Marie L Smith

Reader in Cognitive Neuroscience

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Office: Room 516, Department of Psychological Sciences
tel: +44 (0)20 3926 1083

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Areas of research interest

Dr Marie Smith’s research program spans several strands, with a large program of research exploring the development of face processing through childhood which sits alongside an ongoing program of work studying face and facial expression processing in typical adult cohorts.

Recent research funding from the Leverhulme Trust (2013, 2016) and Wellcome (2019) has supported three post-doctoral researchers as the group explores the typical and atypical development of face processing abilities through middle childhood (5yrs – 13yrs of age) and into adulthood. The primary basis of the funding is the application of a range of novel methods and robust approaches to studying the perception and categorization of faces and facial expressions of emotion via advanced behavioural approaches (e.g. information sampling, eye tracking, continuous flash suppression), and both standard and classifier approaches to interpreting the neural response measured via electroencephalography (e.g. ERPs, MVPA).

In collaboration, with Annette Karmiloff-Smith, Emily Farran and Louise Ewing a large ongoing study is working with individuals with Williams and Down syndrome to characterise the strengths and weaknesses in their face processing ability and to explore how their unique profile of skills can inform theories of both typical and atypical face processing routes.

A separate, but overlapping research strand investigates face and facial emotion processing in adulthood, covering topics such as: the possible sources of the normal variation in face processing expertise observed in adults; the role of prediction and expectation in influencing face perception, and the impact of social factors (e.g. attractiveness, status/power) in modulating the response to faces. A recent set of short studies as part of the Live Science program at the London Science Museum provided a rich community sample to supplement standard lab-based data collection in exploring some of these topics.

Marie is also the local network lead for Birkbeck and City University of London to the UK Reproducibility Network and runs a local reproducibility network within the College.