Our group has one goal in mind: figuring out how we perceive the world. That’s why we’ve assembled a diverse team with strong interdisciplinary backgrounds in philosophy, psychology and neuroscience. We’ve also been fortunate to collaborate on projects with other labs located all over the world. Meet our teams members listed below. Oh, and we’re always open to new partnerships. Drop us a line if you’d like to work with us!
Berit Brogaard, DMSci, PhD (Director, Synesthete)
“Brit” is a Professor of Philosophy with joint appointments in the Departments of Philosophy and Psychology at the University of Miami as well as the Network for Sensory Research at the University of Toronto. Her educational background includes a medical degree in neuroscience and a doctorate in philosophy. Her areas of research include perception, synesthesia, blindsight, consciousness, neuro-psychiatry and emotions. Brit has written over 75 peer-reviewed articles, some three hundred popular articles on neuroscience and health issues and two books: Transient Truths (Oxford) and On Romantic Love (forthcoming). She is currently finishing a third book with Oxford entitled Seeing and Saying as well as working on another book for popular press. Her work has been featured in various public media, including Nightline, ABC News, the Huffington Post, Fox News, MSNBC, Daily Mail, Modesto Bee, and Mumbai Mirror. She is also an editor of the international peer-reviewed philosophy journal Erkenntnis and was the first female President of the Central States Philosophical Association. Brit has fear-color/texture/shape/motion synesthesia. She is currently co-authoring a book with Kristian Marlow, The Superhuman Mind, based in part on research at the lab.
Kristian Marlow (Graduate Student)
Kristian graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Missouri in St. Louis with background interests in computer science. He is now completing his master’s degree in philosophy at UMSL. His current research interests include action theory, philosophy of mind, perception, synesthesia, and the effects of psychoactive drugs. He is President of the UMSL Philosophers’ Forum, a member of the Center for Neurodynamics, and a member of Biological Bases of Behavior (BBOB). He is currently on working on several empirical research projects focused on blindsight, deaf-hearing, synesthetic pop-out, and psilocybin-induced synesthetic-like experiences. He is currently co-authoring a book with Berit Brogaard, The Superhuman Mind, based in part on research at the lab.
Amy Broadway (Graduate Student)
Amy began the master’s program in philosophy at the University of Missouri in St. Louis in January of 2012. She is interested in philosophy of mind and is excited to learn about the minds of synesthetes. Side note: Her brother studies mental functions as a member of the META Lab.
Ben Conover (Undergraduate Student)
Ben is a third year undergraduate student at Saint Louis University (SLU) studying philosophy with a particular focus on neurophilosophy, logic, and ethics. He is the president of the SLU Philosophy Club and a scholastic instructor for the Saint Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center. Ben is excited to work with the well-respected research team. He hopes to further his understanding of neuroscience and synesthesia with the aim of helping to bridge the gap between science and philosophy in useful and thought-provoking ways.
Matt DeStefano (Graduate Student)
Matt earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from California State University in Sacramento. He is currently working on his master’s degree at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. He is interested in philosophy of cognitive science and related issues in philosophy of mind. He hopes that by studying synesthesia, he can better understand the interplay between the cognitive sciences and philosophical issues regarding perceptual knowledge, qualia, and consciousness.
Frank Faries (Graduate Student)
Frank is currently a graduate philosophy student at the University of Missouri in St. Louis, having received a B.A. in philosophy from the same institution. His interests lie at the intersection of philosophy and cognitive science. Specifically, what does a strong naturalistic approach to the mind tell us about consciousness, attention, perception, and well-being? Other interests (philosophical or otherwise) include naturalistic conceptions of the self, group dynamics of social media, the changing role of the villain in film, Japanese language and culture, and racquetball.
Kevin Lepore (Graduate Student)
Kevin earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Elmhurst College in 2010 and now is working toward a master’s degree in philosophy at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. He is interested in philosophy of mind, theories of perception, mental imagery, and memory. He is particularly interested in exploring issues relating to the more neglected sense modalities, like olfaction. He hopes that studying synesthesia will help us make sense of the senses.
Kevin Rice (Graduate Student)
Kevin earned by bachelor’s in philosophy (with honors) and psychology at Simpson College. He is currently working on his master’s degree in philosophy at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. Kevin is particularly interested in chromesthesia and sound symbolism in language. The areas of musical aesthetics and musical semiotics are areas he would like to explore in regard to chromesthesia, and how chromesthete’s unique sound experiences may offer insight into how we emotively, symbolically, and physiologically respond to sound.
Krista Wiley (Graduate Student)
Krista is a second year student in the philosophy master’s program at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. She joined the team at the beginning of 2012. She is interested in working with bilingual synesthetes. In particular, she is interested in the possibility that bilingual synesthetes have different synesthetic experiences for graphemes associated with each individual language.
Tim Tung-Ying Wu (Graduate Student)
After earning his bachelor’s degree in law at National Taiwan University and master’s degree in law atNational Taipei University, Tim is now working toward his master’s in philosophy at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. His research interests include philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and ethics. He is excited to learn more about synesthesia.
Dimitria Electra Gatzia, PhD (Affiliate)
Dimitria is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at The University of Akron Wayne College. She did her postgraduate study at Syracuse University (2000-2007), under the supervision of C. L. Hardin, and was an undergraduate (majoring in Philosophy) at UCLA. Her primary research focuses on issues relating to color and color perception. She is particularly interested in how cognitive psychology and neuroscience can inform our philosophical theories of the relation between perception and cognition. She has published peer-reviewed articles on color and color perception, sense modalities, and synesthesia.
Christoper Owen (Affiliate)
I have a bachelor’s of science in physics, a bachelors of art in mathematics, and a minor in philosophy. I received each from the University of Missouri-St Louis. My interests involve ethical theory and philosophy of mind. I want to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience or neuropsychology after I obtain my master’s in philosophy. Toward that end, I work at Washington University in St Louis as a research technician.
Lidell Simpson (Affiliate, Synesthete)
Lidell is a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in biological science. He is also a member of Delta Phi Alpha German and Phi Theta Kappa honorary societies. Lidell was former Senior Production Control and Operations Analyst at SAKS Incorporated. Today he is active in synesthesia studies and have presented at synesthesia conferences in the United States, Germany, England and Spain. His recent presentation was at the synesthesia workshop at the Toward a Science of Consciousness conference in Tucson Arizona. Lidell and Brit are currently co-authoring a book on what it is like to be a vision-sound synesthete.
Visual Awareness and Cognition Group (Collaborator)
The Brain Research Unit of the O.V. Lounasmaa Laboratory addresses human brain functions at the systems level, mainly by applying non-invasive brain imaging methods that they continuously develop and sharpen. They also design and construct stimulation and monitoring devices to create versatile but controlled stimulus environments for systems neuroscience experiments.
Hannah Bondurant (Alumn)
John Camacho (Alumn)