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Jacqueline Thompson

Description of Jacqueline

Jacqueline Thompson

PhD student in Experimental Psychology
Address: Department of Experimental Psychology                           
              South Parks Road
              Oxford, OX1 3UD
Phone:    (01865) 281245
Fax:       (01865) 310447
Email:    jackie.thompson <at> psy.ox.ac.uk

I earned my BA in Cognitive Science from Yale University in 2008.  For my undergraduate thesis, I spent a summer researching synesthesia with Dr. Julia Simner at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland (thanks to the Tetelman Award).  

Between finishing my BA and starting my graduate studies at Oxford, I worked as a research assistant at Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, investigating the psychological effects of food advertising on children and young adults.

During my time at Yale, I was fortunate enough to conduct research in a wide variety of topics within cognitive science, including music cognition (with Dr. Bruno Repp), comparative cognition in non-human primates (with Dr. Laurie Santos), linguistic processing (with Dr. Carol Fowler), and synesthesia (with Dr. Lawrence Marks).

I am principally interested in how we, as humans, perceive and represent the over-complicated world rushing around us.  Although this is a broad question that translates into multiple disciplines, so far the primary focus of my curiosity has been synesthesia, along with language and number cognition.

 I find synesthesia to be a particularly fascinating window into human cognition; just think of all the cross-modal or cross-domain associations (e.g. loud colors, sharp tastes, etc.) that “non-synaesthetes” make every day!  If synesthesia is indeed simply a more explicit form of implicit associations (or patterns of association) that all of us tend to make, then it can certainly tell us much about human cognition.   And, I admit, there is an additional, much simpler factor contributing to my enduring interest in the topic; as a grapheme-color and sequence-spatial synaesthete myself, I encounter synesthesia personally on a day-to-day basis.  This leads to the spontaneous formulation of a great many research questions (and, conveniently, it also provides me with an ever-willing pilot participant!) 

My research seeks to shed light on the neurological origins of synesthesia and its relation to more universal forms of sensory and conceptual processing.  Currently, I am examining the connections between number-space synaesthesia (in which individuals experience vivid mental number forms) and more general numerical cognition.