I am a cognitive neuroscientist and experimental psychologist with a primary interest in the basic mechanisms of perception and cognition, and the dysfunction of these processes in individuals with cognitive impairments. I have additional interests in social psychology and social neuroscience. Most of my published academic work has involved face perception and recognition, and the study of the dysfunction of these processes in individuals with Prosopagnosia (or Face blindness). Prosopagnosics fail to recognise even the most highly familiar faces and much of my scientific work has been dedicated to understanding why these individuals have failed to develop such a fundamental social-cognitive ability. In my research I primarily use electroencephalography (EEG) and behavioural techniques and am currently in the process of branching out into using other neuroscientific methods (e.g. Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and studying other social-cognitive domains.

Areas of Expertise

  • neuropsychology
  • electrophysiology
  • cognitive neuroscience
  • experimental psychology

Publications

  1. & Response of face-selective brain regions to trustworthiness and gender of faces. Neuropsychologia 50(9), 2205-2211.
  2. & Electrophysiological studies of face processing in developmental prosopagnosia: Neuropsychological and neurodevelopmental perspectives. Cognitive Neuropsychology 29(5-6), 503-529.
  3. & The face-sensitive N170 component in developmental prosopagnosia. Neuropsychologia 50(14), 3588-3599.
  4. & Social inferences from faces: Ambient images generate a three-dimensional model. Cognition 127(1), 105-118.
  5. & Normal perception of Mooney faces in developmental prosopagnosia: Evidence from the N170 component and rapid neural adaptation. Journal of Neuropsychology 10(1), 15-32.

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Teaching

  • PS-M09 Theoretical Issues in Cognitive Neuroscience

    Cognitive neuroscience is the study of how the brain gives rise to mind and behaviour. Using a variety of imaging and sensing techniques, it is now possible to measure the functional activity of the brain during mental processing. Married with good experimental design, and including insights from clinical populations, this approach holds great potential for illuminating mind and behaviour. This course will begin with a brief description of cognitive neuroscience techniques and an overview of basic structural and functional brain organization. Each week, a current research issue (e.g. the nature of consciousness, the link between perception and action, the representation of objects) will be discussed in detail via the use of recent journal articles. Class participation in presenting and critiquing these papers will be expected. The module will be assessed via written assignment.

  • 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.

  • PSA114 Individual and Abnormal Psychology

    This module examines (i) individual differences in intelligence and personality and (ii) abnormal psychology, or psychopathology. Theoretical accounts of the structure of personality (trait vs factor approaches) will be examined along with the development of personality (learning vs psychoanalytic approaches) and personality assessment. Historical approaches to the measurement of intelligence and genetic and environmental determinants of intelligence will be covered, taking a critical perspective. Then focusing on abnormal psychology the module will examine how we define `abnormal¿ behaviour, along with the explanations of such behaviour including learning theory, biology and genetics, and psychoanalytic explanations. The symptoms of some of the principle disorders of behaviour will be delineated including schizophrenia, mood disorders and personality disorders.

  • PSY114 Individual and Abnormal Psychology

    This module examines (i) individual differences in intelligence and personality and (ii) abnormal psychology, or psychopathology. Theoretical accounts of the structure of personality (trait vs factor approaches) will be examined along with the development of personality (learning vs psychoanalytic approaches) and personality assessment. Historical approaches to the measurement of intelligence and genetic and environmental determinants of intelligence will be covered taking a critical perspective. Then focusing on abnormal psychology the module will examine how we define `abnormal¿ behaviour, along with the explanations of such behaviour including learning theory, biology and genetics, and psychoanalytic explanations. The symptoms of some of the principle disorders of behaviour will be delineated including schizophrenia, mood disorders and personality disorders.

  • PSY306 Face Perception and Social Cognitive Neuroscience

    Scientific study of social cognition offers a window into how we perceive and understand each other and has allowed scientists to gain core insights into the organisation of the mind and brain. Social cognition is a set of mental abilities that allow us to communicate with and understand one another. This module is concerned with understanding social cognition from multiple theoretical viewpoints. We will draw upon experimental psychology, cognitive neuroscience, clinical case studies, social psychology, developmental science, and philosophy in order to tackle the fundamental question of how we perceive one another. How does our social mind shape our cognitive abilities? Are we ¿wired¿ to be social creatures? Do we have unconscious social biases? What happens when our social abilities fail to develop or break down due to disease? We will focus on basic social-cognitive processes including face perception, first impressions, imitation, theory of mind, love/attraction and pain. This module is appropriate for anyone who is interested in the link between the mind and the brain, and how we can apply this knowledge to understand how we perceive individuals and our wider social groups.

  • 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.