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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
Cooney S.M., Holmes C.A., Newell F.N., Children's spatial"numerical associations on horizontal, vertical, and sagittal axes, Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 209, 2021, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Nuala Brady, Kate Darmody, Fiona Newell, Sarah Maeve Cooney, Holistic processing of words and faces in dyslexia, PLoS One, 16, (12), 2021, pe0259986 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Hirst, R.J. and Cassarino, M. and Kenny, R.A. and Newell, F.N. and Setti, A., Urban and rural environments differentially shape multisensory perception in ageing, Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 2021, Notes: [cited By 0], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
Hirst, R.J. and Whelan, R. and Boyle, R. and Setti, A. and Knight, S. and O'Connor, J. and Williamson, W. and McMorrow, J. and Fagan, A.J. and Meaney, J.F. and Kenny, R.A. and De Looze, C. and Newell, F.N., Gray matter volume in the right angular gyrus is associated with differential patterns of multisensory integration with aging, Neurobiology of Aging, 100, 2021, p83-90 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
O'Dowd, A. and Cooney, S.M. and Sorgini, F. and O' Rourke, E. and Reilly, R.B. and Newell, F.N. and Hirst, R.J., The development of visuotactile congruency effects for sequences of events, Journal of experimental child psychology, 207, 2021, p105094 , Notes: [cited By 0], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Stoycheva, P.L. and KauramÀki, J. and Newell, F.N. and Tiippana, K., Laterality effects in the haptic discrimination of verbal and non-verbal shapes, Laterality, 25, (6), 2020, p654-674 , Notes: [cited By 0], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Ho, P.K. and Newell, F.N., Changes in perceptual category affects serial dependence in judgements of attractiveness, Visual Cognition, 28, (10), 2020, p557-580 , Notes: [cited By 0], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Hirst, R.J. and McGovern, D.P. and Setti, A. and Shams, L. and Newell, F.N., What you see is what you hear: Twenty years of research using the Sound-Induced Flash Illusion, Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 118, 2020, p759-774 , Notes: [cited By 8], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
Hirst RJ, Setti A, De Looze C, Akuffo KO, Peto T, Kenny RA, Newell FN., The effect of eye disease, cataract surgery and hearing aid use on multisensory integration in ageing., Cortex; a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior, 133, 2020, p161-176 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
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

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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.