Our group conducts basic research into the mechanisms underlying normal adult human perception. We also seek to explore potential applications of our findings - for example, in developing new display technologies and in understanding limitations of vision in disease.
BA (Hons) PhD
Professor of Experimental Psychology
- Tutorial Fellow, Pembroke College
My research focuses on the neural mechanisms that underlie perception.
I am fascinated by how the eye and brain process visual information. My research addresses this question primarily through psychophysical experiments - inferring the perceptual processes that underly particular patterns of human performance on tasks with carefully selected visual stimuli.
I am particularly interested in the perception of colour. How are the signals from the three classes of cone photoreceptors processed to give rise to our perceptions of hue, saturation and brightness? What are the neural circuits of comparison and combination that permit the efficient transmission of colour information from retina to cortex? How does our perception of colour depend on our ability to identify objects and light sources in the visual scene? I am also interested in the way in which our visual systems process rapid sequences of visual events – a sequence of changes in illumination, a sequence of images from successive fixations, or the complex trajectory of a moving object.
Modeling surface color discrimination under different lighting environments using image chromatic statistics and convolutional neural networks.
Ponting S. et al, (2023), J Opt Soc Am A Opt Image Sci Vis, 40, A149 - A159
Modelling surface color discrimination under different lighting environments using image chromatic statistics and convolutional neural networks
Ponting S. et al, (2023), Journal of the Optical Society of America A: Optics, Image Science and Vision
Bright-light distractions and visual performance
Williamson CA. et al, (2023), Frontiers in Psychology, 14
How do (perceptual) distracters distract?
Dumbalska T. et al, (2022), PLoS Comput Biol, 18
Low level visual features support robust material perception in the judgement of metallicity.
Harvey JS. and Smithson HE., (2021), Sci Rep, 11
A major focus of my current research is to develop an adaptive optics enabled ophthalmoscope to capture images of the retina with high fidelity and to present visual stimuli targeted to particular elements of the retinal microstructure. Our aim is to link stimulation, neural activity and perceptual experience to answer such questions as "How do the neural circuits in human retina adapt to maintain sensitivity across the vast range of environmental light levels?"