After completing an M.S. in Psychology at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, I first worked briefly, though with great satisfaction, in psychiatric health care in a hospital in Amsterdam. I then relocated to Hong Kong to pursue a Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Hong Kong under the mentorship of Rich Masters and John van der Kamp, while also taking coursework at the Philosophy department.
My graduate research focused on the functional role of the ventral and dorsal streams of the primate brain, using behavioral research methods such as visual masking and 3D motion capture. My findings suggested a primary division of the two streams in terms of their informational input (i.e., allocentric and egocentric information, respectively), contrasting with the influential two-visual systems model which proposes a strict division in functional output (i.e., perception and action, respectively). I subsequently developed the view that each system is in fact capable of supporting a range of tasks across behavioral and cognitive domains, as long as the task can be performed on the basis of the information the system detects. That is, I proposed that there are many-to-many structure-function relationships between the ventral and dorsal systems and perception and action.
I earned my Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology in November 2013. For my dissertation I was awarded the Li Ka Shing Prize, which goes annually to the top four dissertations produced across all departments, institutes and schools of the University of Hong Kong.
In September 2013 I started a postdoctoral fellowship in Translational Neuroscience and Neurorehabilitation at the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, Philadelphia, USA. Here I work with Laurel Buxbaum and Branch Coslett, whose main affiliation is with the University of Pennsylvania. I use transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), lesion-symptom mapping, and multilevel modeling, among other techniques, to study the neural instantiation of motor cognition and perception in left-hemisphere stroke patients as well as neurologically-intact individuals. This work is again consistent with the notion that structure-function relationships in the brain are typically many-to-many, as suggested by my graduate research as well as by recent findings of neural reuse and degeneracy in other labs (see, e.g., here).
In addition to research, I take great pleasure in sharing my enthusiasm and knowledge about the scientific study of (the neural instantiation of) human behavior and cognition through undergraduate teaching at Franklin & Marshall College and Temple University. Courses I have designed and taught include Embodied Cognition, Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Statistics and Critical Thinking.
Lastly, I take a deep interest in and write about theoretical underpinnings of neuroscience and psychology such as philosophy of perception, philosophy of mind, and the question of whether to adopt a cognitivist or ecological ontology to study structure-function relationships in the brain-body-environment.