My research interests are in the areas of object recognition, visual attention, perception and action, and perception of aesthetic appeal. Within the area of object recognition, I am interested in the nature of representations underlying object recognition and object-related action. Within the area of attention, I am examining attentional mechanisms underlying object-based attentional selection, the representation of object shape and its functional properties and their effect on action preparation. My work on aesthetic appeal examines the factors that make humans like or dislike visual objects.

Areas of Expertise

  • Object-based attention
  • Object memory
  • Perception-action
  • Object recognition
  • Perception of aestehtic appeal

Publications

  1. & Memorable objects are more susceptible to forgetting: Evidence for the inhibitory account of retrieval-induced forgetting. Acta Psychologica 181, 51-61.
  2. & What makes icons appealing? The role of processing fluency in predicting icon appeal in different task contexts. Applied Ergonomics 55, 156-172.
  3. & The role of surface-based representations of shape in visual object recognition. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 68(12), 2351-2369.
  4. & When the going gets tough the beautiful get going: aesthetic appeal facilitates task performance. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 22(5), 1243-1254.
  5. & The fickle nature of similarity change as a result of categorization. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 67(12), 2425-2438.

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Teaching

  • PS-M15 Special Research Skills

    Specialists from a variety of fields in psychology discuss the methods used in their own research area. The subject areas will vary from year to year depending upon the current research interests and activities of the staff. Each seminar is grounded by showing the application of these methods to a particular theory or issue in psychology. Students select two options from those presented (one in TB1 and TB2) and write an essay after consultation with the presenter on a topic geared to their own research interests.

  • PSA111 Cognition I: Basic Processes

    The module introduces key theoretical and methodological issues in three main areas of cogntive psychology: Attention, Perception and Memory. Following a historical review of cognitive psychology, the students are introduced to research topics surrounding each of these areas of cognition. The module will introduce students to the different methodologies used during the past 50 years to study cognition and later concentrate on discussing the basic perceptual, attentional and memory processes. This module also explores in more depth the current research topics and the rigorous scientific debates surrounding these areas of cognition. The module will concentrate on the way modern methodologies can be used to probe mental capabilities and discover facts about the way our brains receive, process and act upon information from different sensory modalities.

  • PSY111 Cognition I: Basic Processes

    The module introduces key theoretical and methodological issues in three main areas of cognitive psychology: Attention, Perception and Memory. Following a historical review of cognitive psychology, the students are introduced to research topics surrounding each of these areas of cognition. The module will introduce students to the different methodologies used during the past 50 years to study cognition and later concentrate on discussing the basic perceptual, attentional and memory processes. This module also explores in more depth the current research topics and the rigorous scientific debates surrounding these areas of cognition. The module will concentrate on the way modern methodologies can be used to probe mental capabilities and discover facts about the way our brains receive, process and act upon information from different sensory modalities.

  • PSY211 Cognition II: Higher Level Processes

    The module provides an in depth look at the cognitive processes underlying important higher level functions such as language, thinking, problem solving, reasoning and making decisions. The module will start covering a series of topics within perception and attention such as visual perception, biological motion, auditory perception, chemical senses, touch and proprioception, multisensory experiences, attentional mechanisms, and attention in driving. This will be followed by the most important and hotly debated issues in psycholinguistics, including how children acquire language, how language is processed in the adult mind with particular emphasis on reading, spelling dyslexia and bilingualism. The last part of the module will deal with the way in which humans make judgments, reach decisions and resolve problems and puzzles by examining the research evidence and exploring the classical and current theories.

  • PSY238 Research and Experimental Methods II

    This module is designed to further develop quantitative and qualitative methods and statistics for psychologists to prepare students for their final year independent research project and follows directly from Research and Experimental Methods I. Students will study advanced multivariate techniques and deal with complex experimental designs. Students will also explore qualitative research methods.

  • PSY319 Final Year Independent Research Project

    Students conduct an independent research project under the supervision of a member of staff. The research topic is decided in conjunction with supervisors and Research topics. Students must obtain ethical approval, design, conduct, analyse and write up a piece of research in order to achieve Graduate Basis for Chartership with the British Psychological Society (BPS).

  • PSY320 Dissertation

    This optional module provides students with the opportunity to conduct an extended literature review to discover what is currently known about an interesting, but less well known, area of psychology that is not taught as part of the psychology curriculum in Level 5 or 6. Students work independently, guided by their dissertation supervisor, to research a topic of their choice. In recent years students have written dissertations about `political psychology¿, `positive psychology¿ `why people take part in extreme sports¿, `does cannabis use cause schizophrenia¿ and many other diverse lines of enquiry.

Supervision

  • Own and Other Race Face Recognition: A Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Study (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Toby Lloyd-Jones
  • Self-esteem and social media problematic usage: a comparative analysis of Welsh Medium and English Medium pupils’ perceptions. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Phil Reed

Key Grants and Projects

  • Action for perception: effects of informational affordances on perception and attention. 2007 - 2007

    Funded from the Wales Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience., with R. Ward, £3,200

  • Retrieval competition in memory between visual object properties. 2007 - 2010

    Funded from The Leverhulme Trust, with J. Saunders , £31,373

  • Inhibitory mechanisms in memory for actions. 2007 - 2009

    Funded from The Economic and Social Research Council (ERSC), with J. Saunders , £99,933

Research Groups

  • Cognition and Perception

    The Cognition & Perception group at Swansea conducts research in cognitive development, visual perception, memory, and language. We use both overt behaviour methods, such as response speed and accuracy, and eye-movements, psychophysics, as well as brain imaging methods, including fMRI and EEG. Our research also uses brain stimulation techniques (including TMS and tDCS) to study and modulate brain processes.