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Department of Cognitive Science

Dr Nathan Caruana

BPsych Macq, PhD Macq.

Nathan Caruana

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Contact Details

Office : 3.626
Phone : +61 2 9850 2989
Fax : +61 2 9850 6059
email : nathan.caruana@mq.edu.au
Homepage : http://www.ccd.edu.au/people/profile.php?memberID=679
ORCID : http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9676-814X

External Address

Department of Cognitive Science
Australian Hearing Hub
16 University Avenue
Macquarie University NSW 2109

I also have a profile at the ARC Centre for Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders.

Profile

I completed my Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) in 2011 at Macquarie University working with Dr Jon Brock. For my honours project I used eye tracking to investigate the ability to integrate context during reading. Specifically, I was interested in the relationship between this ability and subclinical autistic traits.

I commenced my PhD in 2012 under the supervision of A/Prof Genevieve McArthur, Dr Jon Brock, and Dr Alexandra Woolgar.

During my PhD I developed new virtual reality paradigms to investigate the cognitive and neural mechanisms of joint attention and social interaction in typical development and in adults diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

I completed my PhD in 2015 and am currently working on a number of projects in which we are investigating the neural mechanisms of gaze processing and gaze-based communication in adults diagnosed with schizophrenia.

In my research, I use a range of techniques, including, eye tracking, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).

Aside from my research in social cognition and neuroscience, I am also involved in a number of literacy research projects investigating reading and spelling in adults and adolescents.

External Appointments

  • Reviewer, Social Cognition and Affective Neuroscience. (2015 continuing)
  • Reviewer, NeuroImage. (2014 continuing)

Awards

  • Macquarie University Excellence in Higher Degree Research - Humanities, Business and Social Sciences (2017), Caruana, N. The cognitive and neural mechanisms of joint attention: A second person approach.
  • Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Science, The David Hall Prize (2016), Caruana, N.
  • Macquarie University Vice Chancellor’s Commendation for Academic Excellence (2016), Caruana, N. Dissertation ranked in top 5% of field and awarded with no corrections.
  • CCD Excellence in Research Student Award: Outstanding 2015 Publication (2016), Caruana, N. for "Caruana, N., Brock, J., & Woolgar A. (2015). A frontotemporoparietal network common to initiating and responding to joint attention bids." NeuroImage.
  • Macquarie University, Department of Cognitive Science Postgraduate Research Grant - Commendation (2015), Caruana, N.
  • CCD Annual Workshop Highly Commended Poster Award (2014), Caruana, N.
  • Macquarie University, Department of Cognitive Science Postgraduate Research Grant - Commendation (2014), Caruana, N.

