Research in my laboratory concerns how sensory and motor systems work together, and how neural representations play a combined role in sensorimotor and cognitive processing (embodied cognition).
Most of our work concerns the interactions between vision and hearing. We frequently perceive visual and auditory stimuli as being bound together if they seem likely to have arisen from a common source. That's why we tend not to notice that the speakers on TV sets or in movie theatres are located beside, and not behind, the screen. Research in my laboratory is devoted to investigating the question of how the brain coordinates the information arising from the ears and eyes. Our findings challenge the historical view of the brain's sensory processing as being automatic, autonomous, and immune from outside influence. We have recently established that neurons in the auditory pathway (inferior colliculus, auditory cortex) alter their responses to sound depending on where the eyes are pointing. This finding suggests that the different sensory pathways meddle in one another's supposedly private affairs, making their respective influences felt even at very early stages of processing. The process of bringing the signals from two different sensory pathways into a common frame of reference begins at a surprisingly early point along the primary sensory pathways.
Education and Training
- University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, M.S. 1989
- University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D. 1993
Associated Faculty Labs
Selected Grants and Awards
- Department of Neurobiology
- Department of Psychology and Neuroscience