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  • Neural activation in speech production and reading aloud in native and non-native languages.

    9 January 2018

    We used fMRI to investigate neural activation in reading aloud in bilinguals differing in age of acquisition. Three groups were compared: French-English bilinguals who acquired two languages from birth (simultaneous), French-English bilinguals who learned their L2 after the age of 5 years (sequential), and English-speaking monolinguals. While the bilingual groups contrasted in age of acquisition, they were matched for language proficiency, although sequential bilinguals produced speech with a less native-like accent in their L2 than in their L1. Simultaneous bilinguals activated similar brain regions to an equivalent degree when reading in their two languages. In contrast, sequential bilinguals more strongly activated areas related to speech-motor control and orthographic to phonological mapping, the left inferior frontal gyrus, left premotor cortex, and left fusiform gyrus, when reading aloud in L2 compared to L1. In addition, the activity in these regions showed a significant positive correlation with age of acquisition. The results provide evidence for the engagement of overlapping neural substrates for processing two languages when acquired in native context from birth. However, it appears that the maturation of certain brain regions for both speech production and phonological encoding is limited by a sensitive period for L2 acquisition regardless of language proficiency.

  • Touch, taste, & smell user interfaces: The future of multisensory HCI

    23 March 2018

    © 2016 Authors. The senses we call upon when interacting with technology are very restricted. We mostly rely on vision and audition, increasingly harnessing touch, whilst taste and smell remain largely underexploited. In spite of our current knowledge about sensory systems and sensory devices, the biggest stumbling block for progress concerns the need for a deeper understanding of people's multisensory experiences in HCI. It is essential to determine what tactile, gustatory, and olfactory experiences we can design for, and how we can meaningfully stimulate such experiences when interacting with technology. Importantly, we need to determine the contribution of the different senses along with their interactions in order to design more effective and engaging digital multisensory experiences. Finally, it is vital to understand what the limitations are that come into play when users need to monitor more than one sense at a time. The aim of this workshop is to deepen and expand the discussion on touch, taste, and smell within the CHI community and promote the relevance of multisensory experience design and research in HCI.

  • Revealing hidden states in visual working memory using electroencephalography.

    28 January 2018

    It is often assumed that information in visual working memory (vWM) is maintained via persistent activity. However, recent evidence indicates that information in vWM could be maintained in an effectively "activity-silent" neural state. Silent vWM is consistent with recent cognitive and neural models, but poses an important experimental problem: how can we study these silent states using conventional measures of brain activity? We propose a novel approach that is analogous to echolocation: using a high-contrast visual stimulus, it may be possible to drive brain activity during vWM maintenance and measure the vWM-dependent impulse response. We recorded electroencephalography (EEG) while participants performed a vWM task in which a randomly oriented grating was remembered. Crucially, a high-contrast, task-irrelevant stimulus was shown in the maintenance period in half of the trials. The electrophysiological response from posterior channels was used to decode the orientations of the gratings. While orientations could be decoded during and shortly after stimulus presentation, decoding accuracy dropped back close to baseline in the delay. However, the visual evoked response from the task-irrelevant stimulus resulted in a clear re-emergence in decodability. This result provides important proof-of-concept for a promising and relatively simple approach to decode "activity-silent" vWM content using non-invasive EEG.

  • Reliability and validity of the Leuven Perceptual Organization Screening Test (L-POST)

