Department of Psychology

Crossmodal Cognition Lab

We are interested in how we use our brains to perceive the world around us. Our focus is multisensory perception and cognition, and how scientific insights into neural plasticity can aid rehabilitation of clinical conditions.

Why we research this area

Members of the Crossmodal Cognition Lab standing outside the 10 West building

— Members of the Crossmodal Cognition Lab


Our research on multisensory perception is based on the idea that sensory information does not have any inherent meaning. In other words, the brain creates our perceptual experience.

This means it is possible to substitute a lost or absent sense (such as vision in acquired and congenital blindness), by providing the person with a means to gain the same information from the world through another of their senses. This also means that sometimes unpleasant experiences, such as pain or nausea, might arise when normal sensory information is misinterpreted by the brain.

Understanding how the brain can reorganise when a sense is missing or substituted and how sensory misinterpretation occurs could lead to the development of methods to treat or reverse such conditions.

Our research focus

We conduct our research to inform the development of new methods to help people with different forms of impairment in everyday life. We also aim to improve the multisensory experience of virtual reality and virtual environments for everyone.

We are particularly interested in:

  • cognitive neuroscience
  • neuropsychology
  • perception and cognition
  • sensory substitution
  • multisensory integration
  • vision
  • audition
  • haptics
  • sensory impairment
  • technologies for the visually impaired
  • spatial cognition
  • developmental psychology
  • comparative neuroscience
  • animal cognition
  • multisensory mental imagery
  • music psychology
  • pain and body representation
  • visual/computational saliency

Our staff

Current research projects

  • Assistive technologies for the sensory impaired
  • Use of sensory substitution devices during navigation​
  • Role of vision during the development of multisensory integration
  • Development of cue combination
  • Multisensory perception in Virtual Reality
  • Neuropsychological evaluation of the cortical underpinnings of pathological pain
  • The role of neuropsychological changes in the manifestation and treatment of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Effect of long-term music practice on brain multisensory recalibration and reorganisation
  • Effect of short-term and long-term music training on multisensory fine-tuning abilities and its relationship to autistic traits


Dr Michael Proulx