Potential supervisors and their research interests relevant to projects.

Important: The number of students that each member of staff can supervise is provided in brackets after their names: the higher the number the more likely you are to successful if you choose them, all other factors being equal:

NameGeneral InterestsCurrent TopicsContact Details
Aidan Horner (1)I am interested in memory and spatial navigation. How is it that we are
able to remember events from our past in such vivid detail, and
conversely why do we constantly forget things we want to remember? How
are we able to navigate around complex spatial environments and why do
we often get lost? I use experimental psychology, computational
modelling, and neuroimaging to answer these questions.

1. Forgetting - although forgetting is often thought of as a unitary process, the way we forget might instead depend on the type of information we are required to remember. This project will measure forgetting to reveal how forgetting differs across stimulus types.

2. Integration - we are often able to intergrate related information, but the mechanisms that support this process are not well understood. This project will reveal the boundary conditions for integration - when and why it occurs.

Alex Benjamin (10)My research focuses on social communication between humans, infants, and dogs but I am also interested in a variety of other topics such as teaching and learning, personality, and wellbeing. 

I have a working relationship with a local Doggy Daycare where a small group of students can go to collect data for their projects. This will be a group project and students will need to be confident around dogs of all breeds and sizes. Places for this project are limited so please get in touch with me in advance to discuss your interest. 
I am also happy to discuss your own ideas and develop a study that addresses a mutual interest. I can be flexible in supervising a blend of group and individual projects. If you have an idea you wish to explore, come and chat with me about it! 

Please get in touch if you are interested in this type of project


Alex Pike (8)I am interested in mental health, particularly eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and catastrophizing. I’m particularly interested in understanding how these may relate to other cognitive processes such as learning and decision-making, and other clinical psychology constructs such as control-seeking and intolerance of uncertainty.I’m keen to supervise projects that combine any or all of the interests listed above, and also happy to hear about any ideas you have of your own. Topics I’m currently very curious about include the relationship between control-seeking and intolerance of uncertainty, and the relationships between intolerance of uncertainty (measured using computer tasks) and eating disorder symptoms.

I’m not officially starting at York until the 16th of May, and am away from the 27th of April to the 9th of May. I will hold two zoom drop-in sessions, or you’re welcome to contact me by email (alex.pike@york.ac.uk), but you might have to be a little patient whilst waiting for me to reply.  

Zoom drop-in sessions - 

Thursday 21st of April 12:00-14:00


Monday 25th of April 10:00-12:00


Alex Reid (9)

I am interested in various forms of memory consolidation that result from sleep. This includes lexical integration, memory transformation, false memory creation and emotional memory consolidation.

More recently I have become interested in developing educational interventions that reduce the impact and influence of ‘fake news’.

I am happy to supervise behavioural experiments that disentangle the influences of sleep and time on memory consolidation. This could broadly relate to a number of areas within this remit, such as emotional or lexical memory consolidation, or a related project of your own devising (the literature is vast and varied!). Unlike other sleep researchers in this list our experiments would likely take place over one or two days outside the sleep lab (i.e. will be home-based rather than lab-based), and would not involve EEG. 

I am also interested in developing educational interventions to help people distinguish from ‘real’ and ‘fake’ news. This is a new and prescient interest I would like to explore further with a student.


Alex Wade (3)I am interested in the behavioural and perceptual correlates of low-level colour mechanisms: For example, how much information about chromaticity can we extract from sparse chromatic scenes and how does the limited dimensionality of our colour circuitry condition this process? I will be offering a project in colour psychophysics focused on colour constancy. This would particularly suit students with a strong background in maths or biology or, alternatively, a student who had strong programming skills.alex.wade@york.ac.uk
Amanda Hickey (9)My main interests are in typical and atypical language processing in written and verbal language.  I am also interested in the psychology of education, particularly in relation to reading and its educational impact. 

I am happy to supervise projects in two areas:

1) Exploring factors that influence how we learn and generalise grammatical patterns in language.  I am open to discussing exactly what factors are explored, but potential areas are:
     a) Does language background/experience affect how grammatical patterns are learnt and generalised?  For example, if a person is monolingual or 
language proficiency, reading experience etc. 
b) Does changing how grammatical patterns are presented affect how grammatical patterns are learnt and generalised? For example, changing how we train
         participants, how often they are trained and when.
Do different grammatical patterns affect generalisation performance?

