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Current Projects

Research Culture in St. Andrews We are conducting research with staff and research students at the University of St. Andrews, to understand how those connected with research view our research culture, what they find helpful and encouraging, and what could improve.  Our aim is to provide an evidence-base that will inform the University to how to develop and maintain a strong, fair, inclusive research culture.

What makes an effective warning signal?  Some animals exhibit brightly coloured patterns, thought to warn away potential predators.  this is called aposematism. In this project we are measuring and mathematically characterising animal warning signals. We use computational models of neural function to understand why certain patterns make warning signals more conspicuous, and more likely to be attended to or remembered. Funded by BBSRC, Leverhulme Trust.

Neural pathways underlying human 3D motion perception  In collaboration with York and Bradford Universities, we are exploring the neural processing pathways that underly the perception of binocular motion in depth.  Funded by BBSRC.

Counter-shading: from photons to form  This project explores counter-shading camouflage, with the aim of testing whether counter-shaded patterns are optimally evolved to alter perceived shape or to match the background. Funded by BBSRC.

The complexity of 3D vision In this project we are studying how binocular vision can be used to perceive depth in complex scenes with many depth discontinuities, and for tasks not well studied, including volume and depth location perception.  Phil Cammack’s PhD is funded by EPSRC Doctoral Training Grant.

Vision and Driving This project uses eye movement measurement to explore when and how drivers attend to hazards during driving. Andy Mackenzie’s  PhD is. funded by EPSRC Doctoral Training Grant.

Linking perception to action in sport  We explore whether elite sportspeople (including cricket players) have, or gain, better visual perception than those less involved in sport. Funded by BBSRC.

Personalizing the fight for sight In this project we aim to develop a research program to deliver visual rehabilitation via low cost computing devices.

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Recent Projects

Colour and luminance gradients in depth and shape perception This work has elucidated some of the basic perceptual processes that underlie how subtle changes in colour and lightness enhance the realism of our perception of a three-dimensional scene. Funded by EPSRC.

Monocular zones in 3-D scenes Julie Harris, Danielle Smith, Manuel Spitschan, Katharina Zeiner (PhD funded by EPSRC Doctoral Training Grant). When we look at the world with two eyes, there are regions, near the edges of object, that only one eye can see. We are exploring how the visual system perceives these regions, what inut they have to our representation of the world, and how depth can be perceived near or in those zones.

Binocular distance perception Julie HarrisVit Drga, Katharina Zeiner (funded by EPSRC). We are exploring how the small differences between the two eyes views of the world are used in the perception of distance in depth.

Binocular motion in depth Julie Harris, Cat GraftonHarold Nefs (funded by EPSRC and University of St. Andrews). In this project, we study what sources of visual information are used in the perception of motion in dpeth, and in related judegements, such as the time to contact with moving objects. We compare different sources of binocular and monocular information and use ideal observer models to test how informtive the different course of information are.

Portion size assessment tools for use with children – further development and validation Julie Harris, Foster, Adamson, Mathers, Marshall, Mathews (funded by Food Standards Agency). Collaborative project with the Human Nutrition Research CentreNewcastle University. the aim is to develop a computerised assessment tool for measurement for children’s food intake.

Interaction of motion and eye movements during 3-D motion Julie HarrisHarold Nefs (funded by University of St Andrews) When the eyes move to follow an object the brain must take account of retinal information and eye movements. we are exploring how it does this when objects move in 3-D.