Lawrence Edward Marks PhD

Professor of Epidemiology (Environmental Health) and of Psychology

Research Interests

Human sensory, perceptual, and cognitive function; Psychophysics; Synesthesia

Current Projects

  • Mechanisms of Multisensory Flavor Identification
  • Interactions of Cognitive and Sensory Processes in Flavor Perception

Research Summary

Professor Marks develops quantitative, psychophysical models to account for sensory and perceptual responses to environmental stimuli. His current research is directed in particular at elucidating the mechanisms by which perceptual systems combine information from multiple sensory modalities and cognitive processes modify and modulate perceptual information. Of special interest are the mechanisms of multisensory integration and interaction involved in the perception of flavors. The flavors of foods and beverages come partly from molecules that stimulate gustatory (taste) receptors on the tongue, but importantly – often most importantly – from molecules that stimulate olfactory receptors in the nose. The perception of flavor is a critical factor controlling the intake of food. And the intake of food, in turn, is critical to the energy balance of the body, a topic central to the mission of the John B. Pierce Laboratory.

Selected Publications

  • Marks, L.E., & Mulvenna, C.M. (2013). Synesthesia on our mind. Theoria et Historia Scientiarum, 10, 13-35.
  • Brewer, J., Shepard, T.G., Shavit, A.Y., Veldhuizen, M.G., Parikh, R. & Marks, L.E. (2013). Identification of gustatory-olfactory flavors mixtures: Effects of linguistic labeling. Chemical Senses, 38, 305-313.
  • Marks, L.E., & Mulvenna, C.M. (2013). Synesthesia, at and near its borders. Frontiers in Psychology, doi: 10.3389/fsyg.2013.00651
  • Marks, L.E. (2013). Weak synaesthesia in the general population. In J. Simner and E. Hubbard (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Synaesthesia. Oxford: Oxford University Press, in press.
  • Marks, L.E., Veldhuizen, M.G., Shepard, T.G., & Shavit, A.Y. (2012). Detecting gustatory-olfactory flavor mixtures: Models of probability summation. Chemical Senses, 37, 263-277. (PMID: 22075720)
  • Marks, L.E., Shepard, T.G., Burger, K., & Chakwin, E.M. (2012) Flavor-intensity perception: Effects of stimulus context. Physiology & Behavior, 105, 443-450. (PMID: 21930139)
  • Marks, L.E. (2011). Synesthesia: Then and now. Intellectica [Journal of the French Association for Cognitive Research], 55, 47-80.
  • Veldhuizen, M.G., Shepard, T.G., Wang, M.-F., & Marks, L.E. (2010). Coactivation of gustatory and olfactory signals in flavor perception. Chemical Senses, 35, 121-133. (PMCID: PMC2805810)

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