I am a Senior Research Fellow at the Melbourne School of Psychological Science, University of Melbourne, Australia. Here, I recently set up the Time in Brain and Behaviour Laboratory (website now up) where I am Principal Investigator.
I am also an Honorary Research Associate of the Department of Experimental Psychology at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, as well as the University of Sydney, Australia.
My primary research interests lie in visual time perception. Using psychophysical, behavioral, and neuroimaging techniques, I try to answer questions such as how time is encoded in the brain, and how the brain keeps track of time. I am especially interested in how the brain solves the computational problems that result from processing different visual features at different locations in the brain – at different speeds.
For example, it takes longer for the brain to process the motion direction of an object than to process its colour. Processing its shape takes even longer. As a result, the brain cannot simply combine the continuously incoming information about an object’s various features. If it did so, then a moving red ball would fall apart into a kind of train, with vague shapeless redness trailed by formless motion, in turn followed by a colourless sphere. The baseball player below left would look like the baseball player below right. Instead, the brain somehow is able to compensate for its own delays, setting straight its own internal timeline to allow us to act in the world with phenomenal temporal accuracy.
The brain corrects for its own processing delays. If it did not do so, the baseball player on the left would look like the baseball player on the right, with his shape, motion, and colour appearing in different locations due to their different processing speeds.
In my research, I use various methods to understand how exactly the brain achieves this. For example, I use EEG, eye tracking and a range of behavioural methods to answer questions such as: How does the brain re-align features in time that have been processed with different delays? And how does it give us the illusion that we perceive the present, even though the brain’s own processing delays mean we are always living in the past?