Lecturer in Psychology
+44 (0)20 7078 5140
+44 (0)20 7919 7873
Room 1-22 Ben Pimlott Building,
Department of Psychology
Goldsmiths, University of London,
New Cross, SE146 NW
London, United Kingdom
Focus of research
Cognitive neuroscience. The use of brain stimulation and psychophysics to explore the neurocognitive basis of social perception and synaesthesia. Specific topics of interest include: emotion recognition (from faces and voices), identity perception (faces and voices), trait judgements (e.g. trustworthiness, dominance), self-other discrimination, empathy, mirror-touch synaesthesia, grapheme-colour synaesthesia, transcranial direct current stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Work featured in several media sources, e.g. NewScientist magazine , Scientific American, Reuters, and the BBC. Invited talks given at a number of public events, e.g. Open City Docs Fest and Wellcome Trust Packed Lunch Series. Articles written for Scienitific American (e.g. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=are-two-heads-better-than).
Mechanisms of self-other discrimination in mirror-touch synaesthesia. BIAL Foundation Research Grant (2013-2015). €44,000
Social Perception Across the Lifespan. Economic and Social Research Council Seminar Series Grant (2012-2014). £14,760
TDCS studies of face perception. British Academy Small Grant (2012-2014). £10,000
Mirror-touch: Film & Mirror-touch Synaesthesia. Leverhulme Trust International Network Grant (Network Partner; 2012-2014). £58,789
Brain stimulation studies of vocal identity processing. Royal Society Research Grant (2011-2012). £7,700
Neurocognitive mechanisms of synaesthesia: Implications for the role of cross-modal interactions in perception and cognition. British Academy (2010-2013). £248,331
Simulation Processes in Social Cognition. Economic and Social Research Council (2009-2010). £96,298
My current research fits broadly into two main areas: 1) neurocognitive mechanisms of social perception and 2) synaesthesia.
My research in this area examines the mechanisms that enable us to perceive and understand social signals displayed by others, and how they change as we age. My main work in this area has focused on emotional expression processing (from both faces and voices) and empathy. I am also investigating the mechanisms that contribute to our perception of vocal and facial identity; trait judgments (e.g. trustworthiness); and attractiveness. In order to study these topics I use brain stimulation (e.g. transcranial magnetic stimulation; transcranial direct current stimulation; transcranial alternating current stimulation), brain imaging, and psychophysics.
Synaesthesia is a condition in which one property of a stimulus evokes a secondary experience that is not typically associated with the first. For example, in tone-colour synaesthesia hearing particular tones evokes experiences of colour. My research in this area not only tries to determine the mechanisms that contribute to synaesthetic experiences, but also to use synaesthesia to inform us about the role of multisensory interactions in perception. For example, mirror-touch synaesthesia (where observing touch to another person evokes the experience of touch on the synaesthetes’ own body) has been linked to hyperactivity in the same neural system as when we all observe touch to other people and I have studied mirror-touch synaesthetes to determine what impact facilitated activity within this system has on our social perception abilities.
Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW, UK
Telephone: + 44 (0)20 7919 7171
Goldsmiths has charitable status