Prof Daniel T. Smith
Dan is a professor in Durham University’s Department of Psychology. His research examines the interaction between the motor system, specifically the oculomotor system, and cognitive processes such as attention and working memory, with the goal to understand how activity in the motor system helps resolve competition between different representations in the visual system. The Motor Bias project attempts to distill the ideas he has developed over several years into a coherent framework we can use to predict how and when motor activity can influence perception. Thanks to an active collaboration with Thomas, Soazig and Stefan, Dan applies these findings to developing novel techniques for neurorehabilitation. He uses a variety of techniques in his research, including neuropsychological studies of people with brain injuries, lab-based studies with healthy participants, eye-tracking and neurostimulation (TMS / TDCS). Beyond the Motor Bias project, he is also interested in applying Achievement Goal Theory to understanding motivation in sport and exercise. You can follow his progress on twitter @AttentionLab.
Dr Soazig Casteau
Soazig did her Ph.D in the Cognitive Psychology Laboratory in Marseilles (France) under the supervision of Francoise Vitu. Then she worked with Robin Walker at Royal Holloway University of London as a postdoctoral fellow (Fondation Fyssen Postdoctoral Fellowship). She then moved to Durham to is working on the psychophysical part of the Motor Bias project. In 2021 Soazig was appointed as an Assisstant Professor at Durham, where she has set up her own lab where she uses TMS, psychophysics and eyetracking to pursue her interest in Saccadic Eye Movements, Attention and Perception.
Dr Alison Lane
Ali is an Associate Professor in Durham University’s Psychology Department and fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing. As a neuropsychological researcher they have conducted experiments exploring the brain areas involved in visuospatial attention, primarily using visual search tasks and neural stimulation techniques. They are also an experienced applied psychologist, having developed rehabilitation tools to assist people with visual / attentional impairments and conducted clinical trials exploring the efficacy of such technology. This is really their driving motivation – to do research with the aim of making a difference to clinical practice and the wellbeing of people living with neurological conditions.
Dr Anthony Atkinson
Anthony (Tony) is an Associate Professor in Durham University’s Psychology Department. He is a member of the Durham Centre for Imaging (DCI), of Durham University’s Centre for Vision and Visual Cognition, and of the Department of Psychology’s Cognitive Neuroscience research group. Tony’s research focuses on the psychological and neural mechanisms underpinning our ability to perceive social information, such as emotions and personality traits, from faces and bodies. One current set of projects examines the distinct contributions of foveal and extrafoveal visual processing to the perception of others’ facial expressions. This work is guided by the principles that vision is active rather than passive and that there are quantitative and qualitative differences between foveal and extrafoveal (or peripheral) vision that determine how we see and how we interact with the world. It is this line of work that underpins Tony’s contribution to the project ‘Can cognitive tests differentiate PSP and Parkinson’s disease?’.
Dr Alexis Cheviet
Alexis is a post-doctoral research associate in Durham University’s Department of Psychology. His main interest focuses on the interplay between oculomotor system and cognitive processes, especially in clinical populations. He worked with Dr. Nadège Doignon-Camus (internship at INSERM U1114, France) to explore visual attention processes during reading activity in the context of developmental dyslexia. Under the supervision of Denis Pelisson (CRNL, France), he then did his Ph.D to investigate the coupling between saccadic eye movements and visual perception in individuals suffering from various injuries in the oculomotor system (cerebellum, posterior parietal cortex). He uses mostly eye-tracking, psychophysics, and EEG techniques.
Siobhan McAteer, NINEDTP Phd Student
Siobhan is studying for a PhD under the supervision of Dan and Prof Anthony McGregor. Her work explores the funtional role of of the oculomotor system in the maintenance of visuospatial short term memory representations using continuous report tasks and mixture modelling. Siobhan is funded throught the ESRC NineDTP.
Emma Smedley, Research Assisstant
Emma is currently studying for a BSc in Psychology at Durham University. She primarily works with Soazing & Dan on an EPS funded project examining what happens to the locus of attention when actions are planned to towards and away from the locations of objects held in short-term memory.
Prof Thomas Schenk
Thomas Schenk is head of the Clinical Neuropsychology Unit at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany. He is interested in the neural control of movement, the diagnosis and treatment of patients with attentional, visual and motor disorders and the long-term psychological consequences of neurological disorders. The members of the Clinical Neuropsychology unit work both with healthy humans and patients with neurological disorders; the methods employed in the Clinical Neuropsychology Unit include kinematic analysis of movements, gaze-tracking, virtual reality setups, EEG, TMS and fMRI.
Elias is a PhD student at LMU, under the supervision of Thomas. His research examines the tight link between the spatial orientation of visual attention and the planning of goal-directed movements. In particular, he directly tests whether the coupling between attention and actions is the consequence of processes of motor preparation or whether it reflects a habitual expectation of spatial congruence between an object of interest and a motor target.
Prof Stefan Van der Stigchel
Stefan van der Stigchel is a professor at Utrecht University and head of the research group Attentionlab. The group’s aim is to study how attention and visual awareness shape the perception of the world around us. Stefan is a member of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and author of a recent popular science book about attention (‘Zo werkt aandacht’).
Former project members:
Dr Joris Elshout
Maria Magdalena Vorbeck
Dr Stephen Dunne
Dr Robert Swalwell