|Funding for:||UK Students, International Students|
|Funding amount:||£17,668 A stipend for 3 years (rising in line with UKRI studentship rates, currently £17,668 p.a.) to cover living costs.|
|Placed On:||7th February 2023|
|Closes:||1st September 2023|
What are the cognitive and neurophysiological effects of looking at nature? What mechanisms are behind these effects?
The human visual system is sensitive to the statistics of natural scenes, and statistics of colour (e.g. Maule & Franklin, 2015; 2020). There is also evidence linking image statistics with visual discomfort and brain activity (e.g. O’Hare et al., 2021), suggesting that pleasant scenes are processed more easily, and therefore consume less energy. Simply viewing images of nature has been associated with cognitive benefits in working memory and attention, compared to viewing urban images (e.g. Berman et al., 2008). However, it is not clear what role visual processing plays in delivering these benefits, or how they might interact with visual discomfort.
This PhD will focus on understanding whether and how the visual properties of natural scenes influence cognitive function. It will be particularly suited to candidates with a strong background in vision, colour science, neuroscience and/or cognition. Potential methods include behavioural tasks and visual psychophysics, eye-tracking, fMRI and EEG. Prior experience or an interest to learn programming (especially MATLAB) will be required.
There is a thriving vision science community at the University of Sussex studying vision and colour perception at all levels from retinal processes in animals (e.g. Professor Tom Baden and Professor Daniel Osorio), human colour perception (Dr. John Maule, Dr. Jenny Bosten and Professor Anna Franklin), to high level cognition and consciousness (e.g. Professor Jamie Ward and Professor Anil Seth).
For queries with respect to the application process: firstname.lastname@example.org
To discuss the details of your research interests further, please contact Dr John Maule.
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