“How does the brain generate a conscious experience?” The majority of my research is motivated by this general question. There are a million different ways to address this question, but most of my work focuses on ambiguous stimuli and other illusions that involve big perceptual changes or large parts of an image disappearing completely. One striking example is binocular rivalry, a phenomenon that occurs when different stimuli are presented to the left and right eye simultaneously. Despite the fact that the two images are always being presented, people generally report only seeing one of the images at a time because the other image is completely suppressed from awareness.
The second focus of my research aims to address the question of "how does the brain's natural chemicals control complex behaviours, thoughts and perceptions." I am interested in this question both from the perspective of the underlying neurobiological mechanisms and also in respect to the neuroethical issues that arise with drug development.