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Dr Michael Banissy

Staff details

PositionSenior Lecturer
Department Psychology
Email m.banissy (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone+44 (0)20 7078 5140
Dr Michael Banissy

Summary of research

My research broadly fits into two streams: social neuroscience and visual cognition.

Within these streams I work on the following topics:

  • emotion recognition
  • face recognition
  • prosopagnosia
  • synaesthesia
  • interpersonal representation
  • ageing
  • all aspects of non-invasive brain stimulation.

For further details and a full publication list see my lab website at www.banissy.com.

Public engagement

Work featured in several media sources, eg New Scientist magazine , Scientific American, Reuters, and the BBC. Invited talks given at a number of public events, eg Open City Docs Fest and Wellcome Trust Packed Lunch Series. Articles written for several popular science outlets (eg Scientific American, AEON Magazine).

Academic qualifications

BSc MSc PhD

Research Interests

My current research fits broadly into two main areas: 1) neurocognitive mechanisms of social perception and 2) synaesthesia.

Social perception

My research in this area examines the brain basis of our ability to perceive and interpret social signals displayed by others (e.g. emotional expressions, facial identity, voice perception, eye gaze), how these abilities vary between us, and how they change as we age. My lab use a range of techniques including human brain imaging, non-invasive brain stimulation, and neuropsychology (e.g. prosopagnosia studies) to address these questions.

Synaesthesia

My work on synaesthesia partially overlaps with the work on social perception. Here, I have examined a rare experience in which individuals experience tactile sensations on their own body when simply observing touch/pain to another person. This interpersonal synaesthetic experience, known as mirror-touch synaesthesia, offers insights not only into the condition of synaesthesia, but also into how our brain shapes interpersonal representations between self and other. In addition to this, my lab are also conducting studies examining other variants of synaesthesia including linguistic-colour synaesthesia (where words evoke colour experiences), lexical-gustatory synaesthesia (where words evoke taste experiences), and tone-colour synaesthesia (where listening to music evokes visual experiences).

Publications

Article

'Am I moving?' An illusion of agency and ownership in mirror-touch synaesthesia.
Cioffi, Maria Cristina; Banissy, Michael J. and Moore, James W.. 2016. 'Am I moving?' An illusion of agency and ownership in mirror-touch synaesthesia. Cognition, 146, pp. 426-430. ISSN 1873-7838

Transcranial Current Stimulation of the Temporoparietal Junction Improves Lie Detection
Sowden, Sophie; Wright, Gordon R. T.; Banissy, Michael J.; Catmur, Caroline and Bird, Geoffrey. 2015. Transcranial Current Stimulation of the Temporoparietal Junction Improves Lie Detection. Current Biology, 25(18), 2447 - 2451. ISSN 0960-9822

A causal involvement of the left supramarginal gyrus during the retention of musical pitches.
Schaal, Nora K; Williamson, Victoria J; Kelly, Maria; Muggleton, Neil G; Pollok, Bettina; Krause, Vanessa and Banissy, Michael J.. 2015. A causal involvement of the left supramarginal gyrus during the retention of musical pitches. Cortex, 64, pp. 310-7. ISSN 0010-9452

Timbre-colour synaesthesia: exploring the consistency of associations based on timbre.
Menouti, Konstantina; Akiva-Kabiri, Lilach; Banissy, Michael J. and Stewart, Lauren. 2015. Timbre-colour synaesthesia: exploring the consistency of associations based on timbre. Cortex, 63, pp. 1-3. ISSN 0010-9452

High-Frequency Transcranial Random Noise Stimulation Enhances Perception of Facial Identity
Romanska, Aleksandra; Rezlescu, Constantin; Susilo, Tirta; Duchaine, Bradley and Banissy, Michael J.. 2015. High-Frequency Transcranial Random Noise Stimulation Enhances Perception of Facial Identity. Cerebral Cortex, ISSN 1047-3211

