Speaker: A/Prof Derek Arnold
Topic: Forensic Psychology
In this talk, I will discuss a line of research sparked by an undergraduate who asked a simple question - why do images get suppressed from awareness during binocular rivalry? This sparked investigations resulting in my considered response to this question (because binocular suppression is useful for facilitating the visibility of distant fixated objects over selective obstructions of one eye). This, in turn, led me to adopt methodologies that can reliably suppress information from awareness for protracted periods, which I have used to show that people can be taught to both fear (classical conditioning) and to better manually interact with inputs that they feel they cannot see. This, in turn, led me to investigate whether the extent of subjective blindness associated with the physiological blindspot could be reduced by training - surprisingly it can. This speaks to a controversial literature, regarding the plausibility of using perceptual learning to improve visual functioning in cases of acquired localised blindness, such as that resulting from age-related macular degeneration. In sum, you never know where a question after an undergraduate lecture might lead.
Bio: A/Prof Derek Arnold was awarded his PhD from Macquarie University in 2003, after having taken up an Anglo-Australian postdoctoral Fellowship funded by The Royal Society at UCL. In 2006 he accepted a faculty position at The University of Queensland, initially as an ARC funded Australian Postdoctoral Fellow, then as an Australian Research Fellow, and since 2014 as a Future Fellow. One day, maybe soon, he may grow up and get a real job. His' research is primarily concerned with links between neural processing and conscious perceptual experience, with specific interests in time perception, cross modal perception, and perceptual rivalry.