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Journal Article

A glance back on 50 years of research in perception

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Barrett, M. M., Cullen, B., Maguinness, C., Merriman, N., Roudaia, E., Stapleton, J., et al. (2012). A glance back on 50 years of research in perception. The Irish Journal of Psychology, 33(2-3), 65-71. doi:10.1080/03033910.2012.706794.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0025-9C8C-4
Our understanding of human perception has developed significantly over the last 50 years, informed by research in neurophysiology, behavioural studies, psychophysics and neuroimaging. When the Department of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin was founded 50 years ago, teaching and research in perception was based on each sense in isolation, with a strong focus on vision. Recent research has revealed that perception in one sensory modality can be significantly modified by inputs from the other senses. Moreover, such cross-sensory interactions seem to occur much earlier in information processing than was historically assumed. Here we highlight some of the main studies that best demonstrate how research in multisensory perception has enhanced our understanding of how the human brain processes information from the external world. In particular, we focus on higher-level perceptual tasks such as object, face, and body perception, and the perception of socially meaningful information, such as emotion and attractiveness. We also explore how changes in multisensory processing occur throughout the lifespan. We argue that a multisensory approach provides us with a better insight into the functional properties of the perceptual brain.