Synesthesia: an introduction.
Banissy, Michael J.; Jonas, Clare and Cohen Kadosh, Roi. 2014. Synesthesia: an introduction. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(1414), pp. 1-3. ISSN 1664-1078

Task-dependent and distinct roles of the temporoparietal junction and inferior frontal cortex in the control of imitation.
Hogeveen, Jeremy; Obhi, Sukhvinder S; Banissy, Michael J.; Santiesteban, Idalmis; Press, Clare; Catmur, Caroline and Bird, Geoffrey. 2014. Task-dependent and distinct roles of the temporoparietal junction and inferior frontal cortex in the control of imitation. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, ISSN 1749-5016

The Rhythm Span Task: Comparing Memory Capacity for Musical Rhythms in Musicians and Non-Musicians
Schaal, Nora K.; Banissy, Michael J. and Lange, Kathrin. 2014. The Rhythm Span Task: Comparing Memory Capacity for Musical Rhythms in Musicians and Non-Musicians. Journal of New Music Research, ISSN 0929-8215

Best of both worlds: promise of combining brain stimulation and brain connectome
Di Bernardi Luft, Caroline; Pereda, Ernesto; Banissy, Michael J. and Bhattacharya, Joydeep. 2014. Best of both worlds: promise of combining brain stimulation and brain connectome. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 8, pp. 1-15. ISSN 1662-5137

Pitch Memory in Nonmusicians and Musicians: Revealing Functional Differences Using Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation.
Schaal, N K; Krause, V; Lange, K; Banissy, Michael J.; Williamson, V J and Pollok, B. 2014. Pitch Memory in Nonmusicians and Musicians: Revealing Functional Differences Using Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation. Cerebral Cortex, ISSN 1047-3211

Motor empathy is a consequence of misattribution of sensory information in observers
Mahayana, Indra T.; Banissy, Michael J.; Chen, Chiao-Yun; Walsh, Vincent; Juan, Chi-Hung and Muggleton, Neil G.. 2014. Motor empathy is a consequence of misattribution of sensory information in observers. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, pp. 1-7. ISSN 1662-5161

What can mirror-touch synaesthesia tell us about the sense of agency?
Cioffi, Maria Cristina; Moore, James W. and Banissy, Michael J.. 2014. What can mirror-touch synaesthesia tell us about the sense of agency? Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, p. 256. ISSN 1662-5161

Functional and structural brain differences associated with mirror-touch synaesthesia
Holle, Henning; Banissy, Michael J. and Ward, Jamie. 2013. Functional and structural brain differences associated with mirror-touch synaesthesia. NeuroImage, 83, pp. 1041-1050. ISSN 1053-8119

Synesthesia for Color Is Linked to Improved Color Perception but Reduced Motion Perception
Banissy, Michael J.; Tester, Victoria; Muggleton, Neil G.; Janik, Agnieszka B.; Davenport, Aimee; Franklin, Anna; Walsh, Vincent and Ward, Jamie. 2013. Synesthesia for Color Is Linked to Improved Color Perception but Reduced Motion Perception. Psychological Science, 24(12), pp. 2390-2397. ISSN 0956-7976

Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation over the supramarginal gyrus facilitates pitch memory
Schaal, Nora K.; Williamson, Victoria J. and Banissy, Michael J.. 2013. Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation over the supramarginal gyrus facilitates pitch memory. The European Journal of Neuroscience, 38(10), pp. 3513-3518. ISSN 0953-816X

Human face structure correlates with professional baseball performance: insights from professional Japanese baseball players.
Tsujimura, Hikaru and Banissy, Michael J.. 2013. Human face structure correlates with professional baseball performance: insights from professional Japanese baseball players. Biology letters, 9(3), n/a. ISSN 1744-957X

Personality traits in people with synaesthesia: Do synaesthetes have an atypical personality profile.
Banissy, Michael J.; Holle, Henning; Cassell, Josephine E.; Annett, Lucy; Walsh, Vincent; Spiller, MJ; Tsakanikos, E and Ward, Jamie. 2013. Personality traits in people with synaesthesia: Do synaesthetes have an atypical personality profile. Personality and Individual Differences, 54(7), pp. 828-831.