Grants Awarded

  • ARC CCD Neural Markers Training Scheme (2017) "Decoding joint attention processes using interactive eye-tracking and multivoxel pattern analysis." Caruana, N., Woolgar, A., Seymour, K., Brock, J., McArthur, G., & Hardwick, K. ($17,478)
  • Macquarie University Strategic Infrastructure Scheme (2017) "Mobile eyetracking laboratory." Kruger, J., Boisvert, I., Pachman, M., Kruger, H., Blythe, J., Benders, T., Fang, J., Badcock, N., Brooks, K.R., Caruana, N., Stephen, I., & Mitchison, D. ($132,888)
  • ARC CCD Cross Program Support Scheme (2016) "Evaluating the achievement of joint attention in schizophrenia: An ERP and virtual reality study." Caruana, N., Langdon, R., Seymour, K., McArthur, G., Rhodes, G., Kloth, N., & Murphy, C. ($39,947)
  • ARC CCD Neural Markers Training Scheme (2016) "How does impaired letter position coding affect lexical representations? An eye tracking study." Schubert, T., Kohnen, S., Castles, A., Nickels, L., Caruana, N., & de Lissa, P. ($5,180)
  • ARC CCD Cross Program Support Scheme (2016) "A new approach to study the neural basis of distorted gaze perception in schizophrenia: assessing neural coding of gaze directions." Seymour, K., Langdon, R., Caruana, N., Rhodes, G., Clifford, C., Wardle, S., & Johnson, B. ($39,790)
  • ARC CCD Cross Program Support Scheme (2016 - 2017) "Should I trust you? Appearance-based trust behaviour in schizophrenia." Sutherland, C., Rhodes, G., Langdon, R., Caruana, N., Connaughton, E., Ewing, L., & Williams, N. ($39,287)
  • Macquarie University Faculty of Human Sciences Equipment Grant (2015) "Elastic caps for electroencephalogram (EEG) electrode placement." Badcock, N., Caruana, N., de Lissa, P., Boisvert, I., Sharma, M., McMahon, C., Demuth, K., & McArthur, G. ($2,902)
  • ARC CCD Cross Program Support Scheme (2015) "The effect of brain stimulation on reading training in dyslexia." McArthur, G., Sowman, P., Bishop, D., Savage, G., Caruana, N., & Francis, D. ($39,000)
  • Macquarie University Postgraduate Research Fund (PGRF) (2014) Caruana, N. ($5,000)
  • Macquarie University Faculty of Human Sciences Equipment Grant Scheme (2014) "A magstim brain stimulation system for home-based treatment trials." McArthur, G., Sowman, P., Savage, G., Caruana, N., & Francis, D. ($10,000)

Media Engagement

Selected Teaching Experience

  • PSYC104 - Introduction to Psychology I, Tutor (2013 - 2014)
  • PSYC105 - Introduction to Psychology II, Tutor (2012 - 2013)
  • PSY 246 - Cognitive Processes, Tutor (2013 - 2014)
  • COGS201 - Disorders and Delusions of Mind, Tutor (2013 - 2014)

Selected Publications

Book Chapters

  • Brock, J., & Caruana, N. (2014). Reading for sound and reading for meaning in autism: Frith and Snowling (1983) revisited. In J. Arciuli & J. Brock (Eds.), Communication in autism (Trends in language acquisition research series) (pp. 121-142). Amsterdam, Netherlands: John Benjamins.

Periodicals

  • Caruana, N., de Lissa, P., & McArthur, G. (2017). Beliefs about human agency influence the neural processing of gaze during joint attention. Social Neuroscience, 12(2), 194-206. doi:10.1080/17470919.2016.1160953
  • Caruana, N., McArthur, G., Woolgar, A., & Brock, J. (2017). Detecting communicative intent in a computerised test of joint attention. PeerJ, 5, e2899. doi:10.7717/peerj.2899
  • Caruana, N., McArthur, G., Woolgar, A., & Brock, J. (2017). Simulating social interactions for the experimental investigation of joint attention. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 74(Part A), 115-125. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.12.022
  • Caruana, N., Spirou, D., & Brock, J. (2017). Human agency beliefs influence behaviour during virtual social interactions. PeerJ, 5, e3819. doi:10.7717/peerj.3819
  • Caruana, N., Stieglitz Ham, H., Brock, J., Woolgar, A., Kloth, N., Palermo, R., & McArthur, G. (In Press). Joint attention difficulties in autistic adults: An interactive eye-tracking study. Autism. doi:10.1177/1362361316676204
  • McArthur, G.M., Francis, D., Caruana, N., Boyes, M.E., & Badcock, N. (2016). Self-concept in poor readers: A systematic review protocol. PeerJ Preprints, 4, e2062v1. doi:10.7287/peerj.preprints.2062v1
  • Caruana, N., Brock, J., & Woolgar, A. (2015). A frontotemporoparietal network common to initiating and responding to joint attention bids. NeuroImage, 108, 34-46. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.12.041
  • Caruana, N., de Lissa, P., & McArthur, G. (2015). The neural time course of evaluating self-initiated joint attention bids. Brain and Cognition, 98, 43-52. doi:10.1016/j.bandc.2015.06.001
  • Caruana, N., & Brock, J. (2014). No association between autistic traits and contextual influences on eye-movements during reading. PeerJ, 2, e466.

