The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development

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1 The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development

2 At the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, we study the scientific bases of human communication. The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development is a research institute within Western Sydney University. We are an interdisciplinary research institute that investigates the science of human communication through the study of psychology, neuroscience, information technology, engineering and biomedical engineering, linguistics, speech science, music science, and communication arts. The MARCS Institute provides rigorous research training in human communication science to undergraduate and graduate students and a rich mentoring environment for established, emerging and visiting researchers. Our mission To conduct excellent human communication research, within and between interdisciplinary research programs. Our location The Institute is located on the Bankstown campus of Western Sydney University with research labs on the Bankstown, Campbelltown and Kingswood campuses. MARCS encourages visits from national and international researchers and national and international applications for PhD. INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH PROGRAMS BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING AND NEUROSCIENCE Professor André van Schaik This research program combines expertise in Electrical Engineering and Medicine to create new medical devices and engineering solutions, and to study neural computation. We are currently developing several electronic devices for medical purposes. Some of these devices measure intrinsic body properties such as blood flow and respiration. Other devices actively interact with the user, with the aim of improving human functions such as balance and sensory perception. Our neuroscience research concentrates on understanding computation in the brain and on applying this understanding in electronic systems. We study artificial neural networks that are only loosely based on real brains as computational methods. We also conduct neurophysiological and psychophysical investigations combined with computational and electronic modelling to reverse engineer the brain. HUMAN-MACHINE INTERACTION Professor Simeon Simoff The Human-Machine Interaction research program investigates humans interacting with traditional computers, as well as robotic and virtual agents. We look at psychological and technological aspects of the interaction between humans and computerised systems, including visual analytics systems; investigate trust in robots and virtual characters; and identify elements that make interactions more efficient, useful and reliable. We are interested in creating robotic and virtual agents that possess advanced intelligence and are capable of complex and multimodal interaction with humans and other machines, and developing intelligent visualisation systems for data science and analytics. MULTISENSORY COMMUNICATION Professor Chris Davis The Multisensory Communication research program investigates how information from our different senses contributes to communication. We study how information from the senses is combined, represented and acted upon, and such things as how seeing a talker helps make speech perception more robust. Examining the processes at signal, brain and behavioural levels, we study the way speech and gestures are related; how emotion is conveyed by face, voice and gesture; and how information processing changes across the lifespan. Cover Image: Professor Jonathan Tapson, Director MARCS Institute.

3 The Human-Machine Interaction program uses a series of robotic machines to explore how humans interact with machines, primarily do we trust robots? Babylab leader Dr Marina Kalashnikova uses non-invasive EEG technology to measure electrical activity in the brains of babies. Ultrasound technology is one method employed by researchers from our Speech and Language program to track changes in tongue shape during speech. Researcher Lauren Hadley conducts an experiment investigating motor simulation in turn-taking behaviour using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. MUSIC COGNITION AND ACTION Professor Peter Keller The Music Cognition and Action research program investigates human interaction and communication through music, dance, and gesture. Movement coordination, brain activation, and subjective experience associated with performing and perceiving music and dance are studied to understand psychological processes and neurophysiological mechanisms that support human creativity, affect and emotion, learning and memory, and social behaviour. We explore research questions such as; How do processes of synchronisation, attention and imagery contribute to high precision performance in musical and dance ensembles. Research themes include Improvisation and creativity, Perception and production of rhythm and Clinical applications of music. SPEECH AND LANGUAGE Professor Denis Burnham In the Speech and Language program we conduct research with infants, children, and adults to understand how language is learned, processed, and used. Research focus areas include: speech perception in first and second languages; speech production (including speech to infants and other audiences); articulatory phonetics in a range of languages; language documentation, including endangered languages, and corpus-based research into language use; and the relationship between speech perception and skill such as word learning and reading. Our findings can be used to inform teaching methods and clinical interventions. MARCS BABYLAB BabyLab Leader: Dr Marina Kalashnikova The MARCS BabyLab is a world-leading infant research facility. It hosts numerous research projects that focus on language development, early speech perception, and precursors of reading skills. LAB FACILITIES The MARCS Institute has 11 laboratories housed in an area of over 2000m 2. Specialist equipment includes: 256 channel EEG/ERP, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation system, high performance computing cluster, Optotrak and Vicon motion tracking systems, eye-tracking apparatus, psychophysiological recording hardware and software, performance studio with high end musical keyboards and audio recording facilities, fully-equipped neuroscience facilities and bioelectronics and neuromorphic labs. Researchers in the MARCS Institute collaborate with leading laboratories around the world and more than 20 industry partners.

4 Communication through language, gesture, across the lifespan, between humans, between humans and machines, within and across cultures; from neural networks to behaviour. Professor Kate Stevens

5 Researcher Sarah Fenwick demonstrates how Optotrak is used to record facial movement during speech production.

6 FURTHER INFORMATION Phone: Fax: Web: westernsydney.edu.au/marcs Facebook: facebook.com/westsydumarcsinstitute CONTACT INFORMATION Media and Communications Officer Farah Abdurahman Phone: Mobile: Western Sydney University Locked Bag 1797 Penrith NSW 2751 Australia WESTERNSYDNEY.EDU.AU

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