Meet our brain scanning participant Reece Roberts

Reece is the willing guinea pig for our Mind Reading experiment!

Reece is a psychology PhD student in the Centre for Brain Research. He is studying visual cognition, or how we process what we see. In particular, his research interests centre on visual attention, visual short-term memory and the “binding problem”, which is the problem of explaining how the brain binds information about different visual features (colour, shape, orientation etc) into an integrated representation of the world.

He grew up in South Africa and has lived in Auckland for the last 15 years. He completed his high school education at Marcellin College in Royal Oak and then did a BSc in psychology and pharmacology at the University of Auckland.

Reece’s interest in brain imaging stems from an ongoing debate about the relationship between psychological and neural explanations for how humans behave. That is, should we explain intelligent human behaviour in terms of memory, attention, beliefs and desires, or in terms of action potentials, neurons and hippocampi? Or is there some way to bridge these two forms of explanation? He thinks that whatever the answer is to these fascinating questions, neuroimaging is going to play an important role in helping us understand these issues.

Reece will be the brain scanning participant in the Mind Reading event, and will be the guinea pig going into the Siemens fMRI scanner at the Centre for Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging. He can’t wait to see if the neuroscientists involved are able to distinguish between his memories and imaginings based purely on his brain activity!