Cooper Smout

PhD Student

Email: c.smout@uq.edu.au


Supervisors

Professor Jason Mattingley (primary)

Dr. Marta Garrido


Current research

My primary research interest is in the neural basis of consciousness. I'm currently investigating two neural mechanisms that are integral to conscious perception: prediction and attention. Prediction is the process by which the human brain learns to expect likely occurrences in the sensory environment, and attention is the process of prioritising behaviourally relevant sensory signals. These processes both facilitate perception, but it is not clear how they interact at the neural level. In my research I use computational modelling and multivariate analyses of human brain imaging data (EEG and MEG) to explore how attention and prediction interact to influence the neural representations of visual stimuli. I graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Science (Psychology, Honours I) and was awarded the Australian Psychological Society Prize and the McElwain Prize for my honours project on visual attention and awareness. My PhD is supervised by Professor Jason Mattingley and Dr Marta Garrido at the Queensland Brain Institute. I’m currently spending six months at the Predictive Brain Lab in the Donders Institute for Cognitive Neuroimaging (Nijmegen, Netherlands), where I’m conducting a magnetoencephalography experiment under the supervision of Dr Floris de Lange and Dr Eelke Spaak. My time there is funded by an Australian Endeavour PhD Scholarship (Feb-August 2018).


Research interests

  • Attention and prediction
  • Consciousness, and altered states thereof
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Neurophenomenology
  • Subjective time and the sense of self


Published Papers

Smout, C. A., Mattingley, J.B. (2018) Spatial attention enhances the neural representation of invisible signals embedded in noise. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 30(8), 1119-1129.


Conference presentations

Smout, C. A., Tang, M. F., Garrido, M. I. & Mattingley, J. B. (2017, August). Expectation Effects Pre-stimulus Feature Representations. Poster presented at the 13th International Cognitive Neuroscience Conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Smout, C., & Mattingley, J. B. (2015, November). Spatial Attention Enhances Neural Responses to Invisible Stimuli. Poster presented at the 5th Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Conference, Auckland, New Zealand. [Prize awarded].

Smout, C., & Mattingley, J. B. (2015, July). Spatial Attention Enhances Neural Responses to Invisible Stimuli. Poster presented at the 19th Meeting of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, Paris, France.

Smout, C., & Mattingley, J. B. (2014, July). Attending to the Unseen: The Effects of Spatial Attention on Neural Responses to Visible and Invisible Stimuli. Poster presented at the 12th International Cognitive Neuroscience Conference, Brisbane, Australia.

Smout, C., & Mattingley, J. B. (2014, July). Attending to the Unseen: The Effects of Spatial Attention on Neural Responses to Visible and Invisible Stimuli. Paper presented at the 18th Meeting of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, Brisbane, Australia.