    23 March 2018

    © 2014 The British Psychological Society. Neuropsychological tests of visual perception mostly assess high-level processes like object recognition. Object recognition, however, relies on distinct mid-level processes of perceptual organization that are only implicitly tested in classical tests. Furthermore, the psychometric properties of the existing instruments are limited. To fill this gap, the Leuven perceptual organization screening test (L-POST) was developed, in which a wide range of mid-level phenomena are measured in 15 subtests. In this study, we evaluated reliability and validity of the L-POST. Performance on the test is evaluated relative to a norm sample of more than 1,500 healthy control participants. Cronbach's alpha of the norm sample and test-retest correlations for 20 patients provide evidence for adequate reliability of L-POST performance. The convergent and discriminant validity of the test was assessed in 40 brain-damaged patients, whose performance on the L-POST was compared with standard clinical tests of visual perception and other measures of cognitive function. The L-POST showed high sensitivity to visual dysfunction and decreased performance was specific to visual problems. In conclusion, the L-POST is a reliable and valid screening test for perceptual organization. It offers a useful online tool for researchers and clinicians to get a broader overview of the mid-level processes that are preserved or disrupted in a given patient.

  • Centre for Reading & Language @ Oxford (Professor Maggie Snowling)

    22 August 2014

    Our research aims to understand the causes of children’s learning difficulties and to develop interventions to ameliorate them. A primary focus is dyslexia and the impact of oral language difficulties on educational attainments.

  • Emotion and Social Relations Research Group (Dr. Brian Parkinson)

    14 June 2013

    The Emotion and Social Relation Research Group is led by Dr Brian Parkinson. The group consists of postgraduate students, visiting students and researchers who all have at least one topic in common: EMOTION. Our research group investigates emotions in relational contexts (including both interpersonal and group settings), as processes that are co-ordinated with other people’s emotions and behaviour.

  • Oxford Centre for the Study of Intergroup Conflict (Prof. Miles Hewstone)

    18 June 2013

    The Oxford Centre for the Study of Intergroup Conflict is based in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. Our research focuses on the social-psychological study of intergroup conflict, with a particular focus on intergroup contact. Below are some of the questions we are interested in. Our research covers many parts of the world, and we use experimental, cross sectional and longitudinal data.

  • Walton Laboratory

    13 September 2013

    We are interested in the way in which different aspects of value are learned, represented and used to guide choice behaviour within frontal-temporal-striatal-dopaminergic circuits.

  • Consciousness & Cognition Lab (Dr. Paul Azzopardi)

    12 September 2013

    Our research focuses on the neural basis of perception and conscious awareness, including the visual perception of motion, models of perceptual decisions, and disorders of perception and conscious awareness arising from brain damage such as found in patients with blindsight and visual neglect.

  • Attention Group (Dr. Mark Stokes)

    12 September 2013

    Exploring the brain mechanisms that help us to focus on the most important information, whilst ignoring distractions.

  • Cognitive Neuropsychology Centre

    18 June 2013

    The Cognitive Neuropsychology Centre was set up by the late Prof Humphreys as a flagship centre for Cognitive Neuropsychology Research and is part of the NIHR Oxford Cognitive Health Clinical Research Facility. The centre is now led by Prof Masud Husain, and houses both fundamental and translational research in neurological populations.

  • Humphreys & Riddoch Laboratory

    14 June 2013

    Research in the Humphreys/Riddoch lab spans both basic and translational cognitive neuropsychology and neuroscience. The lab has facilities for neuropsychological studies, brain stimulation (e.g., trans-cranial magnetic stimulation, trans-cranial direct current stimulation), and measuring upper limb and eye movements. In addition to their basic laboratory work, researchers in the group support the clinical screening of stroke patients across the Oxford region as well as experimental medicine studies into novel rehabilitation techniques.

  • Risk and Safety Research Group (Prof. Charles Vincent)

    10 March 2016

    Managing risk and improving safety in healthcare and other industries.

  • Brain and Behaviour Research Group (Prof. Mark J. Buckley)

    13 September 2013

    We use complementary neuropsychological and neurophysiological approaches to understand how brain regions causally interact and how these interactions mediate behaviour, particularly with regard to choice behaviour, learning and memory, and perception. This is important both for understanding how normal interactions between brain regions mediate normal behaviour, as well as for understanding how disturbed interactions in the dysfunctional brain might relate to behavioural changes accompanying neural disorders and disease.