2) Exploring factors that relate to attitudes to reading and/or how this relates to education in healthy adults.  Again, I am open to projects that are broadly in this area but potential factors to explore are: language ability, language background, reading exposure, mentalising ability and attitudes to studying.

Angela De Bruin (8)

My main research interests are: bilingualism, language switching, language production, executive control, cognitive ageing.

I am interested in supervising projects on topics related to bilingualism (for example, how do bilinguals switch languages and choose which language to use?) or cognitive ageing (for example, how do older and younger adults differ in the way they use language?).

Some examples of possible questions are:
1) How do accents influence language processing? This project would investigate how pronunciation influences word processing and language switching in bilinguals. Specifically, it would compare how bilinguals process words in their non-native language (English) that are pronounced either with a British accent or with the accent of the bilinguals' mother tongue. 

2) How does the person you are communicating with influence your language production? This project would examine word production and language switching in bilinguals. It would investigate how a bilingual conversation partner influences the way bilinguals use and control their two languages (for example, how easily they switch languages or which language they use).

3) How does (monolingual) language production or comprehension change with age? This project would examine how language production or comprehension differs between younger and older adults. It could study, for example, how individual differences in daily-life social interactions could interact with language production/comprehension in younger and older adults.

These behavioural studies can be run online or in the lab and can be completed individually or in groups. I would also be very happy to discuss project ideas from students.


Bailey House (8)

I study the origins of human social behavior, with a focus on how prosocial behavior is shaped by our psychology for acquiring culture and following social norms.

I am interested in supervising projects (particularly group projects) that explore how social norms, culture and psychology interact. Some examples of possible questions:
- Do social norms influence people's prosocial behaviour (i.e. generosity in charitable donations)?
- Do cultural beliefs (e.g. individualism/collectivism) influence how willing people are to conform in classic psychological measures (e.g. Asch's measure of conformity)?
- Does individualism/collectivism influence how willing people are to conform to social norms (e.g. for pro-environmental behaviour, for charitable donations)?


Cade McCall (8)I am interested in emotion, social interaction, and human interactions with technology.

I am interested in supervising topics that use technology (e.g., video games, virtual reality) to study emotion and/or social interaction. 


Clara Humpston (8)I am interested in nonclinical psychotic-like experiences in individuals who are otherwise healthy and do not have formal psychiatric diagnoses, including schizotypy, dissociation, paranoid thinking and hallucinatory phenomena in nonclinical populations. I am also interested in how individuals maintain coherence in their sense of self and its disturbances. How might they be related to for example daily functioning, sense of psychological wellbeing and resilience, and how might they differ from clinical symptoms? 

1. The relationship between depersonalisation, derealisation and intrusive thoughts in individuals prone to hallucination-like experiences
2. The impact of psychotic-like self-disturbances on paranoid thinking in nonclinical individuals
3. The extent to which psychological resilience may protect nonclinical individuals against psychotic-like experiences

Please note that I am more than happy to take a flexible approach and accommodate students' own interests. Please email me directly if you wish to discuss further.

Daniel Baker (5)I am interested in sensory perception, including how perception is different in clinical conditions such as autism.This year I am particularly interested in running a study comparing self-report ratings of sensory abilities to ground truth objective measures. This study would work well as a group project, and has direct relevance to the sensory experiences often reported by individuals with autism.daniel.baker@york.ac.uk
David Pitcher (4)I am interested in visual face and object recognition.I am currently interested in facial recognition of identity and facial expressions. My project will involve behavioural experiments of identify, expressions and trustworthiness.david.pitcher@york.ac.uk 
Emma James (8)

The ultimate goal of my research is to help children learn. I am interested in questions such as: How does learning and memory change across development? How do these processes support language acquisition, and in turn contribute to the literacy skills that enable us to succeed in education? What are the consequences of learning difficulties on later wellbeing?

I would be happy to consider projects within these topic areas. This year, I am particularly keen to supervise projects that address the following questions:

  • Does sleep support vocabulary acquisition from reading? This project would test a psychological theory of word learning in a naturalistic learning context. We could ask these questions of school-aged children or adults.
  • How does memory formation change across adolescence? This project would test whether an adult memory paradigm is sensitive to changes in memory development that occur between childhood and adulthood.

