I graduated in Psychology at the University of Turin (Italy) and I studied for my Ph.D. in Psychology at both the University of Genoa (Italy) and Nice (France). I then worked for a few years in Italy as a Clinical Psychologist and Neuropsychologist, and as an Associate Teaching Fellow in Genoa and Nice, before pursuing again my academic path as a researcher. After several experiences as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in France (CNRS / University of Aix-Marseille) and in the UK (Universities of Dundee, Glasgow and Aberdeen) working on visual perception, attention and eye movements, I joined the School of Psychology at Keele as a Lecturer in January 2019.

I am a Chartered Psychologist in Italy, an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the Vision Science Society.

Research and scholarship

I study visual cognition and, in particular, the relationships between perception, attention and memory.

I am interested in studies conducted in traditional laboratory settings, immersive virtual reality and natural settings.

My current research projects are centred around three main axes, interconnected:

  • Perceptual, cognitive and emotional factors in visual processing and in memory representation, mainly of real-world and realistic scenes and objects.
  • Eye movements: information gathering during early fixations and time course of inspection in the laboratory and in natural settings during performance of everyday tasks.
  • Cerebral hemispheres: functional asymmetry and interhemispheric interaction in visual scene perception and representation, and in integration of verbal and pictorial information.

My other research interests include:

  • Relationships between language and vision during scene inspection and in memory
  • Lifespan and clinical perspectives: scene processing and eye-movement behaviour in typically developing children, in healthy older adults and in clinical populations (e.g., individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or with Alzheimer’s disease).

Main research techniques: experimental behavioural research, eye tracking, divided-visual-field technique.

I am always happy to discuss about ongoing research projects or new projects. Please drop me an email if you are interested to have a chat about working with me as a research assistant, research project student or Ph.D. student, or to discuss about potential collaborations.


Year 1

  • PSY-10034 Biological and Cognitive Psychology

Year 2

  • PSY-20045 Biological Psychology Perception and Cognition
  • PSY-20023 Cognitive Neuroscience

Year 3

  • PSY-30061 Final Year Project
  • PSY-30099 Key Readings in Cognitive Psychology


  • PSY-40037 Contemporary Research in Psychology
  • PSY-40045 MSc Dissertation
  • PSY-40075 Advanced Study in Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience


If you are interested in working with me for your final year project, you are more than welcome to get in contact with me so that we can discuss specific studies. Here below some examples of projects I am currently running or planning to run. I would also be happy to have a chat about your own research ideas in the areas of my research expertise.

  • Functional (action-based) knowledge in visual-world understanding: how does the knowledge of the typical actions we perform in a given type of scene (for instance, we cook in a kitchen, we swim in the sea) influence how we understand (i.e., categorise) and represent that scene and the objects included in it?
  • Memory for scenes and objects: interplay of perceptual, semantic and emotional contents; task-oriented nature of visual representations; role of eye movements at encoding and retrieval; role of visuospatial indexes (“looking-at-nothing” paradigm) and mental simulations.
  • Visual search: relationships between cognitive and perceptual factors in scenes, virtual reality, real environments.
  • Role of expectations in visual awareness: continuous flash suppression; change blindness.
  • Vision-language integration during scene inspection and memory.
  • Cerebral hemispheric specialization and interaction: in change detection, in visual search and in the representation of pictorial and verbal information.
  • CCTV surveillance: visuospatial and memory abilities; weapon-focus effect; role of expertise.

PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL ARTICLES (* indicates a mentored student)

  • Leroy, A.*, Spotorno, S., & Faure, S. (accepted). Traitements sémantiques et émotionnels des scènes visuelles complexes: Entre compréhension et ressenti. L’Année Psychologique.
  • Ramzaoui, H.*, Faure, S., & Spotorno, S. (2018). Alzheimer's disease, visual search and instrumental activities of daily living: A review and a new perspective on attention and eye movements. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 66(3), 901-925.
  • Spotorno, S., Evans, M.*, & Jackson, M. C. (2018). Remembering who was where: A happy expression advantage for face identity-location binding in working memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition,44(9), 1365-1383.
  • Spotorno, S., & Tatler, B. W. (2017). The elephant in the room: Inconsistency in scene viewing and representation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 43(10), 1717-1743.
  • Spotorno, S., Masson, G. S., & Montagnini, A. (2016). Fixational saccades during grating detection and discrimination. Vision Research, 118, 105-118.
  • Faure, S., Belquaid, S., Nachon, O., & Spotorno, S. (2016). Look to the left, look to the right, to the left, to the right: A review on the effect of horizontal saccades on cognitive performance. Revue de Neuropsychologie, 8(4), 233-244.
  • Spotorno, S., Malcolm, G. L., & Tatler, B. W. (2015). Disentangling the effects of spatial inconsistency of targets and distractors when searching in real-world scenes. Journal of Vision, 15(2):12, 1-21.
  • Spotorno, S., Malcolm, G. L., & Tatler, B. W. (2014). How context information and target information guide the eyes from the first epoch of search in real-world scenes. Journal of Vision, 14(2):7, 1-21.
  • Spotorno, S., Tatler, B. W., & Faure, S. (2013). Semantic inconsistency versus perceptual salience in visual scenes: Findings from change detection. Acta Psychologica, 142, 168-176.
  • Spotorno, S., & Faure, S. (2011). The right hemisphere advantage in visual change detection depends on temporal factors. Brain and Cognition, 77(3), 365-371.
  • Spotorno, S., & Faure, S. (2011). Change detection in complex scenes: Hemispheric contribution and the role of perceptual and semantic factors. Perception, 40, 5-22.
  • Faure, S., Buzzi, E., Pernici, M, Rhanny, N.*, & Spotorno, S. (2010). Hemispheric specialization and interactions: From the impasse of studying sex differences to the avenue of research on sexual hormones. Revue de Neuropsychologie, 2(4), 320-325.



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