Summer Project Update

Easter term has seen Alexis making excellent progress with the PSP project. We are now well on course to hit our target of 27 people in the PSP group and can turn our thoughts to recruiting some age matched controls. Dan also presented some preliminary data from the visual search task at the PSP Association Research Information Day on 23rd of May.  His talk and many other fascinating presentations can be found on the PSPA webpage: Research Information Events – PSPA ( We also submitted an application to the Ulverscroft Foundation for a PhD project that (if we’re successful) will follow up our pilot project that explored the experiences of people with PSP when using prism glasses.

There was some good news for Soazig, who had a paper on the effect of labelling on aesthetic appreciation and gaze behaviour accepted in a special issue of Journal of Vision. It was also exciting to start a new project with Prof Andy Beresford from MLAC and the Bowes Museum which uses mobile eye tracking to help evaluate visitors’ experiences of the 2nd floor galleries of the Museum. Two of our psych graduates (Lucy Edgar and Catherine Guo) have temporarily joined us to run the project, which will take place over the next month and will be complemented by a lab-based study run by Flora Loh.

Lucy, Catherine, Soazig & Andy at the Bowes Museum ready to begin the eye-tracking study

Xueqing has completed the first experiments of her PhD project exploring perceptual expertise in table-tennis players. As predicited, experts were better at predicting the landing position of a table-tennis shot, particularly at early occlusion intervals. However, this advantage depends on the stroke type, and, rather surprisingly,  experts were much slower at responding than novice players. Having aced her progression viva, Xueqing is now heading off to China to recruit a large sample of elite table-tennis players to follow this finding up in a larger sample.

We are now looking forward to summer conference season. Xueqing has already presented her first experiment at the RIO group meeting in Liverpool and Dan and Soazig will be going to the Experimental Psychology Society meeting in York. Dan will present some new data on how presaccadic attention and memory based attention interact during actions, and Soazig will describe the preliminary findings of a TMS study that examines the effect of FEF neurostimulation on premotor attention shifts. Later in the summer Soazig will present at the Visual Science of Art Conference (VSAC) and European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP) in Aberdeen. Alexis will also be at ECVP, having been invited to contribute to a symposium on “Perception, Cognition and Action in Neuropsychological Patients: Bridging Science and Practice” organised by Jutta Billino & Jennifer Randerath. It is going to be a busy summer!

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