Mirror-touch synaesthesia changes representations of self-identity.
Maister, Lara; Banissy, Michael J. and Tsakiris, Manos. 2013. Mirror-touch synaesthesia changes representations of self-identity. Neuropsychologia, 51(5), pp. 802-8. ISSN 1873-3514

Transcranial direct current stimulation in sports training: potential approaches.
Banissy, Michael J. and Muggleton, Neil G. 2013. Transcranial direct current stimulation in sports training: potential approaches. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 7, p. 129. ISSN 1662-5161

Mechanisms of self-other representations and vicarious experiences of touch in mirror-touch synesthesia.
Banissy, Michael J. and Ward, Jamie. 2013. Mechanisms of self-other representations and vicarious experiences of touch in mirror-touch synesthesia. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 7, p. 112. ISSN 1662-5161

Enhancing Social Ability by Stimulating Right Temporoparietal Junction
Santiesteban, Idalmis; Banissy, Michael J.; Catmur, Caroline and Bird, Geoffrey. 2012. Enhancing Social Ability by Stimulating Right Temporoparietal Junction. Current Biology, 22(23), pp. 2274-2277. ISSN 1879-0445

Brain structure links loneliness to social perception.
Kanai, Ryota; Bahrami, Bahador; Duchaine, Brad; Janik, Agnieszka; Banissy, Michael J. and Rees, Geraint. 2012. Brain structure links loneliness to social perception. Current biology : CB, 22(20), pp. 1975-9. ISSN 1879-0445

A disruption of colour priming following continuous theta burst transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Banissy, Michael J.; Walsh, Vincent and Muggleton, Neil G.. 2012. A disruption of colour priming following continuous theta burst transcranial magnetic stimulation. Cortex, 48(10), pp. 1359-1361.

Grapheme-color and tone-color synesthesia is associated with structural brain changes in visual regions implicated in color, form, and motion.
Banissy, Michael J.; Stewart, Lauren; Muggleton, N. G.; Griffiths, T. D.; Walsh, V.; Ward, J. and Kanai, R.. 2012. Grapheme-color and tone-color synesthesia is associated with structural brain changes in visual regions implicated in color, form, and motion. Cognitive Neuroscience, 3(1), pp. 29-35. ISSN 1758-8928

Inter-individual differences in empathy are reflected in human brain structure.
Banissy, Michael J.; Kanai, Ryota; Walsh, Vincent and Rees, Geraint. 2012. Inter-individual differences in empathy are reflected in human brain structure. NeuroImage, 62(3), pp. 2034-2039.

Increased positive and disorganised schizotypy in synaesthetes who experience colour from letters and tones.
Banissy, Michael J.; Cassell, Josephine E.; Fitzpatrick, Sian; Ward, Jamie; Walsh, Vincent X. and Muggleton, Neil G.. 2012. Increased positive and disorganised schizotypy in synaesthetes who experience colour from letters and tones. Cortex: a journal devoted to the study of the nervous system and behavior, 48(8), pp. 1085-1087. ISSN 1973-8102

"That's not a real body": identifying stimulus qualities that modulate synaesthetic experiences of touch
Holle, Henning; Banissy, Michael J.; Wright, Thomas; Bowling, Natalie and Ward, Jamie. 2011. "That's not a real body": identifying stimulus qualities that modulate synaesthetic experiences of touch. Consciousness and cognition, 20(3), pp. 720-6. ISSN 1090-2376

Cognitive neuroscience: feedback for natural visual stimuli
Muggleton, Neil G.; Banissy, Michael J. and Walsh, Vincent Z.. 2011. Cognitive neuroscience: feedback for natural visual stimuli. Current biology: CB, 21(8), R282-3. ISSN 1879-0445

Mirror-touch synaesthesia: A case of faulty self-modelling and insula abnormality
Banissy, Michael J.; Walsh, Vincent and Muggleton, Neil. 2011. Mirror-touch synaesthesia: A case of faulty self-modelling and insula abnormality. Cognitive Neuroscience, 2(2), pp. 114-115.

