Goldsmiths University of London's Dr Michael Banissy has been awarded this year’s Spearman Medal from the British Psychological Society in recognition of his outstanding body of published work.
Reader in Psychology Dr Banissy is a leader in the study of conscious vicarious perception – where individuals consciously experience the same sensation they see another feeling.
He has led developments in our understanding of these experiences by conducting pioneering studies on mirror-touch synaesthesia (where individuals experience touch on their own body when seeing touch to others) and developing the existing neurocognitive model.
He has also used this understanding to explore the general mechanisms of interpersonal representation and social processing we all use.
Additionally, he has made significant contributions to other areas of psychology, including face perception, emotion processing, social cognition, and memory.
Dr Banissy said: “I am delighted to have been awarded the Spearman Medal and feel extremely honoured to be amongst the list of winners. I’d like to thank the BPS for the award and Professor Andrew Bremner for nominating me.
“This achievement would not have been possible without the help of some excellent colleagues, collaborators, and lab members. I am very grateful to them all. I would particularly like to thank my mentors, Professors Vincent Walsh and Jamie Ward, for their insight and support from the start.
My lab is currently working on a number projects that seek to determine mechanisms that contribute to our ability to determine social signals displayed by others, how these abilities vary between us, and means by which they can be improved.
Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes, President of the Society, said: “The Spearman Medal is one of the British Psychological Society's most prestigious awards and is given to early career researchers, such as Dr Banissy, whose work is excellent in quality and influential in nature. Dr Banissy receives my wholehearted congratulations.”
The Spearman Medal is awarded annually by the Society’s Research Board to recognise a body of outstanding published work produced by a psychologist within eight years of the completion of his or her PhD.
The British Psychological Society is the representative body for psychology and psychologists in the UK. It is responsible for the development, promotion and application of psychology for the public good.