Researcher

Dr Damien John Mannion

Field of Research (FoR)

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Biography

ABOUT ME

 

Biography

I am a lecturer and vision science researcher in the School of Psychology.

My primary research interest is in understanding how we perceive the world—what are our visual capacities and how are they realised in the brain.

Education

  • Postdoctoral associate, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA, 2011-2013
  • Postdoctoral fellow, Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, San Francisco, USA, 2010-2011
  • PhD in Psychology,...view more

ABOUT ME

 

Biography

I am a lecturer and vision science researcher in the School of Psychology.

My primary research interest is in understanding how we perceive the world—what are our visual capacities and how are they realised in the brain.

Education

  • Postdoctoral associate, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA, 2011-2013
  • Postdoctoral fellow, Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, San Francisco, USA, 2010-2011
  • PhD in Psychology, University of Sydney, Australia, 2010
  • B Psych (Hons I), University of Newcastle, Australia, 2005

 

RESEARCH

 

Research Goals

  • Discover the processing strategies and pathways in the brain that underlie our visual perception
  • Understand how our brain activity and behaviour relate to regularities in the visual patterns from the natural world
  • Establish the capacities of our performance of everyday visual tasks
  • Provide an account of normal visual and brain functioning from which dysfunction can be assessed and understood

Research in Detail

The overall goal of my research is to understand how the patterns of light are communicated in the brain to allow our perception of the visual environment. To investigate this, we show human observers particular patterns on computer screens and ask them to make judgements about what they see. Often, the observers do this while inside an MRI scanner, which allows us to gather snapshots of the distribution of activity levels within their brain while they're perceiving such patterns.

Some examples of ongoing research questions are:

  • Are the visual processing pathways in the brain specialised for patterns from the upper and lower visual fields?
  • How is the brain able to use patterns of light intensity to determine attributes of surfaces in the world?
  • How does the brain combine information across space to achieve a coherent perception of the environment?

Current Student Projects (PhD and Honours)

  • Lindsay Peterson, PhD (psychology), 2017-
  • Sol Libesman, PhD (psychology), 2016- (jointly supervised with Tom Whitford).

Previous Student Projects (PhD and Honours)

  • Structure-from-motion and lightness perception: understanding the interaction between lightness and high-level motion — Lindsay Peterson, Honours (psychology), 2016.
  • Schizotypy and form perception through pooling: an application of the oblique superiority effect — Jamesha Subachandran, Honours (psychology), 2016.
  • Resolving "what goes with what" in visual motion perception: visual field location and contextual awareness as potential influencing factors — Sarita Herse, Honours (psychology), 2015.
  • Human sensitivity to the positioning of visual patterns from the upper and lower regions of natural environments — Norah Grewal, Honours (psychology), 2014.

Supervision Opportunities/Areas

I welcome students interested in conducting research to contact me regarding supervision. I am open to discussing potential topics, and I encourage students to have a look at my website to get an idea of my past research and/or contact me for further details. As my research is often conceived with reference to ongoing/future neuroimaging studies, students with an interest in this area are particularly encouraged to consider discussing potential research projects.

Advice for prospective students

Research into visual perception is a diverse endeavour, and incorporates insights from fields such as psychology, neuroscience, biology, statistics, and computer science. Prospective students should look forward to reading widely, approaching problems from different perspectives, and having the opportunity to contribute to our understanding of a fundamental aspect of everyday experience.

On a practical level, I encourage prospective students to gain skills and experience in computer and graphics programming—from making a quick 'demo' and tinkering with visual stimuli to writing complex data analysis and modeling routines, such abilities are tremendously useful in vision science research. Just as important, however, is to also develop an understanding and appreciation of the psychology of visual perception and how we use vision in our everyday lives.

 

TEACHING & OUTREACH

 

Courses I teach

PSYC1011: Psychology 1B

PSYC2071: Perception & Cognition

PSYC3221: Vision & Brain

PSYC3361: Research Internship

PSYC4093: Primary Visual Cortex

 

AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS

 

2016: Australian Psychological Society "Outstanding Lecturer of the Year" (School of Psychology, UNSW)

2010-2012: Rachel C. Atkinson postdoctoral fellowship, Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, San Francisco, USA

2011: Tasman-Lovell Medallion for the best Doctor of Philosophy thesis in 2010 in the School of Psychology at the University of Sydney

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Location

Mathews 1014

Contact

0293850372

Publications

by Dr Damien John Mannion