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Prof. Charles Spence

Multisensory food perception
Multisensory food perception

We study the integration of information across the various different sensory modalities (hearing, vision, touch, taste, and smell) using a variety of paradigms and techniques. This exciting area of research is changing the way we view our senses, and contributing important new insights to the understanding of the brain. These insights can have major implications in the real world.

Traditionally, the five classic senses of vision, hearing, touch, smell, and taste have been studied in isolation by psychological and neuroscientific researchers. However, in the last few years, numerous examples of crossmodal interactions have been documented. This research has emphatically shown that even early sensory processing within a single sense is modulated by information in, and attention towards, the other senses.

We are particularly interested in questions relating to the role of attention in multisensory perception. Much of our work involves the investigation of multisensory illusions such as the 'rubber hand illusion' and ‘parchment-skin’ illusion. We are also interested in investigating how our understanding of multisensory perception can be used in a consumer psychology setting to improve the perception of everyday objects (i.e., foods and drinks). Additionally, we conduct research in other applied settings, such as studying the attentional limitations on our ability to talk on a mobile phone while attempting to drive a car. Finally, one area of growing interest in our laboratory concerns the temporal processing of information, and the synchronization of sensory signals.

Our team

Selected publications

Related research themes