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PhD Studentship: Predictive Processing Across Sensory Modalities

University of East Anglia - PSY

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Norwich
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £17,688 tax-free maintenance grant equivalent to UKRI studentship rates
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 8th December 2022
Closes: 22nd February 2023
Reference: SMITHF_U23PSY

It is often assumed that early sensory brain regions passively register the sensory input present in the world. However Predictive Processing theories assert that a major function of these regions is to use contextual information to create predictions of upcoming input. For instance, when seeing an apple, our tactile, gustatory and auditory cortices will make predictions about what it would feel like to touch, to taste and the associated sound. This project will use behavioural and neuroimaging techniques (fMRI and oscillatory-based EEG) to investigate how cross-sensory context influences processing in early sensory areas, focusing on links between the visual/auditory and tactile modalities (see e.g. Smith & Goodale, 2015, Cerebral Cortex; Bailey … Smith, 2022 Cerebral Cortex). Brain Decoding (MVPA) techniques will be used to depict the content of the representations present in early sensory areas as a function of high- level contextual manipulations (e.g. Smith & Muckli, 2010, PNAS). There is also the possibility of conducting ultra-high field fMRI at 7T and/or deep neural network modelling as part of the project. The results of these studies will have significant implications both for our basic understanding of how the brain processes sensory information and for a range of populations where Predictive Processing is thought to be impaired (e.g. Autism, Psychosis).

A background in psychology or neuroscience is desired (at Masters level). Familiarity with experimental paradigms in cognitive psychology, psychophysics or brain imaging would be an advantage.

This PhD project is in a competition for a Faculty of Social Sciences studentship. The studentship covers tuition fees for Home or International students, a tax-free maintenance grant equivalent to UKRI studentship rates (currently £17,688) and a research training support grant (currently £750 per year).

For further funding information, please visit:

Studentships and Stipends: www.uea.ac.uk/research/research-with-us/postgraduate-research/latest-phds-and-research-studentships/postgraduate-research-fees-and-funding/studentships-and-stipends

Maintenance grant levels: www.uea.ac.uk/research/research-with-us/postgraduate-research/latest-phds-and-research-studentships/postgraduate-research-fees-and-funding/stipends-and-fee-levels.

UEA Studentship terms and conditions: www.uea.ac.uk/documents/20142/130807/pgr-studentship-terms-and-conditions.pdf/b38bb426-cd1f-c4b5-38da-22023aca30e4?t=1590662730627

PRIMARY SUPERVISOR: Dr Fraser Smith

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