Linking it Together: From the temporal dynamics of multisensory integration to conscious perception and creative thinking

Speaker: Sharon Zmigrod-Shafir
Date: Thursday 29 October 2015 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Venue: Senate House, Senate House, WC1E 7HU
See all events at: Senate House

Room 246

Experiencing the world in a manner that effectively integrates and intertwines the multiple streams of information coming from different sensory modalities is one of the most fundamental aspects of the human perceptual experience. A critical property of the coherent conscious perception of a multisensory stimulus as a unified object or event is that the sensory inputs are perceived to be synchronous in time and space. This synchrony is perceived in spite of the spatial and temporal gap that exists in the physical environment as well as between the cortical regions in the brain where the sensory inputs are processed.

In this talk, I will present recent empirical evidence from experimental and neurostimulation studies on the “binding problem” – the manner in which the brain binds sensory inputs in order to create a coherent perception and facilitate adaptive action. Moreover, I will discuss my work on the relationship between individual differences in multisensory perception and in creative thinking, which is suggesting that the temporal precision of how our senses integrate information is related to our capacity to solve problems and think outside of the box.

Originally with a background in computer science, Sharon Zmigrod completed her PhD in Cognitive Psychology at Leiden University in 2010 under supervision of Professor Bernhard Hommel. Since then, she has worked at the Leiden Institute of Brain and Cognition, conducting research using experimental paradigms and brain stimulation. Her work has focused on multisensory integration with relation to broader questions about consciousness and creative thinking.