We see more than we realise

  • How does our brain create our experience by combining the signals that it gets from our eyes, ears and other senses?
  • How do we perceive the world in three dimensions?
  • How do we know where to look in a busy environment, and how do we use what we see to control our actions and interact with other people?
  • Can we fool our senses using virtual reality?

Our internationally recognised members of staff working on these and other questions use a range of techniques to study the psychology of how we see. We use traditional psychophysical techniques to measure the precision and accuracy of vision, and eye-movement recordings to monitor where people look while performing tasks, both under laboratory control and in more natural scenes.

We apply this our knowledge in virtual, augmented and mixed reality to understand how we can create an immersive perceptual experience. We also use computational neuroscience techniques to build neural networks models of how the brain encodes visual information, and link these to evolving technologies in machine learning.

We also work closely with colleagues in related areas of research including risk, judgement and decision making, neuro-cognitive disorders, and action understanding.

Recent papers





A row of lit lightbulbs against a black background.
Impact: Essex research leads to safer lighting

Our research has transformed our understanding of the problems associated with flickering lights. Thanks to this, new industry standards have been developed and lighting design has been improved, impacting people's health and wellbeing across the world.

Read the case study