Projects in Cognitive Neuroscience Supervised by Alexandra List

Professor List will supervise research projects developed from psychological and neuroscience research, with year-long projects focusing on topics related to those described below after choosing a question-appropriate methodology from psychophysics, eye tracking, and/or stereoscopic display (to induce, e.g., depth perception, binocular rivalry). Writing a thorough literature review of primary research on an approved topic is appropriate for those interested in a one-semester commitment.

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 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 stable sensory input can lead to different perceptual interpretations, so-called “multi-stable percepts” (e.g., binocular rivalry, ambiguous motion, Rubin’s face-vase); how short-term experience influences 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).