The majority of research in the lab falls into six themes:

Perceptual Awareness

There are a million different ways to study perceptual awareness. Much of the work in our lab focuses on ambiguous stimuli and other illusions that involve big perceptual changes despite no change in the presented stimuli. MORE...

Magic Mushroom
Perceptual Pharmacology

To investigate the role that neurotransmitter systems play in cognitive and sensory processing we have explored the effect of different psychoactive drugs on perception and cognition in healthy people. MORE...

Pupil Animation
Pupil Dilation

We use pupil dilation to investigate the role of noradrenaline and arousal in decision making. We are also exploring ways to use this signal to communicate with people suffering from severe motor paralysis. MORE...

Sensory Processing & Psychosis

A number of psychiatric conditions are associated with altered sensory experiences e.g., psychotic disorders. Using carefully controlled psychophysical methods we investigate the association between specific symptom profiles and changes in sensory and cognitive processing. MORE...

Electrical stimulation
Brain stimulation

Current technologies claim to alter neural activity with the use of magnetic or electrical stimulation externally applied to the head. We are interested in understanding the impact of these low levels of electrical stimulation (e.g. tDCS) in terms of the nature and reliability of the effects induced. MORE...

Neuroscience & Society

In parallel to the lab’s scientific investigation in understanding individual’s conscious experience or cognitive function, there is an interest in considering the neuroethical and societal impacts of neuroscientific advances in understanding and manipulating brain function. MORE...

Lab Members


A/Prof Olivia Carter

ARC Future Fellow

Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne

Rm 811, Level 8, Redmond Barry Bldg
+61 3 83446372


  • University of Melbourne Lab Webpage
  • University of Melbourne Staff Profile
  • Google Scholar Profile
  • The Conversation - Babies vs Science

    Lab Contact Details

    +61 3 83444225
    Rm 1101, Level 11, Redmond Barry Bldg


    Virginia Ping Liu

    Post Doc

    Research interest

    • Visual attention
    • Eyetracking
    • HCI

    Anna Antinori

    PhD. candidate

    Research interest

    • Visual perceptual awareness
    • Personality traits
    • Decision making

    Hayley Darke

    PhD. candidate

    Research interest

    • Facing processing
    • Schizophrenia
    • Emotion processing

    Rachael Hadoux

    PhD. candidate

    Research interest

    • Social Perception
    • Stereotyping
    • Attribution Theory

    Toby Woods

    PhD. candidate

    Research interest

    • Cognitive Science
    • Philosophy of Mind
    • Meditation

    Jody Stanley

    PhD. candidate

    Research interest

    • Visual Perception
    • Perceptual Rivalry
    • Psychopharmacology


    Journal Articles


    • Liu, P., Forte, J., Sewell, D. & Carter. O. (In Press) Cognitive load effects on early visual perceptual processing Attention, Perception and Psychophysics (accepted 22 Nov 2017)


    • Carter, O., Bennett, D., Nash, T., Arnold, S., Brown, L., Cai, R. Y., Allan, Z., Dluzniak, A., McAnally. K., Burr, D., & Sundram. S. (2017). Sensory integration deficits support a dimensional view of psychosis and are not limited to schizophrenia. Translational Psychiatry 7: e1118. [PDF]
    • Pitchmaimuthu, K., Wu, Q., Carter, O., Nguyen., B., Ahn, S., Egan., G. & McKendrick, A. (2017) Occipital GABA levels in older adults and their relationship to visual perceptual suppression. Scientific Reports 7: 14231 [URL]
    • Riddell, C., Jensen, C. & Carter, O. (2017) Cognitive Enhancement and Coping in an Australian University Student Sample. Journal of Cognitive Enhancement 1-7 [PDF]
    • Antinori, A., Carter, O. & Smillie, L. (2017). Seeing It Both Ways: Openness to Experience and Binocular Rivalry Suppression. Journal of Research in Personality 68: 15-22. [PDF]
    • Antinori, A., Smillie, L. & Carter, O. (2017). Personality Measures Link Slower Binocular Rivalry Switch Rates to Higher Levels of Self-Discipline. Front Psychol 7: 2008. [PDF]
    • Bryson, A., Carter, O., Norman, T. & Kanaan, R. (2017). 5-HT2A Agonists: A Novel Therapy for Functional Neurological Disorders? Int J Neuropsychopharmacology 20(5): 422-27. [PDF]


