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Areas of research interest

My main research examines the cognitive and neural mechanisms associated with emotional processing. In particular, I am interested in how people resolve emotional ambiguity, and to what degree contextual and trait factors influence this resolution.

One ongoing project is investigating the time course of ambiguity and the role of contextual factors and anxiety in this resolution. We are examining what happens to the non-selected interpretation of an ambiguous stimulus (i.e. the neutral interpretation of a threat/neutral ambiguous stimulus in anxiety). For example, does the non-selected meaning simply fall back to baseline or is it actively inhibited? How do automatic and strategic factors interact and influence the interpretation of ambiguity?

Another project examines the implicit and explicit components of emotion processing using an evaluative conditioning paradigm to address the question of the possible independence of conscious and non-conscious processes. I am interested in attentional mechanisms in emotion, and am examining voluntary and involuntary eye movements in the presence of emotional stimuli. The factors underlying inattentional blindness is also a current research interest. The question we are asking is why and how do many people fail to notice salient stimuli that are presented in their foveal vision? There is a large minority of people who experience this phenomena, and we are investigating the roles of processing resources and inhibitory mechanisms. I use a range of experimental techniques, including behavioural, physiological and electrophysiological methods.