Multisensory Perception

We live in a multisensory world.  Every day, we are constantly combining information from our different sensory organs to form a coherent experience. Historically, the sensory systems were studied independently with the assumption that they do not communicate with one another.  However, we now know that there are very early sensory interactions in the brain.  Our lab group explores how the brain and human behaviour combines information from the different senses.  We find that multisensory integration is an important indicator from cognitive and physical decline.

 

Investigating the multisensory perception in older adults prone to falling

Falling is a common and invalidating phenomenon in older adults. We explore whether sensory confusion associated with deficits in multisensory perception can contribute to falling. We aim to inform new rehabilitation strategies. We use experimental, neuro-physiological and epidemiological methods.


Older adults and the lived environment

The aim of this project is to define and measure the characteristics of our outdoor lived environment which can support cognitive healthy ageing. Exposure to green, walkability, optimal level of dynamic complexity are some of these characteristics. We use a mixed methods approach, with experimental studies, epidemiological work and qualitative analysis (walking interviews). EEG will also detect the neurophysiological difference between being exposed to complex and stimulating environments or not.


Perceptual Training in Older Adults

There is considerable research investigating how perceptual efficiency can be improved in young adults.  We are investigating how perceptual temporal efficiency can be improved in older adults using multisensory integration.  We find that improved multisensory perception can improve balance performance in older adults and vice versa.  This is an important step as previous research using balance training alone has led to relatively small improvements.  Using EEG, we are exploring the cortical dynamics underlying the improvement. 


Title: Exercise as Brain Training for Older Adults

This project aims to identify the optimal exercise type for improving cognitive functioning and neural efficiency in older adults.

Emerging research evidence indicates some types of physical activity 'exercise' the brain more than others, with cognitively engaging exercise (known as 'open-skill' exercise) associated with greater cognitive benefits compared to exercise with lower cognitive demands ('closed-skill exercise'). 

Using behavioural and EEG measures, the immediate neurocognitive benefits of open-skill vs. closed-skill exercise sessions will be compared. An open-skill exercise intervention will be designed and trialed, with the aim of improving cognition in healthy older adults and ameliorating neurocognitive deficits in older adults post-depression. 


Ameliorating Negative Perceptions of Ageing

Older adults often suffer discrimination from other groups but most interestingly from themselves. Older adults who view ageing negatively can suffer from an internalised discrimination and end up suffering short and long term consequences such as poorer performance on tests of memory and poorer health outcomes. This project aims to clarify how these long and short term consequences happen and ultimately design an intervention to prevent and even undo some of them.