    • Carter, O., & Forte, J. (2016). Regulate devices for brain stimulation. Nature 533(7602): 179–179. [PDF]
    • Bennett, D., Dluzniak, A., Cropper, S. & Partos, T., Sundram, S. & Carter, O. (2016). Selective impairment of global motion integration, but not global form detection, in schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder. Schizophrenia Research: Cognition 3: 11-14. [PDF]
    • Howe, P. & Carter, O. (2016). Hallucinations and mental imagery demonstrate top-down effects on visual perception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39: e248.[PDF]
    • Horvath, J., Carter, O., & Forte, J. (2016). No significant effect of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) found on simple motor reaction time comparing 15 different simulation protocols. Neuropsychologia 91: 544–52. [PDF]
    • Horvath, J., Vogrin, S., Carter, O., Cook, M. & Forte, J. (2016). Effects of a common transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) protocol on motor evoked potentials found to be highly variable within individuals over 9 testing sessions. Experimental Brain Research 234(9): 2629–42. [PDF]


    • Horvath, J., Forte, J. & Carter, O. (2015). Quantitative Review Finds No Evidence of Cognitive Effects in Healthy Populations From Single-session Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS). Brain Stimulation 8(3): 535–50. [PDF]
    • Horvath, J., Forte, J. & Carter, O. (2015). Evidence that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) generates little-to-no reliable neurophysiologic effect beyond MEP amplitude modulation in healthy human subjects: A systematic review: Neuropsychologia 66: 213-36. [PDF]


    • Carter, O., Snyder, J., Fung, S., & Rubin, N. (2014). Using ambiguous plaid stimuli to investigate the influence of immediate prior experience on perception. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics 76(1): 133–147. [PDF]
    • Horvath, J. C., Carter, O., & Forte, J. D. (2014). Transcranial direct current stimulation: five important issues we aren't discussing (but probably should be). Front Syst Neurosci 8: 2. [PDF]
    • O'Connor, D. A., Meade, B., Carter, O., Rossiter, S., & Hester, R. (2014). Behavioral sensitivity to reward is reduced for far objects. Psychological Science 25(1): 271–77. [PDF]


    • Stoll, J., Chatelle, C., Carter, O., Koch, C., Laureys, S., & Einhäuser, W. (2013). Pupil responses allow communication in locked-in syndrome patients. Current Biology 23(15): R647–8. [PDF]
    • Barutchu, A., Carter, O., Hester, R., & Levy, N. (2013). Strength in cognitive self-regulation. Front Psychol 4: 174, 1-10 [PDF]
    • Barutchu, A., Becker, S., Carter, O., Hester, R., & Levy, N. (2013). The Role of Task-Related Learned Representations in Explaining Asymmetries in Task Switching. PLoS One 8(4): 1-10. [PDF]
    • Darke, H., Peterman, J. S., Park, S., Sundram, S., & Carter, O. (2013). Are patients with schizophrenia impaired in processing non-emotional features of human faces? Front Psychol 4: 529, 1-8. [PDF]
    • Naber, M., Stoll, J., Einhäuser, W., & Carter, O. (2013). How to become a mentalist: reading decisions from a competitor's pupil can be achieved without training but requires instruction. PloS One 8(8): e73302. [PDF]


    • Kometer, M., Cahn, B., Andel, D., Carter, O. & Vollenweider, F. (2011) 5-HT2A/1A agonist psilocybin disrupts modal object completion associated with visual hallucinations. Biological Psychiatry 69(5): 399-406.[PDF]
    • McKendrick, A., Battista, J., Snyder, J. & Carter, O. (2011) Visual and auditory perceptual rivalry in migraine. Cephalalgia 31(11): 58-69. [PDF]
    • Cocchi, L., Toepel, U., De Lucia, M., Martuzzi, R., Wood, S., Carter, O. & Murray, M. (2011) Working memory load improves early stages of independent visual processing. Neuropsychologia 49(1): 92-102. [PDF]
    • Cocchi, L., Zalesky, A., Toepel, U., Whitford, J., De Lucia, M., Murray, M. & Carter, O. (2011) Dynamic changes in brain functional connectivity during concurrent dual-task performance. PLoS One 6(11): e28301 1-9. [PDF]
    • Stanley, J., Forte, J., Cavanagh, P. & Carter, O. (2011) Onset rivalry: the initial dominance phase is independent of ongoing perceptual alternations. Front Hum Neurosci 5:140. [PDF]
    • Stanley, J., Carter, O. & Forte, J. (2011) Color and luminance influence, but can not explain, binocular rivalry onset bias PLoS One 6(5): e18978 1-9. [PDF]


    • Einhäuser, W., Koch, C. & Carter, O. (2010) Pupil dilation betrays the timing of decisions. Front Hum Neurosci 4(18): 1-9. [PDF]


