After graduating with degrees in psychology from Cambridge and Belfast, I won a NATO post-doctoral research fellowship to study speech perception in the Haskins Laboratories at Yale (1975-77). I worked for the Medical Research Council at the Institute of Hearing Research from 1977-2004. My research includes fundamental studies of the auditory processes that contribute to the ability to attend to one source of sound when many sources are present, and the applied evaluation of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of cochlear implantation. I teach an advanced module that demonstrates the linkages between these areas of interest. I am interested in supervising research that uses psychoacoustical methods combined with neuro-imaging to study 'Spatial Listening' -- the ability of listeners to attend to one source of sound in a mixture of sources in order to determine where it is located, in which direction it is moving, and what information it is conveying.
I joined the faculty of the Department of Psychology on 1st October 2004. Previously, I worked for the Medical Research Council at the Institute of Hearing Research in Nottingham. While I was there, I conducted two types of research: basic research with listeners with normal hearing on the auditory processes that are used to attend to one source of sound, such as one voice or one musical instrument, when many sources are present simultaneously; and applied research with profoundly hearing-impaired people on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of cochlear implantation. Here in York, I am setting up a laboratory in collaboration with Dr Peter Bailey to study ‘Spatial Listening’ in children and adults. Spatial Listening is the ability to attend to one source of sound in a mixture of sources in order to determine where it is located, in which direction it is moving, and what information it is conveying. These abilities are singular achievements of normal hearing. They allow listeners to know where to move to avoid hazards and where to look to see who is talking. They are crucial, therefore, for participation at home, for success at school, and for survival outdoors. Their breakdown is a major cause – possible the major cause – of auditory handicap in young and old age.