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Professor Fiona Newell

Professor of Experimental Psychology (Psychology)

Professor of Experimental Psychology (Trinity Inst. of Neurosciences (TCIN))

My main research objective is to elucidate the cortical and behavioural processes involved in high-level human perception across the main sensory systems. This interest is motivated by the fact that perception is not a fixed concept since it is significantly modulated by information from other senses and other contextual factors such as past experience, internal predictions, on-going motor behaviour and the working range of the sensory system. Furthermore, Perception is the basis of Cognition, and an understanding of the mechanisms behind how we perceive provides a better route to understanding other high-level human functions. To date, my team and I have begun to shed light on some of the behavioural principles of how the senses interact with one another to form a unified perception of our world. The current challenge is to provide a better understanding of the cortical and genetic mechanisms behind these principles. To this end my team are conducting a series of studies investigating cortical correlates of multisensory perception using neuroimaging (i.e. fMRI and EEG) technology and, in collaboration with colleagues the Smurfit Institute of Genetics at TCD we are investating behavioural and neural correlates of synaesthesia. Lately, I have begun to develop my research towards a better understanding of multisensory processing in the normal, damaged and ageing brain through collaborations with colleagues in the School of Medicine, TCD. Finally, in collaboration with colleagues in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering, we are currently investigating how virtual displays of crowd scenes can be improved by multisensory stimulation.
 CityQuest: a serious game to enhance cognition and improve balance control
 Socialising Agents: endowing virtual agents with multisensory social skills to increase appeal and user engagement
 The development of a novel, low-cost intervention games system designed to improve physical and mental well being in older adults

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Details Date From Date To
Member of IEEE Robotics Jan 2008
Experimental Psychological Society, UK 2000
Psychonomics Society, USA 2000
British Neuroscience Association 1999
European Society for Cognitive Psychology 2002
O'Callaghan G, O'Dowd A, Simões-Franklin C, Stapleton J, Newell FN., Tactile-to-Visual Cross-Modal Transfer of Texture Categorisation Following Training: An fMRI Study., Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 2018, p12 - 24, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
Francesca Sorgini, Luca Massari, Jessica D'Abbraccio, Eduardo Palermo, Arianna Menciassi, Petar Petrovic, Alberto Mazzoni, Maria Chiara Carrozza, Fiona N. Newell, Calogero M. Oddo, Neuromorphic vibrotactile stimulation of fingertips for encoding object stiffness in telepresence sensory substitution and augmentation applications, Sensors, 18, (261), 2018, p1 - 18, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
Roudaia, E., Calabro, FJ., Vaina, LM., Newell, FN., Aging impairs audiovisual facilitation of object motion within self-motion, Multisensory Research, 31, (1), 2018, p251 - 272, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
O'Callaghan, G., O'Dowd, A., Stapleton, J., Merriman,NA., Roudaia, E. & Newell, FN., Changes in Regional Brain Grey-Matter Volume Following Successful Completion of a Sensori-Motor Intervention Targeted at Healthy and Fall-Prone Older Adults, Multisensory Research, 31, (1), 2018, p317 - 344, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Niamh A. Merriman, Jan Ondrej, Alicia Rybicki, Eugenie Roudaia, Carol O'Sullivan and Fiona N. Newell, Crowded environments reduce spatial memory in older but not younger adults, Psychological Research, 82, 2018, p407 - 428, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Merriman, N.A. and Roudaia, E. and Romagnoli, M. and Orvieto, I. and Newell, F.N., Acceptability of a custom-designed game, CityQuest, aimed at improving balance confidence and spatial cognition in fall-prone and healthy older adults, Behaviour and Information Technology, 37, (6), 2018, p538-557 , Notes: [cited By 0], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Ho, P.K. and Woods, A. and Newell, F.N., Temporal shifts in eye gaze and facial expressions independently contribute to the perceived attractiveness of unfamiliar faces, Visual Cognition, 26, (10), 2018, p831-852 , Notes: [cited By 0], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Special Issue of Multisensory Research: Synaesthesia and Crossmodal Perception, 30, 3-5, (2017), 195 - 460p, Newell, FN., Amedi, A., & Mitchell, KJ., [eds.], Journal, PUBLISHED  DOI  Other
Newell, FN., Introduction to the Special Issue on Synaesthesia and Crossmodal Perception, Multisensory Reserch, 30, (3), 2017, p195 - 197, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Bülthoff I, Newell F.N, Crossmodal priming of unfamiliar faces supports early interactions between voices and faces in person perception, Visual Cognition , 2017, p1-19 , Notes: [Export Date: 3 April 2017 Article in Press], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI  URL

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McHugh, J.E. & Newell, F.N. , Mixed emotions: audition can modulate the visual perception of the emotion of a crowd, International Multisensory Research Forum, CCNY, New York, June 2009, Poster, PUBLISHED
McHugh, J.E., McDonnell, R., Chan, J.S. & Newell, F.N., The Multisensory Perception of Emotions in Real and Virtual Humans, British Psychological Society Annual Conference 2008, Dublin, April 2008, Poster, PRESENTED


Award Date
Best Reported Impact, Science Foundation Ireland 13 November, 2017
Fulbright Scholar 2011-12
Fellow, Trinity College Dublin 2005
'Addison Wheeler' Research Fellow in Life Sciences, University of Durham 1995-1999
Multisensory perception; Synaesthesia; Object recognition; Scene recognition; Face perception and facial attractiveness; Perception in visual impaired individuals; Dynamic object recognition; Visual, haptic and auditory perception; Perception of crowds; Perception of emotion; Ageing and multisensory perception.