    • Snyder, J., Carter, O., Hannon, E. & Alain. C. (2009) Adaptation reveals multiple levels of representation in auditory stream segregation. J Exp Psychol: Hum Percept Perform 35(4): 1232-44. [PDF]
    • Snyder, J., Holder, W. T., Weintraub, D., Carter, O. & Alain, C. (2009) Effects of prior stimulus and prior perception on neural correlates of auditory stream segregation. Psychophysiology 46(6): 1208-15. [PDF]
    • Naber, M., Carter, O., & Verstraten, F. (2009) Suppression wave dynamics: visual field anisotropies and inducer strength. Vision Research 49(14): 1805-13. [PDF]
    • Cocchi, L., Bosisio, F., Carter, O., Wood, S., Berchtold, A., Conus, P., Orita, A., Debbané, M. & Schenk, F. (2009) Visuospatial working memory deficits and visual pursuit impairments are not directly related in schizophrenia. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 43:766-74. [PDF]


    • Einhäuser, W., Stout, J., Koch, C. & Carter, O. (2008) Pupil dilation reflects perceptual selection and predicts subsequent stability in perceptual rivalry. Proc Natl Acad Sci 105(5): 1704-09. [PDF]
    • Snyder, J., Carter, O., Lee, S.K., Hannon, E. & Alain. C. (2008) Effects of Context on Auditory Stream Segregation. J Exp Psychol: Hum Percept Perform 34(4):1007-16. [PDF]
    • Einhäuser, W., Stout, J., Koch, C. & Carter, O. (2008) Reply to Hupé et al.: The predictive correlation of pupil dilation and relative dominance duration in rivalry is not a statistical artifact. Proc Natl Acad Sci 105:E44. [PDF]
    • Carter, O., Konkle, T., Wang, Q., Hayward, V. & Moore, C. (2008) Tactile rivalry demonstrated with ambiguous apparent motion quartet. Current Biology 18(4):1050-54 [PDF]


    • Wittmann, M., Carter, O., Grimberg, U., Hasler, F., Cahn, R., Hell, D., Flohr, H. & Vollenweider, F. X. (2007) Effects of psilocybin on time perception and temporal control of behaviour in humans. J Psychopharmacology 21(1): 50-64. [PDF]
    • Carter, O. & Cavanagh, P. (2007) Onset rivalry: Brief presentation isolates an early independent phase of perceptual competition PLoS One 2(4): e343. [PDF]
    • Carter, O., Hasler, F., Pettigrew, J.D., Wallis, G., Liu, G. B. & Vollenweider, F. X. (2007) Psilocybin links binocular rivalry switch rate to attention and subjective arousal levels in humans. Psychopharmacology 195: 415-24 [PDF]


    • Carter, O., Presti, D., Callistemon, C., Liu, G. B., Ungerer, Y. & Pettigrew, J. D. (2005) Meditation Alters Perceptual Rivalry in Tibetan Buddhist Monks. Current Biology 15(11): R412-R413. [PDF]
    • Carter, O. L., Pettigrew, J. D., Hasler, F., Wallis, G. M., Liu, G. B., Hell, D., & Vollenweider, F. X. (2005). Modulating the rate and rhythmicity of perceptual rivalry alternations with the mixed 5-HT2A and 5-HT1A agonist psilocybin. Neuropsychopharmacology 30(6), 1154–62. [PDF]
    • Carter, O., Burr, D., Pettigrew, J. D., Wallis, G. M., Hasler, F. & Vollenweider, F. X. (2005) Using psilocybin to investigate the relationship between attention, working memory and the Serotonin1A and 2A receptors. J Cog Neuroscience 17(10): 1497-1508. [PDF]


    • Carter, O., Campbell, T., Liu, G. B. & Wallis, G. (2004) Contradictory influence of context on predominance during binocular rivalry. Clin Exp Optom 87 (3): 153-162. [PDF]
    • Carter, O., Pettigrew, J., Burr, D., Alais, D., Hasler, F. & Vollenweider, F. X. (2004) Psilocybin impairs high-level but not low-level motion perception. Neuroreport 15 (12): 1947-51.[PDF]


    • Carter, O. & Pettigrew, J. (2003) A Common Oscillator for Perceptual Rivalries? Perception 32 (3): 295-305. [PDF]


    • Pettigrew, J. & Carter, O. (2002) Vision as motivation: interhemispheric oscillation alters perception. Adv Exp Med Biol 508: 461-9 [PDF]

    Book Chapters

    • Pettigrew, J. & Carter, O. (2004) Perceptual Rivalry as an Ultradian Oscillation. In: Binocular rivalry. (Eds.) David Alais and Randolph Blake, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA [PDF]

    Popular Media

    • Carter, O., (2012 ongoing). Babies versus Science (a regular column charting the impact of science on a baby's development and the impact of a baby on a scientist's development). The conversation.
    • Carter, O., (2014). The Neuroscience of Gambling The Footy Almanac.
    • Carter, O., (2011). Drugs to enhance us will enchant us … especially if there are no side effects. The Conversation.