Professor Derek Arnold


School of Psychology
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
+61 7 336 56203


Prof. Derek Arnold

Prof. Arnold studied at Macquarie University before taking up research positions at the University of Sydney and University College London. He took up a continuing position at the University of Queensland in April, 2006.

Research Interests

  • Sensory Processing
    I am interested in how brain activity generates conscious perceptual experiences. Some of my specific interests are... 1) Imagined Sensory Experiences: People have different levels of ability to have imagined sensory experiences. Some people cannot evoke imagined experiences at all (aphantasics) while others have unusually intense imagined experiences (hyperphantasics / synaesthetes). What features of brain activity are responsible for these differences? 2) The human brain has been described as a predictive machine. How does it generate and implement the predictions that allow us to interact with our dynamic environment - so we can catch or avoid flying objects? 3) The human brain generates feelings of confidence whenever we make a perceptual decision. What features of sensory brain activity govern these feelings of confidence? 4) Humans can judge the relative timing of different events, and the extent of time that passes during an event. How do our brains encode time and timing? 5) In the human brain, different sensory analyses are often independent of one another, taking place in different brain regions and completed at different rates. How do these analyses combine to create subjectively unified experiences?

Research Impacts

Prof. Arnold's research is focussed on understanding the computational processes and brain activity that underlie perceptual experience, decisions and feelings of confidence. This basic science can inform the development of advanced technologies, such as brain-computer interfaces and artifical visual systems. For these reasons, Prof. Arnold's research is cited in patent applications.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Macquarie University


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Book Chapter

  • Arnold, Derek H. (2010). Relative timing and perceptual asynchrony. Space and time in perception and action. (pp. 254-277) edited by Romi Nijhawan and Beena Khurana. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511750540.016

  • Arnold, Derek H. and Whitney, David (2005). Adaptation and perceptual binding in sight and sound. Fitting the Mind to the World: Adaptation and After-Effects in High-Level Vision. (pp. 339-371) edited by Colin W. G. Clifford and Gillian Rhodes. Oxford, England, U. K.: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198529699.003.0013

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision