Professor Michael Banissy

Michael is an expert in social neuroscience, studying how we perceive and interact with each other.

Staff details

Professor Michael Banissy






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Michael is a Professor of Psychology and Head of School of Professional Services, Science and Technology at Goldsmiths. Prior to his current role in Goldsmiths Senior Management Team he was Head of Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths (2018-2020). He has contributed to several diverse research areas, including social perception, touch, sleep, creativity, synaesthesia, and empathy. For this he has been awarded multiple prizes from external bodies for outstanding contributions to psychological research (e.g. from the British Psychological Society and European Society for Cognitive Psychology). The breadth of his work is not only seen in scientific contributions, but also in his engagement to bring science to the public and industry. He was recently a Royal Society Industry Research Fellow working with OPIÑON ( as Chief Science Officer. He is also an experienced science communicator having been involved in science communication across a variety of channels, including recently leading The Touch Test (a research and broadcast collaboration with BBC Radio 4 and Wellcome Collection). 

Grants and Awards

Michael has received external grant funding from a variety of organisations to support his work including: ESRC, European Commission, British Academy, Royal Society, Dunhill Medical Trust, and the BIAL Foundation.

Public engagement

Michael has worked extensively to support science communication and the application of psychological insights to the real world. Some examples include:

  • Providing seminars and research consultancy to a range of organisations to help take knowledge from psychology and neuroscience to support performance and innovation insight.
  • Organising public workshops designed to connect the wider public with relevant research related to social perception and cognition.
  • Regular engagement in public-facing events including festivals, lectures, school events, and panel discussions.
  • Involvement with a range of media presentations including features in major outlets in USA, Europe, Asia, Australasia, and Africa. Example outlets include: BBC (radio, television, and online media), Scientific American, NewScientist, National Public Radio.

Publications and research outputs

Edited Journal

Muggleton, Neil G. and Banissy, Michael J., eds. 2014. Special issue "Culture and Cognition". Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience, 5(1). 1758-8928

Book Section

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

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

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


Penton, Tegan; Bowling, Natalie; Vafeiadou, Aikaterini; Hammond, Claudia; Bird, Geoffrey and Banissy, Michael J.. 2023. Attitudes to Interpersonal Touch in the Workplace in Autistic and non-Autistic Groups. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 53(12), pp. 4731-4743. ISSN 0162-3257

Vafeiadou, Aikaterini; Banissy, Michael J.; Banissy, Jasmine F.M.; Higgins, Julian P.T. and Howard, Guy. 2023. The influence of climate change on mental health in populations of the western Pacific region: An umbrella scoping review. Heliyon, 9(11), e21457. ISSN 2405-8440

Dueren, A.L.; Bowling, Natalie; Vafeiadou, Aikaterini; Madrid-Valero, J.J.; Hammond, Claudia; Gregory, Alice M. and Banissy, Michael J.. 2023. Perspectives on interpersonal touch are related to subjective sleep quality. Journal of Sleep Research, 32(3), e13766. ISSN 0962-1105

Research Interests

Michael’s main themes of research relate to the study of social perception, social cognition, and applied cognitive psychology / neuroscience. He is a member of our Cognition and Neuroscience Group and our Social Processes and Personality Group. Key areas of interest are listed below. For full details on projects see

  • Creativity
  • Decision Making
  • Emotion Perception
  • Empathy
  • Face Perception
  • Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation
  • Self-Other Representation
  • Sense of Agency
  • Sleep
  • Synaesthesia
  • Touch