Projects in Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience Supervised by Alexandra List

Professor List will supervise research projects focusing on perception and attention, developed from psychological and neuroscience research. Year-long empirical projects address questions related to those described below, using appropriate methodology (psychophysics, eye tracking, EEG and/or stereoscopic display to induce, e.g., depth perception, binocular rivalry). EEG is only appropriate for students who have prior EEG research experience. One-semester projects require a thorough literature review and research proposal on an approved topic.

Multi-sensory Interactions

Interactions between modalities (e.g., vision, audition, haptics) can change behavior. For example, spatially- or temporally-coincident signals from different modalities make us better able to respond to those signals, than if they are not coincident. However, many other questions remain when considering how other perceptual features (e.g., size, luminance, pitch, shape, texture) might interact across modalities. Will listening for a discordant note in a song make you better able to spot a misplaced piece in a puzzle? Will looking at a (cylindrical) glass help you manually find your (also-cylindrical) chapstick in your cluttered bag?

Perception, Attention and Awareness

Our experience of perceiving the world around us typically feels effortless. The information processing stages and underlying neural mechanisms that result in such a rich experience are not fully understood. Topics of investigation might address: How do stable sensory inputs lead to different perceptual interpretations, so-called “multi-stable percepts” (e.g., binocular rivalry, ambiguous motion, Rubin’s face-vase)? How do short-term experiences influence what we perceive or focus on (through priming, probabilistic information or adaptation)? What types of information influence our perception or attention without our awareness (i.e., subliminal or unconscious processing)?