Dr Peter Walker


Research Interests

I am a Reader in Visual Cognition, a title which tells you where my interests lie within psychology.

I am currently studying cross-sensory correspondences (sometimes referred to as weak synaesthesia) as an aspect of visual and multisensory cognition. Correspondences are observed in everyday life when we hear people refer to the smoothness and heaviness of a perfume, the brightness, sharpness, and heaviness of a sound, and the warmth and loudness of a colour. In addition, when asked, people will agree that lemons are fast, that brighter coloured snooker balls make higher pitch sounds than darker snooker balls, and that darker pebbles are heavier than brighter pebbles. In carefully designed experiments I investigate what these and related phenomena tell us about multisensory cognition.

Current projects include:

1. Cross-sensory correspondences and language: How correspondences contribute to symbolism in language, including sound symbolism and the visual symbolism mediated by the typefaces in which words appear.

2. The innate and learned (linguistic and non-linguistic) origins of cross-sensory correspondences, including their presence in neonates and infants.

3. The contributions of cross-sensory correspondences to the visual arts and to music, including how professional jazz musicians (saxophonists) exploit correspondences to communicate concepts in their improvisations.

4. The functional significance of cross-sensory correspondences for human-machine interfaces, especially how they might give rise to powerful stimulus-response compatibility effects.

I am also studying directional biases in the perception of lateral visual movement, including their links to language (reading direction) and hand dominance.

Selected Publications Show all 60 publications

Lateral interaction between neural channels sensitive to velocity in the human visual system.
Walker, P., Powell, D.J. 20/12/1974 In: Nature. 252, 5485, p. 732-733. 2 p.
Journal article

Binocular rivalry: Central or peripheral selective processes?
Walker, P. 03/1978 In: Psychological Bulletin. 85, 2, p. 376-389. 14 p.
Journal article

Visual memory and stimulus repetition effects
Walker, P., Marshall, E.L. 09/1982 In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. 111, 3, p. 348-368. 21 p.
Journal article

Stroop interference based on the synaesthetic qualities of auditory pitch
Walker, P., Smith, S. 1984 In: Perception. 13, 1, p. 75-81. 7 p.
Journal article

Multiletter Units in Visual Word Recognition: Direct Activation by Supraletter Visual Features.
Whiteley, H.E., Walker, P. 1997 In: Visual Cognition. 4, 1, p. 69-110. 42 p.
Journal article

Remembering Visual Feature Conjunctions: Visual Memory for Shape–Colour Associations is Object-based.
Walker, P., Cuthbert, L. 1998 In: Visual Cognition. 5, 4, p. 409-455. 47 p.
Journal article

Font tuning : a review and new experimental evidence.
Walker, P. 11/2008 In: Visual Cognition. 16, 8, p. 1022-1058. 37 p.
Journal article

Preverbal Infants' Sensitivity to Synaesthetic Cross-Modality Correspondences.
Walker, P., Bremner, J.G., Mason, U., Spring, J., Mattock, K., Slater, A., Johnson, S.P. 01/2010 In: Psychological Science. 21, 1, p. 21-25. 5 p.
Journal article

Preverbal infants are sensitive to cross-sensory correspondences: much ado about the null results of Lewkowicz and Minar (2013)
Walker, P., Bremner, G., Mason, U., Spring, J., Mattock, K., Slater, A., Johnson, S. 12/03/2014 In: Psychological Science. 25, 3, p. 835-836. 2 p.
Journal article