Research in my lab addresses a broad range of questions within human visual and multisensory perception. My research uses human psychophysics and computational modelling to understand how we perceive the world around us. Some current research themes are highlighted below:
We study how humans combine information from vision and touch to estimate object properties such as shape. For example, when we touch a surface, haptic information is combined with visual signals so that we can estimate surface curvature, glossiness and roughness.
Natural scene statistics:
Visual perception relies on knowledge about the structure of environment – to fully understand human vision, and to improve computer vision algorithms, we must understand the environment that we operate within. We have created the Southampton-York Natural Scenes dataset (https://syns.soton.ac.uk ), which characterises 100 natural scenes from 25 diverse indoor and outdoor scene categories such as cafés, offices, woodland, industrial sites and beaches. We are currently using the database to study a range of topics including 3D perception, scene classification and camouflage.
We are interested in learning how humans combine visual and touch cues to understand material properties. We study how our perception of materials is affected by changes in illumination.
Faces, emotion and threat:
Faces can convey important information, such as the presence of threat. We ask: are fearful faces special? Do they attract attention and reach awareness more quickly than other stimuli? Do threatening stimuli evoke physiological responses before we are aware of them?
Our own experimental studies and meta-analyses suggest that threat-sensitive mechanisms do not operate outside of awareness. However, some threat-relevant stimuli are particularly salient due to their low-level properties (e.g. luminance contrast) and this explains their dominance in binocular rivalry and masking paradigms.
We collaborate with clinical researchers to explore emotional face processing in populations with anxiety, and in adolescents with conduct disorder.
Motion, attention, perception and adaptation:
Moving stimuli can capture attention, drive segmentation and produce robust after-effects. We explore interactions between motion and attention using various experimental paradigms, and have conducted a comprehensive meta-analysis and review of attention and motion adaptation.
Centre for Vision and Cognition (CVC)
Professor Wendy Adams
Building 44 Highfield Campus University of Southampton SO17 1BJ
Telephone:(023) 8059 3629
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