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Professor Fiona Newell

Professor (Psychology)

Professor (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.
 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
 TRIL: Technology Research for Independent Living
 Cross-Border Research and Development Funding Programme

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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
Stapleton, J., Setti, A., Doheny, E. P., Kenny, R. A., & Newell, F. N. , A standing posture is associated with increased susceptibility to the sound-induced flash illusion in fall-prone older adults. , Experimental brain research, 232, (3), 2014, p423 - 434, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Synaesthesia, meaning, and multi-lingual speakers in, editor(s)Julia Simner and Edward Hubbard , Oxford Handbook of Synaesthesia, Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press, 2013, pp181 - 204, [Newell, F.N.], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Roudaia E., Gallego J., Nolan H., Fearon C., Newell F., Reilly RB, Sensorimotor synchronization to auditory and visual cues in ageing and Parkinson's disease, EU Cost Action TIMELY, February, 2013, Conference Paper, PUBLISHED  URL
Kiiski, H., Hoyet, L., Cullen, B., O'Sullivan, C., Newell, F.N, Perception and prediction of social intentions from human body motion, Proceedings - SAP 2013: ACM Symposium on Applied Perception, ACM Symposium on Applied Perception, Dublin; Ireland, 22-23 August, 2013, pp134-, Notes: [ ], Conference Paper, PUBLISHED
Roudaia, E., Hoyet, L., McGovern, D., O'Sullivan, C., Newell, F.N. , Effects of ageing and sound on perceived timing of human interactions, Proceedings - SAP 2013: ACM Symposium on Applied Perception, SAP 2013: ACM Symposium on Applied Perception, 2013, pp123 , Conference Paper, PUBLISHED  DOI
Pasqualotto A, Finucane CM, Newell FN, Ambient visual information confers a context-specific, long-term benefit on memory for haptic scenes., Cognition, 128, (3), 2013, p363-379 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Barrett, M.M., Doheny, E.P., Setti, A., Maguinness, C., Foran, T.G., Kenny, R.A. & Newell, F.N., Reduced vision selectively impairs spatial updating in fall prone older adults, Multisensory Research, 1, (1), 2013, p69 - 94, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Setti A, Burke KE, Kenny R, Newell FN. , Susceptibility to a multisensory speech illusion in older persons is driven by perceptual processes., Frontiers in Psychology: Language Sciences. , 4, (575), 2013, Notes: [PMC3760087], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  Other
Chan, JS & Newell, FN, The effect of non-informative spatial sounds on haptic scene recognition, International Journal of Autonomous and Adaptive Communications Systems, 6, (4), 2013, p342 - 365, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text
O'Hanlon, E., Newell, FN., Mitchell, K. , Combined structural and functional imaging reveals cortical deactivations in grapheme-colour synaesthesia. , Frontiers in Cognitive Science, 4, (755), 2013, pPMC3812565 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text

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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
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


Award Date
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.