Superior Facial Expression, But Not Identity Recognition, in Mirror-Touch Synesthesia
Banissy, Michael J.; Garrido, Lúcia; Kusnir, Flor; Duchaine, Bradley; Walsh, Vincent and Ward, Jamie. 2011. Superior Facial Expression, But Not Identity Recognition, in Mirror-Touch Synesthesia. The Journal of Neuroscience, 31(5), pp. 1820-1824. ISSN 0270-6474

Are two heads better than one?
Kanai, Ryota and Banissy, Michael J.. 2010. Are two heads better than one? Scientific American, na.

Suppressing sensorimotor activity modulates the discrimination of auditory emotions but not speaker identity
Banissy, Michael J.; Sauter, Disa Anna; Ward, Jamie; Warren, Jane E.; Walsh, Vincent and Scott, Sophie K.. 2010. Suppressing sensorimotor activity modulates the discrimination of auditory emotions but not speaker identity. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 30(41), pp. 13552-7. ISSN 1529-2401

Enhanced sensory perception in synaesthesia
Banissy, Michael J.; Walsh, Vincent and Ward, Jamie. 2009. Enhanced sensory perception in synaesthesia. Experimental Brain Research, 196(4), pp. 565-71. ISSN 0014-4819

Prevalence, characteristics and a neurocognitive model of mirror-touch synaesthesia
Banissy, Michael J.; Cohen Kadosh, Roi; Maus, Gerrit W.; Walsh, Vincent and Ward, Jamie. 2009. Prevalence, characteristics and a neurocognitive model of mirror-touch synaesthesia. Experimental brain research. Experimentelle Hirnforschung. Expérimentation cérébrale, 198(2-3), pp. 261-72. ISSN 1432-1106

On being moved: From mirror neurons to empathy
Banissy, Michael J. and Ward, Jamie. 2008. On being moved: From mirror neurons to empathy. Child And Adolescent Mental Health, 13(1), pp. 50-51.

Mirror-touch synesthesia is linked with empathy
Banissy, Michael J. and Ward, Jamie. 2007. Mirror-touch synesthesia is linked with empathy. Nature neuroscience, 10(7), pp. 815-6. ISSN 1097-6256

Book Section

Synaesthesia, mirror neurons and mirror-touch
Banissy, Michael J.. 2013. Synaesthesia, mirror neurons and mirror-touch. In: E Hubbard and J Simner, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Synaesthesia. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 584-605. ISBN 978-0-19-960332-9

Beyond Inhibition: Exploiting the Potential of State-Dependency in Cognitive and Therapeutic TMS Studies
Banissy, Michael J. and Muggleton, Neil G.. 2013. Beyond Inhibition: Exploiting the Potential of State-Dependency in Cognitive and Therapeutic TMS Studies. In: L Alba-Ferrara, ed. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: Methods, Clinical Uses and Effects on the Brain. USA: Nova Science Publishers, ..-... ISBN 978-1-62618-736-8

Left, right, hand ‘n space
Banissy, Michael J.; Annett, Lucy; Asiedu-Offei, Patience; Rosch, Richard and Gurd, Jennifer. 2012. Left, right, hand ‘n space. In: J Dunham and T Davenport, eds. Handedness: Theories, Genetics and Psychology. USA: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., pp. 109-122. ISBN 978-1-61470-502-4

Haptic perception in synaesthesia
Ward, Jamie; Banissy, Michael J. and Jonas, Clare. 2008. Haptic perception in synaesthesia. In: Martin Grunwald, ed. Human Haptic Perception: Basics and Applications. Basel: Birkhäuser, pp. 258-265. ISBN 3764376112

Edited Journal

Special issue "Culture and Cognition". Cognitive Neuroscience
Muggleton, Neil G. and Banissy, Michael J., eds. 2014. Special issue "Culture and Cognition". Cognitive Neuroscience.

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