About

staceyI’m a Post Doc at Durham University. In my research, I aim to understand the computational and neural underpinnings of human learning, perception, and decision-making. Behaviour in low-level, automatic, perceptual decision-making tasks often suggests that the human brain can optimally exploit and integrate sensory information and previous knowledge about the most likely states of the world. However, as soon as tasks become more complex, or involve higher-level processes, suboptimalities emerge. My current work has two main themes. In the first, I aim to teach adults new cues to perception and sensation to understand how to best promote learning of new sensory abilities – such as a blind or partially sighted individual learning to echolocate – and to understand if/when information gained from newly learnt sensory abilities is optimally integrated with more familiar or native abilities. In the second, I aim to understand the limitations of human perception and decision-making, asking when optimal integration of information breaks down, and what features of the information drive suboptimalities. Understanding the underpinnings of learning, perception, and decision-making can inform the design of training protocols to teach new sensory abilities and development of interventions for optimised decision-making.
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I completed my PhD in Anya Hurlbert’s laboratory at Newcastle University on human colour perception. Colour perception is a broad and varied topic. To form a full understanding of how humans see colour we need to understand the physics of light, the physiology and functionality of the human visual system, from the retina to the cortex, and how cognition influences perception. The studies that we conducted probed the limits of human colour perception, asking how and why individual differences in colour naming arise (such as differences in perception of the blue/black and white/gold dress), how prior knowledge of likely illumination colours aids constant colour perception and biases illumination estimates, and how colour perception differs in those with colour vision deficiencies such as dichromats and anomalous trichromats.