Mihaela Taranu

Project: Commonalities and differences in visual and auditory multistability

Investigate the relationships between perceptual switching in visual and auditory multistable stimuli, executive functions, creativity, and personality.

Research Interests

Perceptual multistability is a useful tool for investigating the neural correlates of perceptual awareness without stimulus confounds; people switch between different perceptions of the same unchanging sensory signal. In this project, I am exploring primarily to what extent visual and auditory multistable perception share common or different mechanisms. Then, I want to explore to what degree there are individual differences in perceptual switching behaviour and what are the associations with cognitive aspects such as, executive functions or creativity and with personality. Finally, I want to understand whether these mechanisms are manifested the same through childhood.

The first set of experiments investigated the effects of level of processing and modality on the switching rates in both visual and auditory bistable stimuli. The same experiments were investigated with children in order to understand age-related differences in switching rates. Finally, rTMS was used to investigate to what extent superior parietal cortex is involved causally in both visual and auditory multistability. Results of these experiments are already ready to be included in my PhD thesis. Please don't hesitate to e-mail me if there is anything you want me to elaborate on.


I graduated the Faculty of Psychology and two Masters (one in School Counseling: Health and Mental Develompent and another in Organizational Development and Human Resources), at Babeș Bolyai University from Cluj Napoca, Romania. Here, I met some professors who had a great impact on my career path and I started to do research in cognitive psychology under the supervision of Thea Ionescu in the Developmental Pychology Laboratory. The main interest of my research was embodied cognition. More specifically, I investigated the way in which space influences reasoning abilities in mathematical expressions in both experts and novices. Moreover, beside my own studies, I participated in the laboratory discussions about flexibility and categorization studies of Thea Ionescu, PhD.

Beside my research activity I have a big interest in children and adults education. I have worked as a trainer in some EU funded projects and I have really enjoyed that work. Also, I have an extensive experience with NGO’s volunteering which is related to educational aspects.

"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood." (Marie Curie)


From 2014
PhD student at Plymouth University (supervisors: Prof. Sue Denham & Dr. Marina Wimmer)
2011 - 2011
Master of School Counseling and Mental Development (University of Babes Bolyai, Cluj Napoca, Romania)
2011 - 2013
Master of Human Resources and Organizational Development (University of Babes Bolyai, Cluj Napoca, Romania)
2008 - 2011
Bachelor of Psychology (University of Babes Bolyai, Cluj Napoca, Romania)

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