Michele Rucci

Director, Active Perception Laboratory

Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences




Dept. of Psychological and Brain Sciences
Boston University
64 Cummington Street, Boston, MA 02215


617 - 353-7671


617 - 353-7755

Lab Tel.

617 - 358-1385

Research Interests:

Research in my laboratory focuses on the computational and biological mechanisms underlying visual perception. Like other species, humans are not passively exposed to the incoming flow of sensory data. Instead, they actively seek useful information by coordinating sensory processing with motor activity. Behavior is a key component of sensory perception, as it enables control of input sensory signals in ways that simplify perceptual tasks. I believe that the link between motor activity and sensory processing is much deeper than commonly assumed and that elucidation of this synergy is critical for fully understanding sensory perception. For this reason, I follow an ecological approach that studies vision in conjunction with motor behavior (eye movements in particular) and the characteristics of natural environments.

In the Active Perception Laboratory, experimental and theoretical approaches are combined to examine the perceptual consequences of motor activity. Our work has led to multiple findings on the roles of eye movements in the encoding of visual information and the establishment of spatial representations, has raised specific hypotheses on the influences of eye movements during visual development, has resulted in the development of new tools for experimental studies, and has led to robots directly controlled by models of neural pathways.


  • Laurea Degree (MA), Biomedical Engineering, University of Florence, Italy.
  • Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, Scuola Superiore S. Anna, Pisa, Italy.
  • Visiting Researcher, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Fellow in Theoretical Neuroscience, The Neurosciences Institute, San Diego.


Selected Publications:

M. Poletti, C. Listorti, and M. Rucci, "Microscopic Eye Movements Compensate for Nonhomogeneous Vision within the Fovea", Current Biology, 17, 1691-1695, 2013.
X. Kuang, M. Poletti, J.D. Victor and M. Rucci, "Temporal encoding of spatial information during active visual fixation", Current Biology, 22(6), 510-514, 2012.
H.-K. Ko, M. Poletti and M. Rucci, "Microsaccades precisely relocate gaze in a high visual acuity task", Nature Neuroscience,13,1549-1553, 2010.
M. Poletti, C. Listorti, and M. Rucci, ”Stability of the visual world during eye drift”,The Journal of Neuroscience,30(33),11143-11150, 2010.
M. Rucci, R. Iovin, M. Poletti, and F. Santini, ”Miniature Eye Movements Enhance Fine Spatial Detail”, Nature, 447(7146) , 851-854, 2007.
M. Rucci, D. Bullock, and F. Santini, "Integrating robotics and neuroscience: brains for robots, bodies for brains", Advanced Robotics, 21(10) , 1115-1129, 2007.

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