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Dr. Simon J. Büchner: Lecturer and Course Coordinator

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Simon J. Büchner studied Cognitive Science and Philosophy in Freiburg and Cognitive Psychology in Amherst, Massachusetts, supported by scholarships from the Baden-Württemberg Foundation and the Fulbright Commission. He then worked in interdisciplinary research projects on human spatial navigation and received a PhD in Psychology from the University of Freiburg. As a graduate student he was a visiting researcher at Concordia University, Montréal. Simon has teaching experience in Cognitive Science and Psychology in Germany and the United States. 

Dr. Büchner is responsible for the Major Life Sciences. This includes the development of the curriculum, the course offerings per semester, recruiting and supporting Teaching Fellows, as well as thesis supervision.
Room 01034
Office Hour: Please book an appointment on ILIAS.


Academic Interests

My research covers the areas of perception, attention, and decision making mostly in the context of spatial cognition and wayfinding. My recent work has been conducted in the context of wayfinding in an airport. One of the current goals of my research is to understand the allocation of attention in large-scale complex spaces. For this, I investigate the interaction of bottom-up perceptual factors, like, for example, the saliency of objects, top-down factors such as the participant’s goal, and contextual factors such as the presence of an interaction partner or potential distractors. The methods I use include stationary and mobile eye-tracking, behavioral experiments, and self-assessment among others. Further research interests include Applied Cognition, Visual Attention, and Consciousness. Recently, I have taken the first steps towards the field of Technology Assessment.

I have taught courses on several subjects at universities in Germany and the United States including Introduction to Life Sciences, Introduction to Cognitive Science, Introductory and Advanced Statistics, Sensation and Perception, Aspects of Communication, and Technological Transformations among others. At UCF, I introduced Problem-Based Learning as a teaching method to selected courses which showed to be suitable for this type of teaching. Problem-Based Learning is a student-centered learning method which uses real-world problems as an incentive to start an active process of learning by the students as a group and as an individual based on prior knowledge they already have.


Short Vita

  • since 2012 Lecturer and Course Coordinator for Life Sciences, University College, University of Freiburg
  • 2020 Awarding of the Julie Johnson Kidd Travel Research Fellowship
  • 2010 Dissertation and Disputation (Dr. phil.) in Psychology, University of Freiburg
  • 2008 Visiting Researcher at Concordia University, Montréal, QC
  • 2005–2012 Research Assistant in the SFB/TR 8 ‘Spatial Cognition’ - Project R6-[SpaceGuide] at the Center for Cognitive Science, University of Freiburg
  • 2003–2005 Master of Science in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
  • 2000–2003 Undergraduate studies of Education, Cognitive Science and Philosophy at the University of Freiburg


Selected Publications

  • Büchner, Simon (2019) Eye Tracking as a Method for Artistic Research. In: Kallert, Carolin (Ed.) Die Eigenart der Pose - Blick auf eine locker gehaltene Spannung. VDG Verlag.
  • Schwarzkopf, S., Büchner, S.J., Hölscher, C. & Konieczny, L. (2016). Perspective Tracking in the Real World. Gaze Angle Analysis in a Collaborative Wayfinding TaskSpatial Cognition & Computation.
  • Müller-Feldmeth, D., Schwarzkopf, S., Büchner, S.J., Hölscher, C., Kallert, G., von Stülpnagel, R., & Konieczny, L. (2014). Location Dependent Fixation Analysis with Sight Vectors. Locomotion as a Challenge in Mobile Eye Tracking. In: 2nd Intl. Workshop on Eye Tracking for Spatial Research, ET4S
  • Büchner, S.J., Wiener, J. & Hölscher, C. (2012). Methodological Triangulation to Assess Sign Placement. Proceedings of the 2012 Symposium on Eye-Tracking Research & Applications.
  • Wiener, J., Büchner, S.J. & Hölscher, C. (2009). Taxonomy of Human Wayfinding Tasks: A Knowledge-Based Approach. Spatial Cognition & Computation 9 (2), pp 152-165.