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Dr David McGonigle 

Position:RCUK Fellow

Telephone:+44(0)29 208 70353
Location:Cardiff School of Biosciences, The Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX

Research Summary

Studying sensory processing means focusing on the rules and mechanisms that the brain uses to make sense of the world. I use the somatosensory system – the sense of touch – as a gateway to uncover some of the fundamental principles that govern neuronal communication in the human brain. I am particularly interested in the dynamic, plastic nature of sensory processing: how our perceptions are critically dependent on the waxing and waning of millisecond to millisecond changes in brain activity.

Using functional neuroimaging (fMRI, MEG and EEG) and behavioural techniques I focus on three main areas:

i) Where, when and how are tactile stimuli processed in the human brain?

ii) The principles underlying short-term changes in perception (adaptation) and longer-term changes (learning).

iii) How alterations in sensory processing contribute to brain conditions, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

I have also recently become interested in using brain stimulation to explore these questions, using a novel technique called trans-Cranial Direct Stimulation (tDCS). Finally, I have an active interest in the methods and reliability of non-invasive neuroimaging.

Teaching Summary

Level 1 Psychology: PS1107 ‘Introduction to cognitive and biological psychology’ FSM

Level 3 Psychology PS3209 ‘Structural and functional neuroimaging’

MSc ‘Neuroimaging Methods and Applications’

Research Division