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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'Dowd, A; Sorgini, F; Newell, F.N., Seeing an image of the hand affects performance on a crossmodal congruency task for sequences of events, Consciousness and Cognition, 2020, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Ho, PK; Newell, FN, Turning Heads: The Effects of Face View and Eye Gaze Direction on the Perceived Attractiveness of Expressive Faces, Perception, 2020, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
O"Dowd, A., Newell, F.N., The rubber hand illusion is influenced by self-recognition, Neuroscience Letters, 720, 2020, p134756 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Belinda Hernández, Annalisa Setti, Rose Anne Kenny, and Fiona N. Newell, Inefficient audio-visual integration is associated with ageing, cognitive status and sex, 2019, Notes: [10.1037/pag0000396], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
O'Dowd, Alan, Cooney, Sarah M., McGovern, David P., Newell, Fiona N., Do synaesthesia and mental imagery tap into similar cross-modal processes?, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 374, (1787), 2019, p20180359 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Hirst, Rebecca J., Setti, Annalisa, Kenny, Rose A., Newell, Fiona N., Age-related sensory decline mediates the Sound-Induced Flash Illusion: Evidence for reliability weighting models of multisensory perception, Scientific Reports, 9, (1), 2019, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Joyce O, Hopkins D, McCollum A, Newell F, Wilson F, Kelly A, Sports concussion and brain health. The need for objective tests of pathological brain indices, Journal of Neurotrauma, 37th Annual National Neurotrauma Symposium, Pittsburgh, USA, June 29- July 3rd , 36, (13), Mary Ann Liebert Inc, 2019, ppAO3-08 , Poster, PUBLISHED  DOI
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

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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.