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Visual Cognition


The Visual Cognition research group specialises in studying visual attention and perception from both theoretical and applied perspectives. Key areas of research from our group concern visual search, attentional control, change detection, multi-tasking, the interactions between emotion and visual cognition, visuomotor control, cognitive styles, driving, app and web usability, and media use. We have expertise in experimental approaches, eye-tracking, cognitive neuroscience and psychometrics. Our work has been funded by a number of organisations, including:

  • British Academy / Leverhulme Trust
  • Economic and Social Research Council
  • Technology Strategy Board
  • Experimental Psychology Society
  • British Psychological Society
  • BBC


Adam Galpin, Catherine Thompson, Robert  Bendall, Maria Panagiotidi, Gemma Taylor, Simon Cassidy, Lynne Marrow, Sam Royle, Ben Short, Professor David Roberts

Resources and facilities

Our work is supported by several state-of-the-art eye-trackers for use in both the laboratory and natural environments. Additionally, we have neuroimaging equipment including functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and electroencephalography (EEG), as well as physiological monitoring capability. Our group have expertise and equipment to support cutting-edge research into virtual reality. We have several dedicated experimental laboratory rooms including two observation suites which are fully fitted with recording equipment.


We also conduct consultancy work, for example in the areas of driving, app and web usability and user experience of technology. We can help on any aspect of study design, including data collection and expert interpretation of findings. We can also provide access to our resources and facilities. For enquiries, please contact Dr. Adam Galpin: +44(0)161 2957146.


Visual Search

  • Bendall, R. C. A., Mohamad, A., & Thompson, C. (2019). Emotional real-world scenes impact visual search. Cognitive Processing, 20(3), 309-316.
  • Hills, P. J., Mileva, M., Thompson, C., & Pake, J. M. (2017). Carryover of scanning behaviour affects upright face recognition differently to inverted face recognition. Visual Cognition, 24 (9-10), 459-472. doi: 10.1080/13506285.2017.1314399
  • Thompson, C., Howting, L., & Hills, P. (2015). The transference of visual search between two unrelated tasks: Measuring the temporal characteristics of carry-over. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 68 (11), 2255-2273. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2015.1013042
  • Thompson, C., & Crundall, D. (2011). Scanning behaviour in natural images is influenced by a preceding unrelated visual search task. Perception, 40, 1335-1349. doi: 10.1068/p6848
  • Galpin, A., Underwood, G., & Crundall, D. (2009). Change blindness in driving scenes. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 12(2), 179-185.
  • Galpin, A., Underwood, G., & Chapman, P. (2008). Sensing without seeing in comparative visual search. Consciousness and Cognition, 17(3), 672-687.
  • Crundall, D., Cole, G. G., & Galpin, A. (2007). Object bias is mediated by the collinearity of targets. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 60(1), 137-153.
  • Galpin, A., & Underwood, G. (2005). Eye movements during search and detection in comparative visual search. Perception and Psychophysics, 67(8), 1313-1331.

Attentional Control

  • Thompson, C., & Ong, E. (2018). The association between suicidal behavior, attentional control, and frontal asymmetry. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9 (79). doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00079
  • Hills, P. J., Thompson, C., Piech, R. M., Painter, L., & Pake, J. M. (2016). Attentional modulation of the carry over of eye-movements between tasks. Acta Psychologica, 167, 1-15. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2016.03.012 
  • Thompson, C., Underwood, G., & Crundall, D. (2007). Previous attentional set can induce an attentional blink with task-irrelevant initial targets. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 60 (12),1603-1609. doi: 10.1080/17470210701536468 

Emotion and Cognition

  • Latif, I., Hughes, A. T. L., & Bendall, R. C. A. (2019). Positive and negative affect mediate the influences of a maladaptive emotion regulation strategy on sleep quality. Frontiers in Psychiatry, Sleep and Chronobiology, 10, 1-7.
  • Bendall, R. C. A., & Royle, S. (2018). Decentering mediates the relationship between vmPFC activation during a stressor and positive emotion during stress recovery. Journal of Neurophysiology, 120(5), 2379-2382.
  • Bendall, R. C. A. (2017). The neural mechanisms able to predict future emotion regulation decisions. Journal of Neurophysiology, 118(3), 1824-1827.
  • Bendall, R. C. A., Eachus, P., & Thompson, C. (2016). A brief review of research using near-infrared spectroscopy to measure activation of the prefrontal cortex during emotional processing: The importance of experimental design. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00529
  • Cassidy, S. (2016). The Academic Resilience Scale (ARS-30): a new multidimensional construct measure. Frontiers in Psychology, 7 (1787). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01787
  • Taylor, A. J., Bendall, R. C. A., & Thompson, C. (2016). Positive emotion expands visual attention…Or maybe not… The Cognitive Psychology Bulletin, 2, 33-37.
  • Cassidy, S. (2015). Resilience building in students: the role of academic self-efficacy. Frontiers in Psychology, 6 (1781). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01781
  • Bendall, R. C. A., & Thompson, C. (2015). Emotion has no impact on attention in a change detection flicker task. Frontiers in Psychology, 6 (1592), 1-9. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01592
  • Bendall. R. C. A., & Thompson, C. (2015). Functional near-infrared spectroscopy: An emerging neuroimaging technique successful in studying the interaction between emotion and cognition. PsyPAG Quarterly, 96, 14-17.

