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My research focuses primarily on two different aspects of sensory processing: the mechanisms and influences of selective attention, and the way in which the brain integrates information, including unusual occurrences of integration such as Synaesthesia.

My research explores the way in which selective attention works. I am particularly interested in the way the brain maintains the delicate balance between voluntary deployments of attention towards a goal and the involuntary shifts of attention caused by events in the environment. My attention work focuses in three main domains: the cognitive processes underpinning visual search, in both abstract displays and within more applied displays such as medical images; sustained attention and the challenges involved in maintaining vigilance; and the neural underpinnings of attention. I am exploring these aspects of visual attention using psychophysics and neuroimaging. I am also interested in the way in which the brain changes and adapts to injury or modified input.

My second major stream of research focuses on multisensory integration, including research on synaesthesia, an unusual condition in which stimulation in one sensory modality generates an additional experience. For example, in 'sound-colour' synaesthesia, a sound elicits a colour experience; in 'grapheme-colour' synaesthesia, letters, digits and words each generate particular involuntary colours. Although unusual, synaesthesia is not a disorder; it can provide us with a unique view of the integration that underlies perception. We are currently conducting studies on mirror-touch, grapheme-colour, sound-colour, and olfactory-colour synaesthesia.

As always, I am happy to hear from people who think they might have synaesthesia - check out our Synaesthesia Research page for more information.


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