Dr. Victor Schinazi

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ETH Zurich

Chair of Cognitive Science

Dr. Victor Schinazi

RZ E 22.1

Clausiusstrasse 59

8092 Zürich


  • phone +41 44 632 53 28 
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Victor Schinazi is a Senior Lecturer (Oberassistent) at the Chair of Cognitive Science in the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Science at ETH Zürich. He is also Co-PI of the Cognition, Perception and Behaviour in Urban Environments project at the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore.  Victor is an urban planner by training and holds a Ph.D. in geography from the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA, UCL) under the supervision of Professors Michael Batty and Gary Rubin (UCL Institute of Ophthalmology). Prior to joining ETH, Victor was a Senior Research Associate at the Department of Geography in the University of Oregon and a Postdoctoral Fellow (with Professor Russell Epstein) at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience in the University of Pennsylvania. During 2011-2012, Victor served as the Chief Science Officer for Strategic Spatial Solutions, Inc. -- a company that developed software solutions for architects and planners. Victor is a native of Canada and Brazil and is fluent in five (almost six – German is hard!) languages.

Research Interests

Victor’s research combines behavioural and neuroimaging techniques in order to investigate how spatial information is encoded and used to guide navigation. He is interested in understanding individual differences in navigation ability and the extent to which locomotion and wayfinding can depend on amodal spatial representations. Recently, his work has incorporated physiological measures (e.g., galvanic skin response, heart rate variability) as mediators of behavior in real and simulated environments. Much of Victor’s research relies on the development of immersive virtual environments that can mimic real-world situations. As such, Victor has worked with computer scientists to develop a new framework (EVE) to facilitate the setup, implementation and evaluation of experiments in virtual reality. This work has resulted in collaborations and projects in the digital humanities, sociology and public health.

Selected publications

Martinez-Davila, R.L., Hodza, P., Kapadia, M. Perrone, S.T., Hölscher, C., & Schinazi, V.R. (in press). Telling Stories: Historical Narratives in Virtual Reality. In Boyle, J. & Burgess, H. (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Digital Medieval Literature.

Kraemer, D. J. M., Schinazi, V. R., Cawkwell, P. B., Tekriwal, A., Epstein, R. A., & Thompson-Schill, S. L. (2016). Verbalizing, Visualizing, and Navigating: The Effect of Strategies on Encoding a Large-Scale Virtual Environment. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory, and Cognition. http://doi.org/10.1037/xlm0000314

Schinazi, V.R., Thrash, T., & Chebat, D.R. (2016). Spatial navigation by congenitally blind individuals. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 7(1), 37-58.

Pingel, T., & Schinazi, V.R. (2014). The Relationship between of scale and strategy in search-based wayfinding. Cartographic Perspectives, 77, 33-45

Thrash, T., Giannopoulos, I., & Schinazi, V.R. (2014). Bidimensional regression: Issues with interpolation. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Weisberg, S. M., Schinazi, V. R., Newcombe, N. S., Shipley, T. F., & Epstein, R. A. (2014). Variations in cognitive maps: Understanding individual differences in navigation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40(3), 669-682.

Schinazi, V.R., Epstein, R.A., Nardi, D., Newcombe, N.S., & Shipley, T.F. (2013). Hippocampal size predicts rapid learning of a cognitive map in humans. Hippocampus, 23 (6), 515-528.

Schinazi, V.R., & Epstein, R.A. (2010). Neural correlates of real-world route learning. NeuroImage, 53, 725-735.

Schinazi, V.R. (2005). Spatial representation & low vision: Two studies on the content accuracy and utility of mental representations. International Congress Series, Elsevier BV, 1282, 1063-1067.

Zacharias, J., & Schinazi, V.R. (2003). The impact of an entertainment retrofit on the performance of a shopping centre. Journal of Shopping Centre Research, 7 (2), 67-79.

Schinazi, V.R. (2001). Two Sides of the Fence: A Comparative Analysis of Parc-Extension and Town of Mont-Royal. In Gauthier, L., Saxton, T., & Cohen, C (Eds.), Stories from Montreal: Ethnographic accounts of Life in North America’s francophone metropolis (pp. 43-60). Montreal, Canada: Trickster Publications.


Submitted manuscripts

Grübel, J., Weibel, R., Jiang, M.H., Hölscher, C., Hackman, D.A., & Schinazi, V.R. (2017). EVE: A Framework for Experiments in Virtual Environments. In Spatial cognition X: International conference proceedings, LNAI (in preparation), Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg.

Schinazi, V.R., & Thrash, T. (submitted). Neural correlates of geographic and spatial thinking. In Montello, D. (Ed.), Handbook of Behavioral and Cognitive Geography.


Conference presentations

Grübel, J., Weibel, R., Hölscher, C., Hackman, D.A., & Schinazi, V.R. (2016). EVE: A Framework for Experiments in Virtual Environments. Spatial Cognition 2016. Philadelphia, PA, August 2016.

Schinazi, V.R., Thrash, T., O’Gorman-Tuura, R., Hölscher, C., & Hasler, G. (2016). Hemisphere-specific variation in caudate and hippocampus volume during response and spatial learning. Spatial Cognition 2016. Philadelphia, PA, August 2016.

Emo, B., Thrash, T., Schinazi, V.R., & Hölscher, C. (2016). Wayfinding in unfamiliar environments: Report of a real-world study using eye-tracking. Spatial Cognition 2016. Philadelphia, PA, August 2016.

Thrash, T., Schinazi, V.R, Barisic, I., Emo., & Hölscher, C. (2014). Stress and restoration during navigation through an urban environment. Digital Landscape Architecture. Zürich, Switzerland 328.

Schinazi, V.R. Neural correlates of human spatial navigation. ETH (GESS) Seminar. Zürich, CH, September 2013.

Schinazi, V.R., Lobben. A., & Pickett, R. (2012). Decoding Urban Street Patterns in the Human Brain. ICSC 2012. Rome, Italy, September 2012.

Lobben, A., Schinazi, V.R., & Pickett, R. (2012). Neural correlates in Numerical and Cartographic Scale and Magnitude. Spatial Cognition 2012. Seen, Bavaria, September 2012.


Introduction to Cognitive Science

Applied Cognitive Science

Cognition in Architecture

Special Topics in Cognitive Neuroscience

Research Colloquium Cognitive Science

Behavioral Studies Colloquium

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