My PhD thesis focused on face perception, specifically how faces are perceived differently from other objects using event-related potentials (ERPs). ERP technique allows for the mapping of combined neuronal activity over time, building a picture of the brain's first responses to presented stimuli with millisecond precision. Our findings indicate that as early as 100 ms after stimulus presentation, neural responses for faces can be distinct from other object categories.
In 2012 I worked at the Salk institute for biological studies in California, with Dr. Ursula Bellugi on classifying the social phenotype of Williams syndrome (WS), a rare genetic condition caused by a micro-deletion of 25-28 genes on chromosome 7q11.23. Among the multitude of health problems the condition presents with, WS individuals exhibit low IQ scores, poor visuo-spatial abilities, and high frequency hearing loss manifesting as a sensitivity to sound. However, they use language relatively fluently and affectively, have an affinity to music, and are intensely fascinated by faces. Above all, they are characterised by their love of social interaction. Please see the Williams syndrome association's website: http://www.williams-syndrome.org/
After a period of time as a research fellow at the University of Stirling, and Lecturer at Staffordshire University, I returned to Stirling as a Lecturer. My main area of focus since returning to work in Stirling has been the impact of alcohol on the developing brain and subsequently cognition.