Published Abstracts

  • Caruana, N. (2016). The cognitive and neural mechanisms of joint attention: A second person approach [Abstract]. Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales, 149, 85-86.
  • Caruana, N., Brock, J, & Woolgar, A. (2014). A frontotemporoparietal network common to initiating and responding to joint attention bids, cognitive processing [Abstract]. Cognitive Processing, Special Issue: Proceedings of KogWis 2014, 12th Biannual Conference of the German Cognitive Science Society, 15(Suppl. 1), S93-S94. doi:10.1007/s10339-014-0632-2
  • Caruana, N., Brock, J., & Woolgar, A. (2014). Cooperative interactions to investigate the neural correlates of joint attention [Abstract]. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, XII International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience (ICON-XII). doi:10.3389/conf.fnhum.2015.217.00046

Conference Presentations, Colloquia, and other presentations

  • Francis, D., Caruana, N., Hudson, J., & McArthur, G. (2017, March). The association between poor reading and anxiety and depression: A systematic review and meta analysis. Paper presented at the Language, Literacy and Learning Conference, Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, Perth.
  • Caruana, N., de Lissa, P., & McArthur, G. (2016, November). Human agency beliefs influence the neural processing of gaze during joint attention. Poster session presented at the 6th Australian Cognitive Neuroscience Society Conference (ACNS), Shoal Bay.
  • Caruana, N. (2016, September). Using virtual interactions to investigate the neurocognitive mechanisms of joint attention. Colloquium at the School of Psychology, Flinders University, Adelaide.
  • Caruana, N. (2016, September). The neurocognitive mechanisms of joint attention in typical and atypical neurodevelopment. Colloquium at the Centre for Atypical Neurodevelopment, Sydney.
  • Caruana, N., Brock, J., & Woolgar, A. (2016, August). A frontotemporoparietal network common to initiating and responding to joint attention bids. Paper presented at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders Annual Workshop, The Fairmont Resort, Leura.
  • Caruana, N., de Lissa, P., & McArthur, G. (2016, August). The neural time course of evaluating joint attention experiences and the role of agency beliefs. Poster session presented at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders Annual Workshop, The Fairmont Resort, Leura.
  • Caruana, N., Brock, J., Woolgar, A., de Lissa, P., & McArthur, G. (2016, July). Let’s play: Using virtual reality games to investigate the neurocognitive mechanisms of joint attention. Paper presented at the Interdisciplinary Summer School on Social Cognition: From Interactions to Intersubjectivity, Aegina, Greece.
  • Caruana, N., Brock, J., Woolgar, A., de Lissa, P., & McArthur, G. (2016, July). Let’s play: Using virtual reality games to investigate the neurocognitive mechanisms of joint attention. Poster session presented at the Interdisciplinary Summer School on Social Cognition: From Interactions to Intersubjectivity, Aegina, Greece.
  • Caruana, N. (2016, June). The influence of agency beliefs on the neural processing of joint attention experiences. Paper presented at the 3rd Annual Australasian Society for Social and Affective Neuroscience (AS4SAN) Meeting, University of Technology, Sydney.
  • Caruana, N. (2016, April). EEG. Presentation given at the CCD High School Work Experience Program, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Caruana, N., Sowman, P., Badcock, N., & McArthur, G. (2015, November). Improved spelling performance during left temporal transcranial direct current stimulation. Poster session presented at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders Annual Workshop, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Caruana, N., Woolgar, A., Brock, J., de Lissa, P., & McArthur, G. (2015, January). Using virtual reality to investigate the neural correlates of gaze-based interactions. Invited colloquium at the School of Psychology Person Perception Seminar Series, University of Western Australia, Perth.
