Simona Buetti

Profile picture for Simona Buetti

Contact Information

603 E. Daniel
M/C 716
Champaign, IL 61820
Research Assistant Professor

Research Interests

Visual attention, emotion-cognition interactions, response interference effects, and individual differences.

Research Description

My research focuses on visual attention and emotion-cognition interactions. I am also interested in individual differences, specifically, in individuals who vary in terms of their personality and emotional temperament (normal, at-risk for depression, at-risk for mania, at-risk for phobia). I use a variety of methodologies and approaches: behavioral psychophysics, eye-tracking, computational modeling, electrodermal activity measurements, and visual perimetry. Some of my recent work focuses on how cognitive load and task difficulty impact visual distractibility and visual sensitivity. In our lab, we are also studying visual search with a particular focus on parallel vision. Our approach combines computational simulations, behavioral psychophysics, and eye- tracking to study the temporal dynamics of early visual processing. Using this approach, we try to predict performance in complex scenes based on performance observed in simpler contexts. Finally, I am also interested in the effects of perceived control (real and illusory) on emotion processing and attentional control.

Research Gate Image  ResearchGate Link

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Vision Lab



  • PhD. from the University of Geneva (Switzerland)

Awards and Honors

Awarded a 2019 research grant from the National Science Foundation (Behavioral and Cognitive Science Division, award number: 1921735). Role: PI. Title:  CompCog: Template Contrast and Saliency (TCAS) Toolbox: a tool to visualize parallel attentive evaluation of scenes.

Awarded a 2016 research grant from the BRIDGE Birmingham-Illinois partnership initiative.

Awarded the 2014 NARSAD Young Investigator Grant, Brain & Behavior research Foundation.

Courses Taught

Psyc230 Perception and Sensory Processes (face-to-face: Fall and Spring; Online: Winter and Summer) 

Psyc396 The Attentive Mind

Global Eduction and Training (GET) in the context of the Engeneering Research Summer School

Recent Publications


Lleras, A., Wang, Z., Madison, A., & Buetti, S. (2019). Predicting Search Performance in Heterogeneous Scenes: Quantifying the Impact of Homogeneity Effects in Efficient Search. Collabra: Psychology, 5(1), 2. DOI:

Madison, A., Lleras, A., & Buetti, S. (2018). The role of crowding in parallel search: Peripheral pooling is not responsible for logarithmic efficiency in parallel search. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 80(2), 352-373. DOI:

Ng, G. J. P., Lleras, A., & Buetti, S. (2018). Fixed-target efficient search has logarithmic efficiency with and without eye movements. Attention Perception & Psychophysics, 80(7), 1752:1762 DOI:

Wang, Z., Lleras, A. & Buetti, S. (2018). Parallel, exhaustive processing underlies logarithmic search functions: Visual search with cortical magnification. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 25(4), 1343–1350. DOI:

Wang, Z., Buetti, S., & Lleras, A. (2017). Predicting Search Performance in Heterogeneous Visual Search Scenes with Real-World Objects. Collabra: Psychology, 3(1), 6. DOI:

Zhou, L.-F., Buetti, S., Lu, S., & Cai, Y.-C. (2017, November 20). Attentional Effect on Contrast Appearance: From Enhancement to Attenuation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. Advance online publication. DOI: 




In The News

  • We are proud to announce the following grants have been awarded to faculty in the Psychology Department over the Fall 2020 semester.