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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching





My research interests include low and intermediate levels of visual processing, face perception, memory and attention. My current position is Academy reserach fellow and I am  principal investigator in Face Memory research project. I did my PhD thesis and first post-doc project in Visual Science group, second post-doc in Vision Systems Neuroscience group, and third post-doc in the Attention and Memory Networks group.

The topic of my PhD Thesis (2009) was perception of the brightness of achromatic surfaces. The main finding of the thesis was that the brightness judgments are based only on a narrow spatial frequency band, both in plain surfaces and complex images. This result contradicts the prevailing view of multi-channel brightness encoding. In my post-doct projects, I studied the precision of shape representations in the visual working memory, neural representations of brightness and shapes in the visual cortex, and brain networks related to selective attention and multi-tasking.


Since the year 2000, I have been teaching courses on perception and experimental Psychology in the department of Psychology, in the Institute of Behavioural Sciences, and in the Open University. The specific topics of the courses have been: Sensation & Perception, Psychophysics, Perception & Neuropsychology, Experimental methods in Perception and Cognitive Psychology, Building Experiments with Presentation and Matlab. I have also supervised bachelor's and master’s theses in Psychology, and I supervise two doctoral students.

Education/Academic qualification

Cognitive neuroscience, Adjunct professor, University of Helsinki

Psychology, PhD, University of Helsinki


  • 515 Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychophysics
  • functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • Visual Perception
  • Working memory
  • Experimental Psychology

International and National Collaboration Publications and projects within past five years.

Publications 2005 2019

Integration of facial features under memory load

Ölander, K. E., Muukkonen, I. A., Saarela, T. P. & Salmela, V., 29 Jan 2019, In : Scientific Reports. 9, 1, p. 892-902 10 p., 892.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Recall of facial expressions and simple orientations reveals competition for resources at multiple levels of the visual hierarchy

Salmela, V., Ölander, K. E., Muukkonen, I. A. & Bays, P., 22 Mar 2019, In : Journal of Vision. 19, 3, p. 1-13

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Modulation of Brain Activity During Selective Attention to Natural Speech

Leminen, A., Verwoert, M., Moisala, M., Salmela, V. & Alho, K., 28 Sep 2018, p. 14-15. 2 p.

Research output: Conference materialsAbstractResearchpeer-review

Open Access
Open Access

Out of focus – brain attention control deficits in adult ADHD

Salmi, J., Salmela, V., Salo, E., Mikkola, K., Leppämäki, S., Tani, P., Hokkanen, L., Laasonen, M., Numminen, J. & Alho, K., 1 Aug 2018, In : Brain Research . 1692, p. 12-22 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Open Access

Projects 2011 2021

Multisensory Signals and Meanings (SigMe)

Saarinen, J., Aaltonen, O. K., Vainio, M., Järvikivi, J., Laurinen, P., Tiippana, K., Vainio, L., Salmela, V., Kurki, I., Aalto, D., Arnhold, A., Kilpeläinen, M., Korvala, J., Lehtinen, M., Nurminen, L. O., Peromaa, T., Saalasti, S. & Melike, U.

23/02/2011 → …

Project: Research Evaluation 2011


Faculty PhD Thesis Award

Viljami Salmela (Recipient), 10 Jun 2010

Prize: Prizes and awards

Teacher of the year

Viljami Salmela (Recipient), 3 May 2007

Prize: Prizes and awards

Activities 2000 2019

OHBM 2019

Viljami Salmela (Attendee)
9 Jun 201913 Jun 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

A population coding model for simple and complex visual objects in working memory

Viljami Salmela (Speaker)
3 Nov 20187 Nov 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

Cambridge University

Viljami Salmela (Visiting researcher)
1 Jan 201830 Jun 2018

Activity: Visiting an external institution typesAcademic visit to other institution

ECVP 2017 (European Conference on Visual Perception)

Viljami Salmela (Attendee)
27 Aug 20171 Sep 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars