Our approach to research
Work in this area is carried out in our various labs, using behavioural experiments (psychophysics, reaction times, eye-tracking, motion tracking, standard decision making paradigms, etc.) as well as mathematical and computational modelling approaches.
What we doPerception, action and decision-making are essential to make sense of and interact with our environment. An everyday task such as crossing a busy road illustrates the kind of questions that we research in this area.
- How do we perceive basic perceptual properties of the environment? For example, how do we estimate the distance and/or speed of an approaching car?
- How do we process and combine information from more than one sensory modality? How do we combine what we see and what we hear to estimate how fast a car is approaching?
- How do our expectations shape what we perceive? If we see an expensive sports car approaching, do we act as if it is moving faster than it really is, due to our expectations?
- Does our ability to assess perceptual properties change when we are moving relative to when we are stationary? If I begin walking towards the front of a stationary car it will get bigger on the retina in the same way it would if I was stationary and the car was driving towards me. Which do I perceive and why?
- How do we respond to signals associated with actions? Are we more likely to cross the road immediately if we see someone else step forward or if we see a green light in the distance?
- How do we decide between competing actions? For example, how do we decide whether to cross the road, and importantly when and where to cross the road?
- How are these processes affected by ageing and by conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and autism?