Our work uses state-of-the-art methods including: psychophysics, eye tracking, electrophysiology (EEG), functional and structural brain imaging, computational modeling, Virtual Reality (VR), brain stimulation (e.g. TMS) and neuropsychological studies of patients with acquired cognitive, sensory and motor impairments (e.g. strokes) and neuro-degenerative illnesses (e.g. Parkinson’s disease).
The pain research team investigates brain mechanisms by which the conscious experience of pain (both experimental and clinical) is generated and how brain states influence pain-related behaviour.
Our aim is to identify brain mechanisms and biomarkers that can both predict outcomes from clinical interventions (for example, spinal cord stimulation or cognitive-behavioural treatments) and aid in the development of new treatments. Our strategy is to translate theory and evidence from cognitive neuroscience and pain psychology into the development of new clinical methods for improving the long-term prognosis of patients with chronic pain. We have expertise in the use of human experimental pain models and the application of electrophysiology and neuroimaging to analyse brain structure and pain processing.
We study the neurobiological and psychological foundations of low-level and high-level vision and attention systems in the human brain, using a wide range of techniques (psychophysics, eye tracking, EEG, f/MRI, brain stimulation (e.g., TMS), neuropsychological studies with patients (e.g. Glaucoma, Parkinsons, stroke patients) and other visual deficiencies. The aim it so translate basic vision research into non-invasive behavioural interventions. We also work with machine vision and robotics collaborators on the development of biologically-inspired robotics and machine vision applications.
Multisensorial Research, Virtual Reality & Cortical Plasticity
How does the brain combine inputs from different modalities (vision, hearing and touch) and how is this information used for perception and action?
We study the mechanisms underlying integrative auditory-visual (AV) and visuo-haptic (VH) processes, e.g: is AV integration modulated by spatial, temporal and semantic factors? Do similar mechanisms govern haptic and visual object perception? To measure sensory integration we use explicit (reaction times; performance) and intrinsic measures (e.g. Body posture in VR environments). Our multisensorial research in conjunction with the state-of-the-art VR system at the Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) has direct applications for learning and rehabilitation.
Neurobiology of Language, Speech and Memory
Our goal is to establish how the human brain is able to perceive, understand and remember our complex real-world experiences, with a particular focus on naturalistic language experiences, both spoken and signed language, and its interactions with memory.
Our research makes use of multiple methodologies, including functional and structural MRI (fMRI, DTI), EEG, computational modelling and TMS to provide convergent evidence on the neural basis of language and memory in healthy and patient populations, and to translate these findings from cognitive neuroscience to clinical settings.
We also investigate how language and memory functions break down in individuals with brain damage to obtain unique insights, informative for cognitive neuroscience models of language and memory.
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