The Beauchamp Lab studies the neural mechanisms for multisensory integration and visual perception in human subjects; anatomically, the primary focus of the lab is on the superior temporal sulcus, a brain area critical for both the integration of auditory, visual, and somatosensory information and for the perception of complex visual motion, such as mouth movements. Many everyday tasks require us to integrate information from multiple modalities, such as during conversation when we make use of both the auditory information we hear in spoken speech and the visual information from the facial movements of the talker. Multisensory integration is especially important under conditions in which one modality is degraded, such as in a noisy room. To understand the neural mechanisms of multisensory integration and visual perception, we use a variety of methods, including electrocorticography (ECoG), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and blood-oxygen level dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging (BOLD fMRI). Through these sophisticated studies, we hope to unlock one of nature's great mysteries: how the brain performs amazing computational feats, such as understanding speech, that allow us to make sense of the auditory and visual world around us. Every advance in deepening our knowledge of these processes is not only exciting for its own sake but will also help children and patients with language and perceptual difficulties.
Left: Michael Beauchamp presenting at IMRF 2014 in Amsterdam. Right: The lab logo!
Lab members are affiliated with the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Baylor College of Medicine, and Rice University. You can reach us at: BeauchampLab (at) gmail.com