Dr Caroline Witton

Career History

My BSc degree and PhD were in Physiological Sciences at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, where I worked with Profs Gary Green and Adrian Rees.  I was then a post-doctoral fellow for 3 years at the University of Oxford, before coming to Aston University in 2001. At Aston I have had a number of different administrative roles, in both the teaching and research contexts.

Research Interests

As Director of the Wellcome Trust Lab for MEG Studies in the ABC, I am involved in a range of projects using MEG, most notably a recent £1m project funded by the Wellcome Trust to address the challenges of using MEG technology with children. 

The majority of my personal research focuses on auditory processing, and understanding the potential mechanisms underpinning links between hearing and language development. 

I use both psychophysical and neuroimaging approaches, particularly magnetoencephalography (MEG), in all my research.  A core interest of mine is in the application of MEG to our understanding of clinical disorders, especially during childhood. Neurophysiological measures have great potential to advance our understanding of the causes of individual differences in sensory and cognitive processing, most notably in children and those with cognitive difficulties, where some behavioural measurements become inaccurate.  A key focus of my recent research has been to explore ways of computing sensory threshold from MEG measurements, for application to theories of sensory processing impairment in developmental disorders.

Another current activity is the development of software for measuring auditory psychophysical thresholds in children, and for other language-based measures, using the python programming language.


  • Rossiter HE, Worthen SF, Witton C, Hall SD, Furlong PL. (2013) Gamma oscillatory amplitude encodes stimulus intensity in primary somatosensory cortex. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 7:362.

  • Talcott JB, Witton C, Stein JF. (2013) Probing the neurocognitive trajectories of children's reading skills. Neuropsychologia. 51(3):472-81.

  • Witton C, Patel T, Furlong PL, Henning GB, Worthen SF, Talcott JB. (2012) Sensory thresholds obtained from MEG data: cortical psychometric functions. Neuroimage. 63(3):1249-56.

  • Sutherland ME, Zatorre RJ, Watkins KE, Hervé PY, Leonard G, Pike BG, Witton C, Paus T. (2012) Anatomical correlates of dynamic auditory processing: relationship to literacy during early adolescence. Neuroimage. 60(2):1287-95.

  • Witton C, Hillebrand A, Furlong PL, Henning GB. (2012) A novel binaural pitch elicited by phase-modulated noise: MEG and psychophysical observations. Cerebral Cortex. 22(6):1271-81.

  • Witton C. (2010) Childhood auditory processing disorder as a developmental disorder: the case for a multi-professional approach to diagnosis and management. International Journal of Audiology. 49(2):83-7.

  • Hamalainen, JA, Leppanen, PHT , Eklund, K, Thomson, J, Richardson, U, Guttorm, TK, Witton, C , Poikkeus, AM, Goswami, U, Lyytinen, H, Hamalainen, J. A. (2009) Common variance in amplitude envelope perception tasks and their impact on phoneme duration perception and reading and spelling in Finnish children with reading disabilities.  Applied Psycholinguistics 30(3): 511-530

  • Rochelle KS, Witton C, Talcott JB. (2009) Symptoms of hyperactivity and inattention can mediate deficits of postural stability in developmental dyslexia. Experimental Brain Research. 192(4):627-33

  • Brignell, C, Hall, DA, Witton, C. (2008) Mapping the auditory brain using magnetoencephalography. In: Brain Mapping Research Developments. Ed. Bakker, LN.  Nova Science Publishers Inc .

  • Fisher AE, Furlong PL, Seri S, Adjamian P, Witton C, Baldeweg T, Phillips S, Walsh  R, Houghton JM, Thai NJ. (2008)  Interhemispheric differences of spectral power in expressive language: a MEG study with clinical applications. International Journal of Psychophysiology. 68(2):111-22.

  • Barnes, GR, Simpson, MIG, Hillebrand, A, Hadjipapas, A, Witton, C, Furlong, PL (2007) MEG and complex systems. In Wu, LJ; Ito, K; Tobimatsu, S; Nishida, T; Fukuyama, H (Eds) Complex Medical Engineering  pp 375-382 

  • Henning, GB, Yasin, I, Witton, C. (2007) Remote masking and the binaural masking-level difference In Kollmeier, B; Hohmann, V; Mauermann, M; et al. (Eds) Hearing – from sensory processing to perception. pp 457-466

  • Fisher AE, Barnes GR, Hillebrand A, Holliday IE, Witton C, Richards IL. (2006)
    Abnormality of mismatch negativity in response to tone omission in dyslexic adults.
    Brain research 1077 90-98

  • Simpson MIG, Hadjipapas A, Barnes GR, Furlong PL, Witton C. (2005)
    Imaging the dynamics of the auditory steady-state evoked response.
    Neuroscience letters 385 (3) 195-197

  • Witton, C; Green, GGR; Henning, GB  (2005) Binaural "sluggishness" as a function of stimulus bandwidth. In: Pressnitzer, D; McAdams, S; DeCheveigne, A; et al. (Eds) Auditory Signal Processing: Physiology, psychoacoustics, and models. pp 443-453