  • Caruana, N., Brock, J., & Woolgar, A. (2014, October). The neural correlates common to initiating and responding to joint attention bids. Poster session presented at the Federation of European Neuroscience Society Conference: "The Social Brain", Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Caruana, N., Woolgar, A., Brock, J., de Lissa, P., & McArthur, G. (2014, October). The neural processing of gaze shifts: From joint attention to mental representations. Invited colloquium at the The Interacting Minds Centre, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.
  • Caruana, N., Brock, J., & Woolgar, A. (2014, September). A frontotemporoparietal network common to initiating and responding to joint attention bids. Paper presented at the 12th Biannual Conference of the German Cognitive Science Society (KOGWIS), Tubingen, Germany.
  • Caruana, N., Brock, J., & Woolgar, A. (2014, September). Investigating the neural correlates common to initiating and responding to joint attention bids: A virtual reality approach. Poster session presented at the 10th NeuroVisionen Conference, Julich, Germany.
  • Caruana, N., Woolgar, A., Brock, J., de Lissa, P., & McArthur, G. (2014, September). Using virtual reality to investigate the neural correlates of social interaction. Colloquium at the CCD Seminar Series, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Caruana, N., Woolgar, A., Brock, J., de Lissa, P., & McArthur, G. (2014, September). Developing virtual reality methods for investigating the neural correlates of social interaction. Colloquium at the Second Person Neuroscience Group, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.
  • Caruana, N., Brock, J., & Woolgar, A. (2014, August). Evidence for a parallel and distributed processing model of joint attention. Poster session presented at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders Annual Workshop, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Caruana, N., Woolgar, A., Brock, J., de Lissa, P., & McArthur, G. (2014, August). Investigating the neural correlates of joint attention and gaze evaluation: A virtual reality approach. Invited colloquium at the MARCS Institute, University of Western Sydney, Sydney.
  • Caruana, N., Brock, J., & Woolgar, A. (2014, July). Simulating cooperative interactions to investigate the neural correlates of joint attention. Poster session presented at the 12th International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience (ICON), Brisbane.
  • Caruana, N., Woolgar, A., & Brock, J. (2013, June). Investigating joint attention in the second person: An MEG and eye tracking study. Poster session presented at the Interdisciplinary Summer School on Embodied Intersubjectivity: The 1st person and 2nd person perspective, Aegina, Greece.
  • Caruana, N., Woolgar, A., & Brock, J. (2013, June). A virtual meeting of minds: Using MEG and Eye tracking to interactively measure joint attention. Poster session presented at the 2nd Paris-Aarhus Conference on Coordination and Common Ground: Minds in Common, Paris, France.
  • Caruana, N., Woolgar, A., & Brock, J. (2013, June). Investigating joint attention using saccade-related beamforming: An MEG case study. Colloquium at the Departments of Cognitive Science, Psychology, Philosophy and Engineering, University of Malta, Msdia, Malta.
  • Brock, J., Caruana, N., & Sowman, P. (2012, December). Picture naming and the language bottleneck in autism. Paper presented at the Inaugural Scientific Conference of the Australasian Society for Autism Research (ASfAR), Sydney.
  • Caruana, N., Woolgar, A., & Brock, J. (2012, December). An interactive eye-tracking test of joint attention. Paper presented at the Inaugural Scientific Conference of the Australasian Society for Autism Research (ASfAR), Sydney.
  • Caruana, N., & Brock, J. (2012, May). Autistic traits and eye-movements during reading. Poster session presented at the 12th Annual Meeting of the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR), Toronto, Canada.
  • Caruana, N., & Brock, J. (2012, April). Autistic traits and eye-movements during reading. Poster session presented at the 39th Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference (EPC), Sydney.
  • Caruana, N. & Brock, J. (2011, December). Autistic traits and eye-movements during reading. Paper presented at the Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Conference - 21st Meeting of the Australasian Society for Psychophysiology, Macquarie University, Sydney.

Further Information

Seminars

Who is Visiting

Contact Details

Telephone: (02) 9850 9599
Fax : (02) 9850 6059
Email : cogsci@mq.edu.au
Web : www.cogsci.mq.edu.au