As an undergraduate, I studied Biological Sciences & Psychology (dual major) at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, USA (1999) and then went on to complete a PhD (2006) in Psychology (Cognition, Brain, & Behaviour) at the University of California, Berkeley with Professors Stephen Palmer and Lynn Robertson. My PhD work focused on visual perceptual organisation (figure-ground organisation) and studies of patients with hemi-spatial neglect. I then moved to London with funding from the Royal Society (and later the British Academy) to do post-doctoral work in the laboratory of Prof Jon Driver at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience in Queen Square. In 2012, I started a lectureship at the University of Kent and was Co-Director of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience & Cognitive Systems until I moved to Keele in 2017.
At Keele, I have served as the Chair of the Psychology Research Ethics Panel and as Research Lead for Cognition, Brain, & Behaviour from 2017-2020 and from 2020-2022 I was the School of Psychology Research Director. In January 2023, I was appointed as Dean of Research for the Faculty of Natural Sciences.
I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Association (FHEA), Fellow of the Psychonomic Society (FPsyS), and a member of the Experimental Psychology Society (EPS) and Vision Sciences Society (VSS).
Research and scholarship
My research interests include visual perception and attention and the neural processes that give rise to them. In particular, my work focuses on perceptual organisation processes such as figure-ground organisation and perceptual grouping which play a role in determining the structure, shape, and depth that we perceive in visual scenes. This work often involves the study of ambiguous images (e.g., faces/vase image) or visual illusions. I use a combination of EEG, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), psychophysics, eye movement tracking, and studies of neurological patients (e.g., hemispatial neglect and agnosia) to study these topics. An emerging strand of my work focuses on methods issues especially those related to safe and powerful EEG/ERP quantification.
Visual Perception & Attention
- How does our visual system determine whether we see ambiguous images (e.g., face or vase)?
- Why do we see visual illusions? Do different visual illusions share neural mechanisms or rely on different processes?
- What visual features and non-visual factors affect perceptual organisation and illusions?
- How does the structure of the world affect the way in which we move our attention around space?
Brain Oscillations (EEG & TMS)
- What role do oscillations in brain activity play in perception, attention, and other aspects of behaviour?
- How is communication between brain areas involved in perceptual grouping and completion?
- Can TMS be used to change brain oscillations and the behaviour in which they are involved?
- Developing algorithms to optimally counterbalance carryover effects in long experiments
- How can we safely use our data to select ROIs in EEG/ERP analyses (i.e., data driven analysis)?
Module Team Member: PSY-40053 Advanced Cognitive Neuroscience Research Methods
Student project supervision
I regularly supervise Final Year undergraduate projects, MSc dissertation projects, MSc research apprenticeships, 2nd Year undergraduate volunteers, and PhD students. Projects in my lab typically focus on:
- visual perception of shape and depth
- visually ambiguous images (e.g., faces-vase, #TheDress) and visual illusions
- control of visual attention
- neurological patient deficits in vision and attention
- electrophysiological/EEG measures of vision and attention
- developing statistical methods for EEG
I welcome enquires from prospective PhD students as well as post-doctoral scholars who want to work on these topics. I am very happy work with prospective post docs in preparing applications for independent funding (e.g., Newton Fellowships, etc.) in addition to any already-funded posts that I advertise. Please get in contact to discuss.