Department of Psychology

Dr José van Velzen MSc PhD

Position held:

+44 (0)20 7919 7294

+44 (0)20 7919 7873

j.vanvelzen (

Room 1-15 Ben Pimlott Building,
Psychology Department,
Goldsmiths, University of London,
New Cross, SE14 6NW

Office hours:
Monday 12-1pm

Summary of research

Cognitive Neuroscience, Spatial perception and spatial attention, Multisensory processing, Motor preparation


Coordinator BSc Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience

Methods and Techniques in Cognitve Neuroscience (MSc Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience and MSc Music Mind and Brain)


Research interests

My research interests include the cognitive and neural aspects of perception, attention and action. I use a combination of behavioural and neural imaging methods (EEG, ERP, TMS) to investigate the following questions (all these are suitable as PhD projects):

(1) Control processes in spatial attention and response preparation
Imaging studies have identified a network of frontoparietal brain areas in spatial attention, but also in movement control. Furthermore, electrophysiological markers of attentional control suggest shifts of spatial attention in vision, audition and touch are based on externally-defined coordinates, likely to be supplied by the visual system. Using ERPs we try to disentangle the relative contributions of brain areas involved in the control of attention and action, and investigate further the role of vision.

(2) Sensory processing during manual movements. Related to the observed overlap seen in control processes in attention and motor preparation, sensory processing is enhanced at the goal of a manual movement. In this project we study the spatial distribution of such effects in adults and children with and without Developmental Coordination Disorder.

(3) Cross-modal links in perception, attention and action, in peripersonal and extrapersonal space
Previous research involving vision, audition and touch showed that shifts of attention in one sensory modality brought about shifts in attention in other modalities. Interestingly, we have recently shown that during response preparation, auditory processing is not affected by which hand is being prepared. This raises questions about the role of audition in spatial perception and spatial attention. Under which conditions is audition coupled to vision and touch? ERPs will be used to assess couplings between vision, audition and touch in peripersonal and extrapersonal space.

(4) Spatial processing and spatial attention mechanisms in the blind
It is widely assumed that congenital blind participants have an inferior sense of external space, caused by the lack of input of visual information. This project aims to investigate this claim in detail and will take into account the experience the blind have had growing up. ERP measures will be collected to elucidate the underlying neural mechanisms active during spatial processing in the congenitally and late blind.

(5) Posture effects on visual and tactile spatial perception and attention
It has  recently been shown that sensory perception is affected by body posture, for example visual information is processed more efficiently when a hand is in close vicinity when compared to the same information occurring away from the hand. When the hand are crossed, tactile information is represented differently in the brain than when the hand are uncrossed. In this project we investigate effects of posture on sensory processing in the brain.

Selected publications

Number of items: 28.


Rigato, Silvia, Begum Ali, Jannath, Van Velzen, Jose L. and Bremner, Andrew J.. 2014. The neural basis of somatosensory remapping develops in human infancy. Current Biology, 24(11), pp. 1222-1226. ISSN 0960-9822 [Article]

Murphy, S., Van Velzen, Jose L. and Fockert, Jan W. de. 2012. The role of perceptual load in action affordance by ignored objects. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, ---. ISSN 1069-9384 [Article]

Eardley, Alison F. and Van Velzen, Jose L.. 2011. Event-related potential evidence for the use of external coordinates in the preparation of tactile attention by the early blind. European Journal Of Neuroscience, 33(10), pp. 1897-1907. ISSN 0953-816X [Article]

Gherri, Elena, Van Velzen, Jose L. and Eimer, Martin. 2009. The instructed context of a motor task modulates covert response preparation and shifts of spatial attention. Psychophysiology, 46(3), pp. 655-667. ISSN 0048-5772 [Article]

Fockert, Jan W. de, Ramchurn, Anusha, Van Velzen, Jose L., Bergström, Zara M. and Bunce, David. 2009. Behavioral and ERP evidence of greater distractor processing in old age. Brain Research, 1282, pp. 67-73. ISSN 00068993 [Article]

Kiss, Monika, Van Velzen, Jose L. and Eimer, Martin. 2008. The N2pc component and its links to attention shifts and spatially selective visual processing. Psychophysiology, 45(2), pp. 240-249. ISSN 0048-5772 [Article]

Gherri, Elena, Van Velzen, Jose L. and Eimer, Martin. 2007. Dissociating effector and movement direction selection during the preparation of manual reaching movements: Evidence from lateralized ERP components. Clinical Neurophysiology, 118(9), pp. 2031-2049. ISSN 13882457 [Article]

