore a strong believer in the fertile information exchange between Natural-, Social-science and engineering research disciplines.

Current areas of investigation include: 

  • Establishing a Behaviour Informatics platform to provide open access to behaviour data and models for a deeper, more integrated understanding of human and animal behaviour.
  • Studying of Human-Human manual interactions for the purpose of improving Robot-Human interaction (part of the CogLaboration project).
  • Reinforcement learning of temporal context patterns


Journal papers

Yu Z-E, Koene A, Jeng S-K & Chen C-C, "Evolving the Intercolumnar Connection Topologies in the Primary Visual Cortex: A Neural Model", PLoS ONE, submitted May 18, 2012.

Koene A, Baldassarre G, Mannella F & Prescott TJ,“Distal place recognition based navigation control inspired by Hippocampus – Amygdala interaction”, 9th International Conference on Epigenetic Robotics: Modeling Cognitive Development in Robotic Systems, Venice, Italy, Nov. 12-14. 2009.

Mannella F, Koene A & Baldassarre G,“Navigation via Pavlovian Conditioning: A Robotic Bio-Constrained Model of Autoshaping in Rats”, 9th International Conference on Epigenetic Robotics: Modeling cognitive Development in Robotic Systems, Venice, Italy, Nov. 12-14. 2009.

Koene A, & Prescott TJ, “Hippocampus, Amygdala and Basal Ganglia based navigation contro”, Artificial Neural Networks - ICANN 2009, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 5768: 267-276. 2009.

Moren J, Ude A, Koene A, & Cheng G, “Biologically based top-down attention modulation for humanoid interactions”, International Journal of Humanoid Robotics, 5(1): 3-24. 2008.

Trifa V, Koene A, Moren J, & Cheng G, “Real-time acoustic source localization in noisy environments for human-robot multimodal interaction”, Robots and Human interactive Communication, 2007. RO-MAN 2007. The 16th IEEE International Symposium on, Jeju Island, Korea, 393-398. 2007.

Koene A, Arnold D, & Johnston A “Bimodal sensory discrimination is finer than dual single modality discrimination”, Journal of Vision, 7(11):14, 1-11. 2007.

Koene A & Zhaoping L, “Feature-specific interactions in salience from combined feature contrasts: Evidence for a bottom-up saliency map in V1”, Journal of Vision, 7(7):6, 1-14. 2007.

Koene A, Moren J, Trifa V & Cheng G, “Gaze shift reflex in a humanoid active vision system”, Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Computer Vision Systems (ICVS 2007), Applied Computer Science Group, Bielefeld University, Germany, 2007.

Koene A, “A model for perceptual averaging and stochastic bistable behavior and the role of voluntary contol”, Neural Computation, 18(12):3069-96. 2006.

Tilikete C, Koene A, Nighoghossian N, Vighetto A & Pelisson D, “Saccadic lateropulsion in Wallenberg syndrome: a window to access cerebellar control of saccades?”, Experimental Brain Research, 174(3):555-65. 2006.

Fujisaki W, Koene A, Arnold D, Johnston A & Nishida S, “Visual search for a target changing in synchrony with an auditory signal”, Proceedings of The Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, Apr 7; 273(1588):865-74. 2006.

Alahyane N, Koene A & Pelisson D, “Transfer of adaptation from visually guided saccades to averaging saccades elicited by double visual targets”, Eur J Neurosci., Aug; 20(3):827-36. 2004.

Koene A & Erkelens C, “Properties of 3D rotations and their relation to eye movement control”, Biol. Cybern., 90, 410-417, 2004.

Koene A. & Goffart L. “Accounting for saccade dysmetria after cerebellar lesion: A”. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1004: 389-393, 2003.

Hol K, Koene A & Ee R van, “Attention-biased multi-stable surface perception in three-dimensional structure-from-motion”, Journal of Vision,3, 486-498, 2003.

Koene A & Erkelens C, “Mechanical interdependence of version and vergence eye movements”, Strabismus, 11, 221-228, 2003.

Koene A & Erkelens C, “Cause of kinematic differences during centrifugal and centripetal saccades”, Vis. Res.42, 1797-1808, 2002.

Setnes M, Koene A, Babuska R & Bruijn P, “Data-driven initialization and structure learning in fuzzy neural networks”, Proceedings Fuzz-IEEE’98, Anchorage, Alaska, 1147-1152, May 1998.

Book Chapters

Zhaoping Li, Keith A. May & Ansgar Koene, "Some finger prints of V1 mechanisms in the bottom up saliency of visual selection", in Computational Modelling in Behavioural Neuroscience: Closing the Gap between Neurophysiology and Behaviour (Advances in Behavioural Brain Science), Heinke D. & Mavritsaki E. (Eds.), London: Psychology Press. 2008

K. Gurney, N. Lepora, A. Shah, A. Koene and P. Redgrave, “Intrinsically motivated action discovery: A biologically constrained formalisation” in IM-CLEVER book, (in press).

PhD Thesis

Koene A. “Eye Mechanics And Their Implication For Eye Movement Control”, Utrecht University, 2002; Promotor: Erkelens CJ

Workshop organizing

Ansgar R. Koene. “Behavior Informatics: data bases, data mining and experiments in virtual worlds” at the CNS 2012 Atlanta/Decatur (USA) meeting of the Organization for Computational Neuroscience, 21-26 July, 2012

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