Michael Kubovy

Kubovy, Michael

Primary Appointment

Professor, Psychology


  • BA, psychology, philosophy, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • PhD, Psychology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Contact Information

P.O.Box 400400
Gilmer Hall B019
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4400
Telephone: 4349824729

Research Disciplines


Research Interests

Auditory, visual, and cross-modal perception, psychology of art, the structure of lives, and the philosophy of mind.

Research Description

In the lab I study auditory and visual perception in normal adults. Outside the lab I study the psychology of art , and I am developing a theory of pleasure. Here are some of the ongoing projects in the lab.

Symmetry perception

Some people think of symmetry just as mirror-symmetry , such as the symmetry of an automobile or the human body. But the topic is broader: it includes decorative patterns such as floor-tilings and wallpapers. If you are interested in art , this is a topic for you.

The laws of grouping

Why does the pattern ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) tend more to group in ( ) pairs than in ) ( pairs. We're making rapid progress on a fundamental problem of perception.

The laws of grouping applied to apparent motion

We're exploring the question of the nature of perceptual space-time , just as physicists explore the nature of physical space-time.

Picture perception

How do we recognize the scene represented by a painting or photograph? We are discovering astonishing facts about the perception of depth in pictures. This topic will excite people who are interested in painting , photography , and film.

Fascinatin' rhythm

Tap your foot to create a regular 6:4 beat. Then clap on the first , the fourth , and the fifth beats: clap-rest-rest-clap-clap-rest. Repeat this bar over and over without interruption. Within a small number of repetitions you will hear the pattern as: clap-clap-rest-clap-rest-rest. We are exploring the foundations of rhythm to explaining this and other exciting phenomena , including some striking differences between musicians and non-musicians.

Selected Publications