About us

Virtual Reality Research Group

Our laboratory investigates the way that the brain represents a 3D scene when an observer moves around. Neuroscientists have very little idea about how this is achieved. The images the brain receives change all the time as we move our head and eyes, yet we perceive a stable environment. What type of representation in the brain corresponds to that stable perception?

We use immersive virtual reality to investigate this question.

Participants in our experiments wear a head mounted display and a computer generates appropriate images as they move their head, so it appears to them as if they are in a stable scene. We can then explore, for example, how much the environment can be altered as the participant explores without them noticing that anything has changed.

Many of our experiments (and others) suggest that the brain does not build anything like a "model of the world in the head". What it could be doing instead is a trickier question. In the search for possible hypotheses to test, we collaborate with colleagues in computer vision, where there are interesting new ideas about alternative types of representation.

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