We use neuroimaging to ask:
- We make sense of visually presented information
- The brain integrates visual features (e.g. lines) into recognisable shapes
- We explore our visual environment
- Our expectation and visual attention changes what we see
- Visual perception affects our behaviour
- Different people see things differently
- Visual perception is impaired in neurological disorders (e.g. stroke and dementia) and psychiatric disorders (e.g. schizophrenia)
- Visual perception is impaired by difficulties in eye movements and attention
- Seeing only part of the environment affects behaviour (e.g. reading speed)
- Visual impairments can be treated
Our goal is to provide:
- An understanding of normal visual perception that will explain how vision is impaired (e.g. visual neglect, visual hallucinations) in neurological and psychiatric disorders and how it could be improved.
We are improving our understanding of the cause of hallucinations and how visual disturbances in patients with Parkinson’s disease predict the onset of dementia.
In the future, we will develop apps that provide more efficient therapies for visual disorders (e.g. hallucinations in patients with schizophrenia) and help us to detect the onset of dementia and Parkinson’s disease as early as possible for the introduction of drugs tolimit cognitive decline.
Our research into the neural mechanisms that support visual processing aims to benefit patients with:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Traumatic brain injury
- People with Parkinson’s disease are worse at object recognition tasks, even when they are unaware that they have problems seeing (Weil et al 2018, Leyland et al 2019)
- The visual cortex in patients with Schizophrenia responds atypically (Anderson et al., 2017)
- People with more severe autism show a reduction in how long neural information is stored in the sensory/visual cortices (Wantanabe et al., 2019)
- Expectations of what we are seeing activates templates of what we expect to see in deep layers of the visual cortex during perceptual processing (Kok et al., 2016; 2017)
- When participants were trained to use neuroimaging signals from the visual cortex to influence their visual perception, changes in grey and white matter volumes were observed in the visual regions of the brain used in the training (Ekanayake et al. 2019)