These projects would suit students looking to develop research skills in developmental and/or cognitive psychology, as well as those interested in the educational application of psychological research.

emma.james@psy.ox.ac.uk (I will be joining York in the next academic year)
Fiona McNab (2)I am interested in what limits working memory as well as how and why it changes during development and healthy aging. I'm also interested in how we ignore different types of distraction, and how this contributes to our working memory.

We have been using smartphone games to collect data remotely from a large number of participants of different ages. The games (York Memory Games, YORMEGA:
https://www.york.ac.uk/psychology/staff/academicstaff/fm841/yormega/ )
are designed to address several hypotheses relating to working memory and distraction. Project students will be able to use these data and also collect more data (remotely) using the games if they wish. 

Gareth Gaskell (8)

Adult psycholinguistics, speech perception, word recognition, the mental lexicon, sleep and memory consolidation.

Although I’m happy to supervise projects in all the areas listed, this year I would be particularly keen to conduct group projects looking at:
1) The effects of sleep on memory performance. 
2) Eyewitness memory.
3) How new words are stored in the mind.


Gavin Phillips (2)My main interests lie in the area of mental health. Related topics such as addiction, emotion and motivation crop up regularly too.

am more than happy to offer a project that relates to issues broadly relevant to mental health. Titles of recent projects I've supervised include: 

  • #Bodypositive: ‘Body positivity promoting’ imagery on Instagram and its effects on young women

  • The Influence of Gender and Obsessive-compulsive Thoughts upon the Development of Exercise Fixations 

  • Personality Traits and their Influence on Exercise Addiction and Appearance Management
  • Internal vs. External Jogging: Comparing Exercise and Humour for Improving Affect

  • Eating behaviour and Somatic Awareness: Is Self-Compassion a factor in both men and women?
  • The effects of Familiarity and Information on Attitudes towards Mental and Physical Disorders.

  • Generalisation of Attentional Focus on Food Intake to Related Activities
  • An Investigation Into The Effects Of Cognitive Challenge On Snack Food Preference.
  • Getting the timing right: effects of the scent of lavender on psychological state
  • Weight consciousness as a function of personality
  • Think Positive: Is Attributional Style a Predictor of Psychological Well-Being
  • The effect of music mood and tempo on stress
  • Why do we Donate? Examining the Influence of Personality and Marketing on Charitable Giving.
  • Personality and Eating Attitudes: How Does Conscientiousness and Controlling Behaviour Link with Damaging Eating Behaviours?

  • The effects of Familiarity and Information on Attitudes towards Mental and Physical Disorders.

  • An Investigation into the Relationship Between Personality Traits, Exercise Addiction and Appearance Concern


Karisha George (4)

I am interested in several areas related to:

1) wellbeing including wellbeing and religion; student general wellbeing; help-seeking behaviour in undergraduates; and wellbeing across genders

2) public opinions of forensic psychology issues spanning all aspects of the Criminal Justice System, and the various individuals that play a role in this system (e.g. offenders, victims, police and prison officers)

Wellbeing and religion: In this area, I am particularly intrigued by how conceptualisations of God influence wellbeing. These can include the complexity of how one views God; the images used to represent God; and the degrees of attachment to God. However, I will also be interested in exploring how being religious or having some form of religious commitment influences wellbeing.

Student general wellbeing: In this area, I have a particular focus on the thinking patterns that students utilize that help them to adapt to the university experience and/or develop higher levels of resilience. Other predictors of wellbeing outside of thinking patterns are also welcomed.

Help-seeking behaviour in undergraduates: In this area, I would be interested in exploring how students seek help, comparing the impact on wellbeing of, for instance, formal help-seeking to other forms of help-seeking (such as social support). Please feel free to consider non-traditional conceptualizations of help-seeking such as prayer.

Wellbeing across genders: In this area, I am eager to explore how wellbeing differs not only between males and females but also across different orientations and genders.

Public opinions concerning forensic psychology issues: In this area, I am happy to supervise projects exploring the role of gender and race on judgements of offender guilt; levels of agreement for changes in the current laws; and evaluations of the efficacy of current rehabilitative programmes. However, there are a range of other issues that can be explored, so please get in touch to discuss your particular interests. 


