ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Psychology, UNSW

What does perception have to do with the mind -- and with the motivations and personalities that define us? The answer is, quite a lot.

Despite deeply held intuitions, conscious perception depends on more than where we direct our eyes. Indeed, the amount of information available to our eyes at any given moment vastly exceeds the capacity of our awareness, with the result being that we become aware only of selected fragments of the environment. Such selection – and thus conscious perception itself – is robustly influenced by our expectations, our motivations, and even our emotions.

Given that people navigate the world with different priorities in mind and with different personalities, understanding such mechanisms can provide insight into why different people can witness the same event while perceiving it differently.

Research in my lab focuses broadly on visual cognition, with particular emphasis on relationships between motivation, emotion, and attentional control. My students and I investigate how goal-related priorities and emotional responses to the environment help to determine what we see and remember, as well as the consequences of such interactions for psychological and physical health.

Experience

  • –present
    Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Delaware
  • –present
    ARC Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of New South Wales
  • 2006–2013
    Assistant Professor, University of Delaware
  • 2013–2013
    Associate Professor, University of Delaware
  • 2003–2006
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Yale University
  • 2002–2003
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Vanderbilt University

Education

  • 2002 
    Harvard University, Ph.D. in Psychology
  • 1994 
    Brandeis University, B.A. in Psychology

Grants and Contracts

  • 2014
    Appareo Vision 1000 flight data acquisition system and the Mobile Eye gaze tracking system
    Role:
    Investigator
    Funding Source:
    UNSW MREII
  • 2012
    How emotion shapes perception: Delineating structural, temporal, and representational properties of emotion-induced blindness
    Role:
    Chief investigator
    Funding Source:
    Australian Research Council
  • 2010
    Emotion’s impact on mechanisms of conscious perception
    Role:
    Principal investigator
    Funding Source:
    National Institutes of Health
  • 2009
    Neuro-cognitive self-regulation mechanisms and their relation to childhood and adolescent obesity
    Role:
    Principal investigator
    Funding Source:
    National Institutes of Health
  • 2003
    Attentional guidance by emotional salience
    Role:
    Principal investigator
    Funding Source:
    National Institutes of Health