Anina Rich


Anina Rich

2005 NHMRC Menzies Fellow

Scholarship biography (at time of award)

Dr Anina Rich was awarded the NHMRC/RG Menzies Fellowship to study “Visual search of naturalistic heterogeneous displays: The role of categorisation”. Her research explores how the brain balances shifts in attention and how those shifts impact our sensory processing.

Dr Rich will use the Fellowship to study in the Visual Attention Laboratory at the Brigham & Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, USA and at Macquarie University.

Studied at: Macquarie University; Harvard Medical School; Brigham & Women's Hospital

Current Biography

My research focuses primarily on two different aspects of sensory processing: the mechanisms and influences of selective attention, and the way in which the brain integrates information, including unusual occurrences of integration such as Synaesthesia.

I did my PhD at the University of Melbourne under the supervision of Prof. Jason Mattingley. I was then awarded a CJ Martin (NHMRC) / RG Menzies (Menzies Foundation) Postdoctoral Fellowship to work at the Visual Attention Laboratory, Brigham & Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, USA, working with Professor Jeremy Wolfe and Dr Todd Horowitz on mechanisms of visual attention.

My research explores the way in which the brain maintains the delicate balance between voluntary deployments of attention towards a goal, and the involuntary shifts of attention caused by salient events in the environment. I am also interested in how we deploy attention in complex visual environments, and the role of attention in integrating different visual features or attributes (the 'binding problem'). I am exploring these aspects of visual attention using psychophysics and neuroimaging. I am also interested in the way in which the brain changes and adapts to injury or modified input.

My second stream of research focuses on synaesthesia, an unusual condition in which stimulation in one sensory modality generates an additional experience. For example, in 'sound-colour' synaesthesia, a sound elicits a colour experience; in 'grapheme-colour' synaesthesia, letters, digits and words each generate particular involuntary colours. Although unusual, synaesthesia is not a disorder; it can provide us with a unique view of the integration that underlies perception. We are currently conducting studies on grapheme-colour, sound-colour, and olfactory-colour synaesthesia.

Scholarship Year: 2005

Fields of Interest

Medicine, Psychology, Neurology