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Harriet Dempsey-Jones

Postdoctoral Researcher in Cognitive Neurosciences, The University of Queensland

My research looks at how our brains allow us to perceive the world around us through our senses.

Particularly, I look at the area of the brain that processes sensory inputs from your body (like touch, pain and body position sense). This area is known as the somatosensory cortex.

I look at how this system is moulded and shaped by the our experiences in the world (neuroplasticity).

For example, I look at how the way our bodies move in the world causes repeated patterns of sensory input which, in turn, shapes the map of our body in the brain. I also look at how we can directly improve perception by adding input through training - sensory enhancement.

I also look at how taking away sensory inputs (e.g., by amputation or anaesthetics) can affect the body map? For instance, what happens to the hand area of the brain if the hand is no longer there? Is it still a hand area? Or does it do something different?

I did my PhD at the University of Queensland in Australia, before heading overseas to work at Oxford University and University College London in the UK.


  • 2016–present
    Postdoctoral research associate, University of Oxford
  • 2011–2016
    PhD in Cognitive Neuropsychology, University of Queensland