  • Hulslander J, Talcott JB, Witton C, DeFries J, Pennington B, Wadsworth S, Willcutt E, Olson R (2004) Sensory processing, reading, IQ and attention.
    Journal of experimental child psychology 88 (3) 274-295

  • Witton C, Simpson MIG, Henning Gb, Rees A, Green GGR. (2003)
    Detection and direction-discrimination of diotic and dichotic ramp modulations in amplitude and phase.  Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 113(1)468-477

  • Foxton JM, Talcott JB, Witton C, Brace H, McIntyre F, Griffiths TD (2003)
    Reading skills are related to global, but not local, acoustic pattern perception.
    Nature Neuroscience 6 (4) 343-344

  • Talcott JB, Gram A, Van Ingelghem M, Witton C, Stein JF, Toennessen FE. (2003)
    Impaired sensitivity to dynamic stimuli in poor readers of a regular orthography.
    Brain and language 87 (2) 259-266

  • Richards, IL. Witton, C, Moores, E, Reddy, P, Rippon, G, Talcott, JB. (2003)
    The Dyslexia Ecosystem: Reply to Nicholson Dyslexia. 9(3) 146-150

  • Witton C, Simpson, MIG, Henning, GB, Rees, A, Green GGR. (2003)
    Detection and direction-discrimination of diotic and dichotic ramp modulations in amplitude and phase Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 113(1) 468-477

  • Rosner, BS, Talcott, JB, Witton C, Hogg, JD, Richardson, AJ, Hansen, PC, & Stein JF. (2003) The perception of ‘sinewave speech’ by adult developmental dyslexics Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research 46(1): 68-79

  • Witton, C, Stein, JF, Stoodley, CJ, Rosner BS, & Talcott, JB (2002)
    Separate Influences of Acoustic AM and FM Sensitivity on the Phonological Decoding Skills of Impaired and Normal Readers
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (14) 866-874

  • Talcott, JB, Witton, C. (2002) A sensory-linguistic approach to the development of normal and dysfunctional reading skills. In: E. Witruk, A.D. Friederici, & T. Lachmann (Eds.), Basic Functions of Language, Reading and Reading Disability (pp 213-240). Boston: Kluwer.

  • Talcott, JB, Witton, C, Hebb, GS, Stoodley, CJ, Westwood, EA, France, SJ, Hansen, PC, Stein, JF. (2002) On the relationship between dynamic visual and auditory processing and literacy skills; results from a large primary-school study.
    Dyslexia 8(4) 204-25

  • C. Witton, G.G.R. Green, A. Rees & G.B. Henning, (2000)
    Monaural and binaural detection of sinusoidal phase-modulation of a 500-Hz tone
    Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 108, 1826-1833.

  • J.B. Talcott C. Witton (2000) A sensory-linguistic approach to normal and dysfunctional reading development.  In Neuropsychology and Cognition; Basic functions of language and language disorders edited by Witruk, Friederici and Lachmann (Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands)

  • Stoodley, CJ, Talcott, JB, Carter, EL, Witton, C, Stein, JF (2000) Selective deficits of vibrotactile sensitivity in dyslexic readers Neuroscience Letters 295 (1-2): 13-16

  • C. Witton, J.B. Talcott, P.C. Hansen, A.J. Richardson, T.D. Griffiths, A. Rees, J.F. Stein, G.G.R. Green, (1998). Sensitivity to dynamic auditory and visual stimuli predicts nonword reading ability in both dyslexics and controls Current Biology 8, 791-797.

  • Talcott, JB, Witton, C, McClean, MF, Hansen, PC, Rees, A, Green, GGR, Stein, JF (2000) Dynamic sensory sensitivity and children's word decoding skills. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 97, 2952-2957.

  • Talcott, JB, Witton, C. McClean, MF, Hansen, PC, Rees, A, Green GGR, Stein JF (1999) Can sensitivity to auditory frequency modulation predict children's phonological and reading skills? NeuroReport, 10, 2045-2050

  • Griffiths, TD, Rees, G, Rees, A, Green, GGR, Witton, C, Rowe, D, Büchel, C, Turner R, Frackowiak, RSJ. (1998). Right parietal cortex is involved in the perception of sound movement in humans. Nature Neuroscience 1, 74-79

  • Griffiths, TD, Bates, D, Rees, A, Witton, C, Gholkar A, Green GGR. (1997)
    Sound movement detection deficit due to brainstem lesion Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 62, 522-526.

  • Griffiths, TD, Rees, A, Witton C, Cross, PM, Shakir RA, Green GGR. (1997)
    Spatial and temporal auditory processing deficits following right hemisphere infarction: A psychophysical study Brain 120, 785-794.

  • Griffiths, TD, Rees, A, Witton, C, Shakir, RA, Henning, GB, Green, GGR. (1995)
    Evidence for a sound movement area in the human cerebral cortex Nature 383, 425-427.

                      Dr Caroline Witton / Aston University / last updated September 2013