Thursday, 26 November 2015

Research Seminar: Alex Jones, Middlesex University

Date: Thursday 3rd December
Time: 16:00 - 17:00
Location: Barn 2

Title: Attention to the Sense of Touch - Neural Correlates and Behavioural Evidence

Dr Jones is a lecturer at Middlesex University London. Before joining the Psychology Department in 2013 he worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, Universite Paris Descartes. Prior to Paris he worked as a visiting lecturer and research fellow in London (City University, BPP). Jones has a BSc in Psychology (City University) and MSc in Cognitive Neuropsychology (UCL). He received his PhD from City University London, where he is now also an honorary research fellow.  

Broadly, Dr Jones' research interests include attention, action, and multisensory integration, and using cognitive neuroscience techniques to investigate how the brain and behaviour relate. Focus has been on exploring how we select and attend to information constantly bombarding our senses. In particular how we process and attend to the sense of touch. Of interest has also been to explore how we process sensory information which is a consequence of our own actions (action prediction). His research has appeared in journal such as NeuroImage, Neuropsychologia, European Journal of Neuroscience, Biological Psychology, and Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience.

AbstractThe sense of touch is imperative to cognition, development, and is implicated in how we perceive the world around us and how we interact with others. The skin, enveloping our bodies, is the largest human organ, and through sensory receptors it provides us with a vast amount of information about our immediate environment. Yet, compared to the domains of visual and auditory attention, relatively little research has focused on the somatosensory system and the body sense. We are constantly bombarded with a wealth of tactile information, such as from our clothes or the chair we sit upon, and cannot process all of this information simultaneously. Mechanisms of selective attention help to prioritize, predict and select information relevant to the situation, and to guide our behaviour appropriately. The research presented in this talk explores the question of how we selectively focus our attention to the sense of touch. Specifically, the talk will cover research on how top-down tactile attention (e.g., thinking about your left foot) and bottom-up tactile attention (e.g., a tap on the shoulder) is processed in the brain using electroencephalogram (EEG). 


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