Visuomotor Control and Prosthesis Use

  • Chadwell, A., Kenney, L., Granat, M., Thies, A., Head, J.S. & Galpin A., Baker, R. & Kulkani. (2018). Upper limb activity in myoelectric prosthesis users is biased towards the intact limb and appears unrelated to goal-directed task performance. Scientific Reports, 8, 11084.
  • Sobuh, M.M.D., Kenney, L.P.J., Galpin, A, Thies, S.B., McLaughlin, J., Kulkarni, J., Kyberd, P. (2014). Visuomotor behaviours when using a myoelectric prosthesis. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 11(72), 1-11.
  • Galpin, A., Tipper, S. P., Dick, J., & Poliakoff, E., (2011). Object affordance and spatial compatibility effects in Parkinson’s disease. Cortex, 47, 332-341
  • Gowen, E., Bradshaw, C., Galpin, A., Lawrence, A. & Poliakoff, E. (2010). Exploring visuomotor priming following biological and non biological stimuli. Brain and Cognition, 74, 288-297.
  • Poliakoff, E., Galpin, A., Dick, J., & Tipper, S. P. (2010). Does Parkinson’s disease affect judgement about another person’s action? Experimental Brain Research, 204, 327-331.
  • Poliakoff, E., Galpin, A., Dick, J., Moore, P., & Tipper, S. P. (2007). The effect of viewing graspable objects and actions in Parkinson's disease. NeuroReport, 18(5), 483-487.


  • Hills, P. H., Thompson, C., & Pale, J. M. (2018). Detrimental effects of carryover of eye movement behaviour on hazard perception accuracy: Effects of driver experience, difficulty of task, and hazardousness of road. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 58, 906-916. doi: 10.1016/j.trf.2018.07.014
  • Thompson, C., & Sabik, M. (2018). Allocation of attention in familiar and unfamiliar traffic scenarios. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 55, 188-198. doi: 10.1016/j.trf.2018.03.006
  • Underwood, G., Phelps, N., Wright, C., van Loon, E., & Galpin, A. (2005). Eye fixation scanpaths of younger and older drivers in a hazard perception task. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 25, ­346-356.

Cognitive Styles

  • Bendall, R. C. A., Galpin, A., Lambert, S., Marrow, L. P., & Cassidy, S. (2019). Psychophysiological indices of cognitive style: A triangulated study incorporating neuroimaging, eye-tracking, psychometric and behavioral measures. Personality and Individual Differences, 144, 68-78.
  • Bendall, R.C.A., Galpin, A., Marrow, L. & Cassidy, S. (2016). Cognitive styles: Time to experiment. Frontiers in Psychology, 7: 1786
  • Cassidy, S. (2011). Intellectual styles: measurement and assessment. In L.F. Zhang, R.J. Sternberg, & S. Rayner (Eds), Handbook of Intellectual Styles: Preferences in Cognition, Learning, and Thinking (pp. 67-89). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Media Use and web usability

  • Cassidy, S. (2016). Virtual Learning Environments as mediating factors in student satisfaction with teaching and learning in Higher Education. Journal of Curriculum and Teaching, 5 (1), pp. 113-123.
  • Birkett, S., Galpin, A., Cassidy, S., Marrow, L., Norgate, S. (2011). How revealing are eye-movements for understanding web engagement in young children? CHI Extended Abstracts 2011. 2251-2256
  • Eachus, P. & Cassidy, S. (2006). Development of the Web Users Self-Efficacy scale (WUSE). Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology Journal, 3, pp. 199-209.

Visual attention in developmental disorders

  • Panagiotidi, M., Overton, P. G., & Stafford, T. (2017). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder-like traits and distractibility in the visual periphery. Perception46(6), 665-678.
  • Panagiotidi, M., Overton, P. G., & Stafford, T. (2017). Increased microsaccade rate in individuals with ADHD traits. Journal of Eye Movement Research10(1).

Visual attention and learning in children

  • Taylor, G. & Herbert, J.S. (2014). Infant and adult visual attention during an imitation demonstration. Developmental Psychobiology, 56(4), 770-782.
  • Taylor, G. & Herbert, J.S. (2013). Eye tracking infants: Investigating the role of attention during learning on recognition memory. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 54(1), 14-19.

Images / Multimedia

A short video of our Visual Cognition Workshop for the 2019 Salford University Research Festival

Northern User Experience group: Should You Use Eye-Tracking in User-Research?