Eimer, Martin, Van Velzen, Jose L., Gherri, Elena and Press, Clare. 2007. ERP correlates of shared control mechanisms involved in saccade preparation and in covert attention. Brain Research, 1135(1), pp. 154-166. ISSN 00068993 [Article]

Kennett, Steffan, Van Velzen, Jose L., Eimer, Martin and Driver, Jon. 2007. Disentangling gaze shifts from preparatory ERP effects during spatial attention. Psychophysiology, 44(1), pp. 69-78. ISSN 0048-5772 [Article]

Van Velzen, Jose L., Eardley, A., Forster, B. and Eimer, M.. 2006. Shifts of attention in the early blind: An ERP study of attentional control processes in the absence of visual spatial information. Neuropsychologia, 44(12), pp. 2533-2546. ISSN 00283932 [Article]

Eimer, Martin and Van Velzen, Jose L.. 2006. Covert manual response preparation triggers attentional modulations of visual but not auditory processing. Clinical Neurophysiology, 117(5), pp. 1063-1074. ISSN 13882457 [Article]

Eimer, Martin and Van Velzen, Jose L.. 2006. Covert manual response preparation triggers attentional modulations of visual but not auditory processing. Clinical Neurophysiology, 117(5), pp. 1063-1074. ISSN 13882457 [Article]

Van Velzen, Jose L., Gherri, Elena and Eimer, Martin. 2006. ERP effects of movement preparation on visual processing: attention shifts to the hand, not the goal. Cognitive Processing, 7(S1), pp. 100-101. ISSN 1612-4782 [Article]

Eimer, Martin and Van Velzen, Jose L.. 2005. Spatial tuning of tactile attention modulates visual processing within hemifields: an ERP investigation of crossmodal attention. Experimental Brain Research, 166(3-4), pp. 402-410. ISSN 0014-4819 [Article]

Macaluso, E., Driver, J., Van Velzen, Jose L. and Eimer, Martin. 2005. Influence of gaze direction on crossmodal modulation of visual ERPS by endogenous tactile spatial attention. Cognitive Brain Research, 23(2-3), pp. 406-417. ISSN 09266410 [Article]

Althaus, Monika, Gomarus, H. Karin, Wijers, Albertus , Mulder, Lambertus J. M., Van Velzen, Jose L. and Minderaa, Ruud B.. 2005. Cortical and Autonomic Correlates of Visual Selective Attention in Introverted and Extraverted Children. Journal of Psychophysiology, 19(1), pp. 35-49. ISSN 0269-8803 [Article]

Eimer, Martin, Forster, Bettina, Van Velzen, Jose L. and Prabhu, Gita. 2005. Covert manual response preparation triggers attentional shifts: ERP evidence for the premotor theory of attention. Neuropsychologia, 43(6), pp. 957-966. ISSN 00283932 [Article]

Van Velzen, Jose L., Eimer, M. and Driver, J.. 2004. ERP Evidence for Cross-Modal Audiovisual Effects of Endogenous Spatial Attention within Hemifields. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 16(2), pp. 272-288. ISSN 0898929X [Article]

Eimer, Martin, Forster, Bettina and Van Velzen, Jose L.. 2003. Shifts of attention in light and in darkness: an ERP study of supramodal attentional control and crossmodal links in spatial attention. Cognitive Brain Research, 15(3), pp. 308-323. ISSN 09266410 [Article]

Van Velzen, Jose L., Forster, Bettina and Eimer, Martin. 2002. Temporal dynamics of lateralized ERP components elicited during endogenous attentional shifts to relevant tactile events. Psychophysiology, 39(6), pp. 874-878. ISSN 0048-5772 [Article]

Eimer, Martin, Van Velzen, Jose L. and Driver, Jon. 2002. Cross-Modal Interactions between Audition, Touch, and Vision in Endogenous Spatial Attention: ERP Evidence on Preparatory States and Sensory Modulations. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 14(2), pp. 254-271. ISSN 0898-929X [Article]

Eimer, Martin, Maravita, Angelo , Van Velzen, Jose L., Husain, Masud and Driver, Jon . 2002. The electrophysiology of tactile extinction: ERP correlates of unconscious somatosensory processing. Neuropsychologia, 40(13), pp. 2438-2447. ISSN 00283932 [Article]

Book Section

Driver, Jon, Eimer, Martin, Macaluso, E. and Van Velzen, Jose L.. 2004. The neurobiology of human spatial attention. In: Nancy Kanwisher and John Duncan, eds. Functional neuroimaging of visual cognition. Attention & performance XX. Oxford: Oxford University Press , pp. 267-300. ISBN 0198528450 [Book Section]

This list was generated on Sun Mar 29 11:50:48 2015 BST.

Content last modified: 20 Dec 2013

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