Dr Di Luca is Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham in the Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics. He performs both fundamental and applied research to investigate how humans process multisensory stimuli, with an accent on understanding the temporal, dynamic, and interactive nature of perception. He uses psychophysical experiments and neuroimaging methods to capture how the brain employs multiple sources of sensory information and combines them with assumptions, predictions, and information obtained through active exploration.
Dr Di Luca employs signal processing and machine learning to discover patterns in the interaction and user’s movements that relate to perception. The leitmotiv of his research is to create computational models that constitute quantitative and testable theories about the underlying cognitive and neural processes. Such models can be used for simulations (i.e. to be implemented in robots), rendering (i.e. in haptic devices), and prediction about the user movement, responses, states (i.e. to optimise the generation of sensory cues in VR system by using perceptual metrics).
PhD in Cognitive Science, 2006
Brown University (USA)
Laurea in Psicologia, 2000
Universitá degli Studi di Trieste (Italy)
The goal of Dr Di Luca’s work is to understand and model how the brain processes sensory stimuli allowing humans to perceive the word and produce successful behavior. In particular, he investigates the temporal properties of the mechanisms involved. For this, Dr Di Luca uses psychophysical methods, signal processing, Bayesian modeling, imaging, and a wide range of technological tools.
The information we acquire from the environment is continuously varying: we reach out, explore, and interact with objects that can move unpredictably. So we have multiple sensory signals available contemporarily, these signals are dynamic, and the information that they carry is a function of our actions. Despite such variations and complexity, our brain is capable of picking up, combining, and using information to create a percept and guide our behavior. It is not entirely clear what are the computations that allow us to effectively process such information and what are the properties of the neural mechanisms involved.
To shed light on these open issues, Dr Di Luca employs experimental stimuli that have some of the properties encountered during normal interaction with the environment, stimuli that vary over time, that change in response to our actions, or that contain redundant information about the world.