Perception Laboratory

Welcome to the Perception Lab. Our laboratory investigates questions on human visual perception using a variety of techniques including psychophysics and multi-channel EEG. Our research on ‘social cognition’ investigates the perceptual and cognitive processes that underlie our ability to understand others’ actions and intentions and to communicate our own. We investigate the representation of biological motion, faces, bodies and hand gestures with a view to understanding how these processes might be compromised in disorders such as autism (ASD) that are characterized by anomalous social functioning.

Visit the Perception and Motor Cognition UCD site

Current Research

Spatial perspective taking and Empathy

Certain theories of social development suggest that we come to know and understand other people through a common coding of actions, our own actions and those of other people, and that special neural processes underlie this ability. One test of these theories is to compare performance on spatial perspective taking tasks and tasks which tap into our ability to understand others at a cognitive or emotional level.

If you would like to take part contact the lab RA Maryanne Brassil maryanne.brassil@ucdconnect.ie

Face processing in Dyslexia

Although most often associated with deficits in how we process the sound of words (phonological processing), anomalous orthographic (visual shape) processing is also implicated in dyslexia. Dyslexic readers are less sensitive to orthographic regularity than their peers and may rely more on analytic than holistic processing of words. Additionally, recent research has shown atypical face recognition in dyslexia. This raises the possibility that reading difficulties may reflect more general deficits in visual processing.

We examine whether holistic processing, a marker of perceptual expertise, is impaired in Dyslexic readers.

Contact Dr Sarah Maeve Cooney if you are interested in taking part sarah.cooney@ucd.connect.ie

Pointing production

The direction that we look is a potent social cue that provides a host of information to our social partners. Similarly, since the first year of life we learn to point at objects that interest us and use this directional cue to orient others attention, creating triadic or joint attention, one of the foundational building blocks of social interaction. We are interested in understanding how accurate we are as adults at this crucial skill.

For more information Contact Dr Sarah Cooney sarah.cooney@ucdconnect.ie