Sensory processes, perception, and performance

La Trobe's Department of Psychology and Counselling has a vibrant group of researchers investigating sensory and perceptual processes, particularly with regards to the visual system, which attracts funding for large scale projects from the Australia Research Council (ARC), the National Medical Research Council (NMRC), and other external funding bodies. We specialise in:

  • Attention and vision
  • How vision is used in perception and action
  • How vision is used to process the size of objects
  • How vision is processed within and outside conscious awareness
  • How vision is processed differently by the two hemispheres
  • The neural basis of vision - in particular, how vision is processed by separate neural channels in the brain (e.g. dorsal vs. ventral streams, magnocellular vs parvocellular processing, striatal vs. extra-striatal pathways)

In these investigations, we use an integrative approach by combing several techniques, including visual psychophysics, eye-tracking, electromyography (EEG), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), magnetoencephalography (MEG), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) - yielding a more comprehensive characterisation of vision and its underlying neural architecture.

Our research is equally concerned with applications, investigating how vision:

  • Develops in childhood in typically developing and special populations (e.g. autism spectrum disorder (ASD), dyslexia) for the purposes of improving educational practice
  • Is processed in artificial versus real environments for the purposes of improving virtual and augmented reality
  • Is used to process aversive stimuli (e.g. snakes and spiders) for the purposes of treating specific phobias

Sensory processes, perception, and performance topics currently available for research students include:

Research topicsResearchers
How vision is used for perception, selecting actions for the purposes of tool use, and the on-line control of actions
Illusions (e.g. optical illusions, size-weight illusion, and rubber hand illusion)
Philippe Chouinard 
Visual consciousness in general and in the processing of aversive stimuli Philippe Chouinard 
Robin Laycock 
Visual processing and embodiment in virtual and augmented reality Philippe Chouinard
Richard Skarbez 
Cognitive and behavioural neuroscience in selective visual and cross-modal attention in typically developing individuals and neurodevelopmental disorders (ASD, reading and intellectual disability) and adult neurological conditions Melanie Murphy 
Nina Riddell 
Effects of lateralisation on the perception of emotion, faces, language, and art Annukka Lindell