Action & Body
+44 20 7679 1153
Our research investigates cognitive aspects of two sensorimotor processes that underlie all human behaviour. These are the control of voluntary action and the experience we have of our own body. Research on voluntary action focusses on understanding the relation between the brain activity in the frontal and parietal lobes that precedes movements, and the conscious experience of controlling our own movements. A key question is whether conscious intentions are an immediate consequence of preparation for action in the frontal lobes, or a retrospective mental justification to explain actions that we have just made.
Studies of body perception focus on the body as a multimodal object: we perceive our bodies in two distinct ways. Vision gives us information about our body as a volumetric object in external space, while proprioception and touch give us information "from the inside". Our research focusses on how these sources of information are combined to give a coherent bodily self. We use a range of experimental methods including psychophysics, TMS, ERP and brain imaging to investigate these questions.
Post-doctoral Research Fellows
- Mariana Babo-Rebelo
My research focuses on how action performance may interact with navigation and spatial representations, in particular in terms of the reference frame used (allocentric/egocentric). I use behavioural and neuroimaging techniques, such as MEG and fMRI.
- Stephanie Cook
My primary research interests surround the neuroscience of sensory perception and decision making. I recently completed my PhD at University of Liverpool, studying the effects of odours on perception. I now work as a Research Assistant in the Action and Body group studying the representation of pain and the encoding of pain intensity in the brain.
- Harriet Dempsey-Jones
My research looks at how we can enhance our sense of touch through repeated exposure and training, known in the field as ‘tactile perceptual learning’. I am interested in how we can use tactile learning patterns as a tool to reveal insights about the brain.
- Steven di Costa
I am interested in the neural basis of voluntary actions and how these differ from reflexes and semi-automatic movements. I have worked with healthy populations and patients with Parkinson's disease.
- Francesca Fardo
I'm interested in the neural mechanisms mediating the perception of temperature and pain in humans. My research combines experimental approaches with a variety of neuroimaging techniques such as structural and functional MRI, MEG and EEG.
- Gaiqing Kong
I'm interested in causal inference in multisensory perception, credit assignment between self and world. At the Haggard Lab, I use various psychophysical methods to explore how different sensory inputs on one limb affect the movement and tactile perception on the other limb.
- Eugenia Kulakova
I am interested in how counterfactual thinking (e.g. "I could have done otherwise") influences the sense of agency and responsibility.
- Eoin Travers
I'm interested in decision-making and reasoning, and in particular how they unfold over time. At the Haggard Lab, I use EEG and computational modelling to explore the neural processes that underlie voluntary or "free" actions. I'm also interested in the conscious and metacognitive awareness, and in conflict in high-level cognition.
- Irena Arslanova
I’m interested in touch perception. Specifically, I use psychophysical and electrophysiological methods to understand how tactile motion information is extracted by the brain, and how it’s integrated from different body regions to give rise to a coherent representation of spatial direction.
- Davide Bono
I am interested in the process of oral somatosensation. I use various psychophysical and neuroimaging techniques to investigate how a somatosensory input received in the oral cavity is perceived and processed at the cortical level.
- Elisabeth Pares
My research is focused on the conscious experience of intention in voluntary action. I am interested in knowing at what stage motor preparation becomes consciously accessible to the agent and in the role that the corresponding experience of intention plays in action control. I am currently addressing these questions using behavioural tasks and EEG.
Independent Research Fellows
- Lucie Charles
I am currently a postdoctoral fellow of the British Academy, studying the cognitive processes related to metacognition, action awareness and freedom of choice. I study how we monitor our own actions and how it relates to our subjective experience of control over our behaviour. In a first line of research, I work on understanding what people know about their motor actions and what makes them confident in their own movements. In a second line of research, I investigate the neural correlates of volition, exploring the cognitive processes that enable people to make free decisions and evaluate their own freedom of choice.