Background

I did an undergraduate degree in Cognitive Science at UCLA, where I worked with Keith Holyoak on analogical reasoning and with Nancy Kanwisher on visual attention. I then moved to Princeton for my PhD with Anne Treisman, also on visual attention. The next two years I spent in Nancy Kanwisher’s lab at MIT, where I began doing fMRI research on attention and on the organisation of visual cortex. Since 2000 I have been on the faculty of the School of Psychology at Bangor University, where I am a member of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience. Since 2008 I have been Research Director of the College of Health and Behavioural Sciences, of which Psychology is a member School.

Research

At the broadest level, I am interested in understanding how the brain deals with one of its most complex problems -- understanding other people. With my students and colleagues we have focused on the earlier perceptual stages of this process, such as how people perceive faces and bodies and their movements. In collaboration with Nick Oosterhof and Steve Tipper, I've extended this research into studies of the shared visual/motor representations of bodily actions. Still more recently, Kim Graham and I have developed a line of work comparing and contrasting the perceptual functions of extrastriate cortex and the medial temporal cortex.

In terms of methods, our main research tool has been and continues to be fMRI; our studies use traditional blocked and event-related designs, and, more recently, multivoxel pattern analysis approaches. Recently I have also collaborated on ERP studies of body and face perception with Guillaume Thierry, and I am working a new line of research with Martijn van Koningbruggen, Marius Peelen, and Francesca Perini that uses TMS and fMRI conjointly to study person and action perception.

Our research is currently funded by BBSRC. Recent grants came from the ESRC, the Leverhulme Trust, and the Wales Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Teaching

I have taught undergraduate modules on a wide variety of topics, including human neuropsychology, memory, reasoning and decision making, cognitive neuroscience, and the "social brain". At the master's level I have led seminar classes on current issues in the neuroscience of high-level vision. An important part of my teaching involves the supervision of undergraduate student projects, which I especially enjoy. Project groups from previous years have investigated such topics as visual attention, the neural basis of scene perception, and how extended affective experiences are represented in memory. Current students are looking at plasticity in the sensorimotor cortex and illusions of body perception. I have also enjoyed supervising a number of MSc thesis projects, four of which have resulted in published articles.

My full CV is available here. PDFs of most papers are available here.