I am interested in the consequences of brain damage on specific cognitive functions (cognitive neuropsychology) – in particular, disorders of reading (dyslexia), speech production (aphasia), memory (amnesia) and face processing (prosopagnosia). In each case the work seeks to better illuminate the processing components of these specific functions in the normal population.

I am the Co-Director of the Psychology Dementia Research Group (founded by Professor Andrea Tales). Registered Chartered Psychologist (C. Psychol.), Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS), member of the Health Professionals Council and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

Areas of Expertise

  • Cognitive neuropsychology
  • Face processing (prosopagnosia)
  • Reading (dyslexia)
  • Speech production (aphasia)
  • Memory (amnesia)
  • Language
  • Brain damage

Publications

  1. & Men’s Accounts of Passion Killings in the Namibian Context. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 088626051771882
  2. & Face working memory deficits in developmental prosopagnosia: Tests of encoding limits and updating processes. Neuropsychologia
  3. & Intact word processing in developmental prosopagnosia. Scientific Reports 7(1)
  4. & Are Portrait Artists Superior Face Recognizers? Limited Impact of Adult Experience on Face Recognition Ability.. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
  5. & The definition and diagnosis of developmental prosopagnosia. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 70(2), 193-200.

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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-M24 Research Project

    The research module will involve constructing and executing a substantial research project, usually conducted in connection to an abnormal and clinical research topic/theme. Previous research projects have spanned various applicable clinical settings linked to NHS trusts, mental health charities, forensic units and topics generated by academics based within the department of psychology. We also encourage students who come to the program with connections as a consequence of previous professional experience, to undertake projects that are linked to interests they have already established.

  • PS-M50 Neuropsychology

    Cognitive neuropsychology is a key field that marries together the fields of cognitive psychology and clinical neuropsychology. It involves the utilisation of cognitive models of normal function to understand the cognitive impairments seen in brain damaged populations - with the aims of both achieving a detailed understanding of the presentation profile of a case study and targeting appropriate intervention for the case in question. Students will learn about the functional anatomy of the human cerebral cortex and how such information links to the primary methods of cognitive neuropsychology. Students will also be introduced to key clinically based theories underpinning our understanding of neuropsychological syndromes such as aphasia and amnesia ¿ an understanding the drives the rehabilitation methodologies available for brain damaged populations, and the means by which appropriate interventions can be selected.

  • 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.

  • PSY343 Cognitive Neuropsychology

    The aim of the module is to provide a broad understanding of the field of cognitive neuropsychology, which is the study of cognitive models of normal function with relation to patterns of cognitive impairments seen in brain damaged populations. Students will learn about the functional anatomy of the human cerebral cortex and how such information links to the primary methods of neuropsychology. Students will also be introduced to key cognitive theories underpinning our understanding of neuropsychological syndromes such as aphasia and amnesia. Lectures will focus on the major domains of language and memory with key debates concerning models relating to these domains being discussed and outlined ¿ students will be introduced to key issues in the field of mind and brain that are applicable across the field (e.g., the issue of falsifiability, group versus case studies, neuroimaging and epiphenomena).

Supervision

  • The Neuropsychological Characterisation of Subjective Cognitive Impairment (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Andrea Tales
    Other supervisor: Dr Cristina Izura
    Other supervisor: Dr Megan Crawford
  • An evaluation of reading assessments for pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorder (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Phil Reed
  • Age of acquisition and morphological effects in word recognition and production (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Cristina Izura
  • Judging a book by its cover - involuntary responses to facial cues as an indicator of personality type across developmentally impaired populations (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Alex Jones
  • Neuropsychological and neurophysiological assessment of Subjective Cognitive Complaints (SCCs) as a precursor of dementia in Welsh-English bilinguals and English monolinguals. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Cristina Izura
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Steven Edwards
  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Ruth Horry
  • i-Pad based investigation of Visual Attention related function in Vascular Cognitive Impairment (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Andrea Tales
    Other supervisor: Dr Sarah Hillcoat-Nalletamby
    Other supervisor: Dr Megan Crawford
  • 'Analysis of phonological abilities and responsiveness to intervention of reading delayed and dyslexic children aged 11 to 14 yrs.' (awarded 2017)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Phil Reed

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Programme Director, Swansea University - MSc Abnormal & Clinical Psychology

    2010 - Present

  • REF Lead, Unit of Assessment 4 - Department of Psychology

    2016 - Present

External Responsibilities

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
2001 2008 Research Fellow University of Exeter

Key Grants and Projects

  • Characterising Subjective Cognitive Impairment 2017 - 2019

    with Prof. Andrea Tales (BRACE)

  • Mapping the nature of nonword reading errors in phonological dyslexia 2016 - 2018

    Principal Investigator (British Academy)

  • The nature of language impairment in dementia focusing specifically on Welsh speakers 2015 - 2018

    Principal Investigator (Welsh National College/Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol)

  • Moving beyond the monosyllable in models of skilled reading 2013 - 2016

    (Leverhulme Trust)

  • Profiling the mental lexicon: Psycholinguistic phenotyping of lexical retrieval preferences through an analysis of word association behaviour 2010 - 2012

    with Dr. Cris Izura (ESRC)

  • Testing for dissociations between static and dynamic face matching and recognition in normal and abnormal face processing 2007 - 2009

    (ESRC)