The European Research Council has awarded seven ERC Consolidator Grants to Utrecht University and University Medical Centre Utrecht. One of those was awarded to Stefan for his topic of 'The mental economy: Testing a dynamic trade-off between internal storage and external sampling'. The ERC Consolidator Grant is worth two million euros. The grant enables Stefan's Attentionlab to conduct research for a duration of five years.
Stefan wants to investigate how much information that is perceived from the external world is actually stored in the brain. "It's actually not very much", he says. "Not all information needs to be stored, because most of it remains directly accessible by looking. You let this information go; you don't store it." Stefan explains that the amount of information that is stored varies from person to person. "Especially when you look at people with memory problems. It is more difficult for them to store information. I plan to find out, using eye-tracking, electroencephalography and virtual reality, how much information they store from the world that they perceive, and how much they do not."