On this page, you will find information on our speakers talks.

Please see our dedicated pages for a list of our poster presenters and sensory demonstrators, including thier abstracts and contact details.

Academic Talks

Thursday 20th April

Session 1 - Development across the lifespan

Time Speaker Title Abstract
11:00-11:30 Bruno Laeng Blue Noon: The Arctic Spectral Diet I will build upon my own experience of living in the Arctic for 11 years and experiencing extreme changes in light and colours in such a natural environment. I will present an empirical study about the effects of latitude and season-of-birth on colour vision in Norwegians born either above or below the Arctic circle.
11:30-12:00 Anna Franklin Impact of the Environment on Colour Perception This talk will outline the findings so far of project ‘Colourmind’ which is investigating the impact of the chromatic environment on colour perception. I will present the project’s cross-cultural studies which are investigating how different environments vary in their chromatic scene statistics and illumination, and exploring whether these differences are associated with differences in colour perception depending on where people live.
12:00-12:30 Lorenzo Stafford Smelling across the ages: I smell, therefore… My talk will aim to take us on a journey of sensory smell across different timepoints, cultures. We will look at the language of smell and its changing status over time. We will try to understand what it means to lose this sense beyond food appreciation. Finally, we’ll consider the future of this humble, modest sense.

Session 2 - Early life determinants

Time Speaker Title Abstract
14:00-14:30 Sophie Nicklaus Early food-related multisensory experiences: between phantasms and breakthroughs Birth is associated to a changing feeding mode, which quickly evolves within a few months from birth with the introduction of foods other than milk. This creates the perfect conditions for multisensory experiences related to foods (at least in the following domains: taste, flavours, textures, interoception). I will explain what we’ve learned and still don’t know about this. I will open with further questions. How do infants develop ablities to cope with this? How do these experiences shape the child’s future eating behavior? Are they likely to influence the child’s future health status?
14:30-15:00 Kirsty Dunn Early Determinants: In utero development and infant perception Sensitivity to social stimuli in neonates is typically interpreted as support for innate origins of social understanding. Technological advancements have afforded developmental psychologists opportunity to investigate alternative theoretical accounts. This talk will discuss recent findings from an emerging field harnessing postnatal methodologies to investigate prenatal development.
15:00-15:30 Pawan Sinha Investigating visual development with studies of late sight onset My lab has been engaged in an effort with a dual mission, one humanitarian and the other scientific. Named ‘Project Prakash’, after the Sanskrit word for light, this work provides sight surgeries to congenitally blind children in India, and in doing so, has an opportunity to study questions related to visual learning and brain plasticity.

Session 3 - Adaptation: genes and environment

Time Speaker Title Abstract
15:50-16:20 Brett J. Kagan How and why in-vitro neural networks self-organize activity in response to structured stimulation By investigating the fundamental drivers of ‘intelligent’ behaviour as a response to external stimuli in simplified cultures of neurons, a higher degree of control can be exercised than through in vitro studies. We embodied cortical neurons, from either mouse or human, in a virtual environment of a simplified ‘Pong’ game through closed-loop, real-time electrophysiological recordings and stimulation. By structuring feedback in response to neural activity, we were able to observe dynamic reorganization of activity in these simple systems that allowed them to perform significantly better than chance and provides additional interesting implications of underlying processes for how neural systems respond to external stimulation.
16:20-16:50 Kevin Mitchell From percepts to concepts, and back again This talk will explore perception as an act of sense-making, which allows organisms to build up a picture of the world around them and to accumulate conceptual knowledge about objects and their properties. In turn, this knowledge shapes our expectations, feeding back onto the act of perception itself, as illustrated by the phenomenon of synaesthesia.
16:50-17:20 Valerie B Duffy Translating Sensory Nutrition into Promoting Healthy Behaviors This talk provides a brief background on taste and smell related to sensory nutrition. Then will be a presentation of feasible methods of translating sensory nutrition in tailored nutrition education and interventions for children and adults. Next, the talk will cover taste and smell in the national health surveillance to drive public health goals and approaches. Finally, opportunities will be presented to advance sensory nutrition and nutritional science for achieving healthier diets.

Friday 21st April

Session 4 - Multisensory processing

Time Speaker Title Abstract
11:00-11:30 Marianna Obrist A ‘Flavour’ of the Future of Multisensory Interfaces Within this talk I will share my vision for the future of multisensory human-computer interfaces, exemplified through emerging technologies and devices and discuss what role touch, taste, and smell experiences can play in the future.
11:30-12:00 Charles Spence What’s special about multisensory integration in the case of flavour perception? The majority of multisensory research has tended to focus on the higher/spatial senses. In this talk, I want to compare and contrast the spatial with the chemical senses in order to address the question of the ways in which multisensory integration in the case of flavour perception might be special.
12:00-12:30 Barry Smith Chemical Sensing in the Inner and Outer World The chemical senses are gate keepers to the boundary between the outer and the inner but also provide, in the case of smell, some of the scaffolding of our feelings of immersion in the world. Understanding these senses are modulated by our internal milieu and the external environment, and how our experiences are altered when things go wrong, will cast greater light on our everyday perceptual awareness of the world around us and ourselves.

Session 5 - Individual differences

Time Speaker Title Abstract
14:00-14:30 Jenny Bosten Malleability of colour perception in red-green colour vision deficiency Coming soon!
14:30-15:00 Martin Yeomans Taste phenotypes: understanding individual differences in flavour perception and hedonics Individuals differ in their perception and/or liking for the five basic tastes, and for fat as putative sixth taste. This talk summarises the state of play on key individual differences, and whether these reflect fundamental differences in underlying biology or the impact of our changed food environment.
15:00-15:30 Jamie Ward Investigating visual development with studies of late sight onset Coming soon!

Session 6 - Unusual perceptual experiences

Time Speaker Title Abstract
15:50-16:20 Steve Engel Visual Mode Switching When the environment changes, the visual system changes function to aid behavior in the new context, using well-studied “canonical” computations (e.g. normalization, adaptation). For frequently encountered visual environments it may be beneficial for contextual processing to be particularly strong and rapid, instantly adjusting vision to the particulars of that setting, but evidence for such visual mode switching has remained sparse. We recently developed a color adaptation paradigm, where participants adapt repeatedly to wearing bright red glasses over 5 days, to reveal mode switches with strong, reliable effects; on day 1, the reddishness of the world faded slowly, but by day 5 colors in the world appeared almost normal instantly.
16:20-16:50 Anil Seth Perceptual diversity in the Dreamachine and beyond Coming soon!
16:50-17:20 Ren Ng Oz Vision - A New Principle for Color Display This talk will introduce the Oz Vision project, an ongoing project that seeks to build a new type of color display based on eliciting visual percepts at the level of individual photoreceptors, to create perceptions of new colors impossible to see in the real world, to treat color blindness, and to enable a person to perceive higher dimensional color, e.g. 5D with IR and UV over RGB.!