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Dr Karin Petrini (University of Bath) Multisensory Processing: its development and its effect on emotion perception

A Mood Disorders Centre seminar
Date19 May 2017
Time12:00 to 13:00
PlaceMood Disorders Centre

Mood Disorder Centre Think-Tank seminar series. All welcome.

It has been established that we can achieve more precise behavioural performances and robust percepts (reduced variability) when combining different sensory signals (e.g., better understanding a person by combining the mouth movement with the produced speech). What is still unknown or needs further investigation is how this multisensory mechanism develops and whether can enhance processes like emotion perception. Knowing how multisensory processes develop is essential to develop efficient aids or rehabilitative treatments for individuals with congenital and acquired sensory deficits, while knowing whether multisensory processes enhance emotion perception is important to help individuals with social and emotional disorders.

In my talk I will first review a set of behavioural and neurophysiological studies we conducted to examine how cue combination or multisensory integration develops. I will discuss these developmental findings in the light of predominant developmental theories of multisensory perception and their relevance to interactive technologies. Next I will present behavioural and fMRI studies we have conducted to examine how multisensory integration enhances emotion perception and its subtending brain processes. Finally, I will mention the current direction of my own and collaborators work on autism and visual impairment.

Karin Petrini is a Lecturer in Cognitive and Experimental Psychology at the Department of Psychology of University of Bath and an Honorary Senior Postdoc at the Institute of Ophthalmology of University College London. She undertook her PhD in Perception and Psychophysics at the University of Padua, supervised by Prof. Osvaldo Da Pos and Prof. Alexander Logvinenko. Before taking up her post at Bath in 2014, Karin also worked on two postdoctoral appointments. She moved away from studying vision alone and took a position as a postdoc with Prof. Frank Pollick at the School of Psychology and Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging of University of Glasgow. Here she discovered her passion for multisensory research, which would then become her main line of research. Her second postdoc was in the Child Vision Lab at the Institute of Ophthalmology of University College London, under the supervision of Dr Marko Nardini. Here she had the chance to fulfill her long lasting interest in cognitive development and deepen her understanding of the development of multisensory integration. Karin uses a range of behavioural, physiological and neuroimaging methods, as well as motion capture and virtual reality techniques, to investigate multisensory perception and integration in children and adults. Besides her work on visual, auditory and tactile perception, she is interested in spatial cognition and navigation, emotion perception, cognitive development and expertise, and social interaction. Currently her research focuses primarily on the use of music and interactive technologies (e.g., sensory substitution devices) as sensory rehabilitative tools and aids for populations with sensory and emotional deficits.

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