Karla Evans (7)Visual and auditory cognition broadly conceived, attention, scene processing, visual recognition memory, cross-modal processing, medical image perception. I am happy to supervise projects on the topics listed, either as part of the pre-existing project or of your own design. 


Katie Slocombe (1)Animal BehaviourDog Dictionary: This project would aim to collect high quality audio recordings of dog vocalisations in a range of contexts, so we can look for acoustic variation in vocalisations given in different contexts, which may contribute towards efforts to build a 'dog dictionary' for their vocalisations. Depending on how many people want to work together on this project we could then examine the accuracy of humans in detecting valence, arousal and context from the vocalisations. For this project you need to know plenty of people (friends / family) with dogs who you would need to feel confident to visit those dogs in their homes and make the recordings. I will supply recording equipment and can lend the equipment over the summer if you have a larger dog network at home than in York. katie.slocombe@york.ac.uk
Lisa Henderson (6)Vocabulary learning and sleep in children and adults; sleep difficulties in developmental disorders (including autism, dyslexia, developmental language disorder).I'm interested in supervising projects on (i) word learning in children/adults, including how to distribute learning over the day to maximise long-term retention or how learning in familiar contexts can boost retention (ii) relationships between sleep, executive function and mental health in adults with autism. I'm also open to other suggestions in these areas.lisa-marie.henderson@york.ac.uk
Liz Meins (6)Mind-mindedness, theory of mind, empathy, close relationships.I will be offering projects investigating individual differences in people's tendency to interpret others' behaviour with reference to their internal states. We have developed a novel task to assess this tendency that can be used to explore relations with other mentalising abilities and how internal state interpretations vary across different groups.elizabeth.meins@york.ac.uk 
Maurice Waddle (5)Political, public, and media discourse; Nonverbal communication.

I am happy to supervise projects across various forms of communication/discourse analysis, using qualitative or mixed methods. My principal interests are political debates (including Prime Minister's Questions), broadcast interviews, and political speeches. I can also supervise projects focused on nonverbal communication.

Please get in touch to discuss specific research proposals, or I can advise on study options once I know your areas of interest. Projects might have a topical focus, for example, the COVID-19 pandemic or Brexit.

Recent projects include: An analysis of the Downing Street daily briefings; A gender-based study of political interviewer toughness; Speaker-audience interaction in the speeches of Greta Thunberg; Equivocation by Premier League football managers; An analysis of prejudice within Black Lives Matter discourse; Detecting deception in appeals for a missing person.

Mike Burton (5)I am primarily interested in the perception of faces, but I also have wider interests in general cognition.I am interested in supervising projects on two main topics: how are familiar and unfamilar faces processed differently?; why are some people better at recognising faces than others? I would be happy to discuss projects in these areas.mike.burton@york.ac.uk
Nick Barraclough (8)Social perception, in particular perception and understanding of human actions in health and disease

Projects this year include (but are not limited to) addressing the following questions:

  1. What is the most important social information we derive from observing other peoples' actions? We will use 'Motion Capture' information to animate computer avatars to use as stimuli during experiments that can be conducted either in the Laboratory or via Online platforms.
  2. How do Autistic traits impact social perception? We will determine how people with high and low degrees of autistic traits perceive human actions, and examine how autistic traits can enhance perceptual judgements. This research can be performed in the Laboratory or Online.
Paul Bishop (7)

I am interested in two general areas, the psychology of learning in Higher Education and also in the psychology of religious belief.

Psychology of learning in Higher Education: I am interested in the application of concepts from Education Psychology to learning in higher education. This includes looking at the ways in which motivational and emotional states influence learning at university. I will consider most projects in this general area but topics I am current interested in are

1) What factors lead to students have difficulties with academic writing

2) What predicts academic self-handicapping

Psychology of Religion: I am also interested is various aspects of the psychology of religion. In the past I have supervised projects on the impact of religion on quality of life and the way in which people process religious information. I will consider most projects in this general area


Philip Quinlan (8)My main research interests concern behavioural approaches to perception and attention. I would be happy to consider projects on topics within these areas. I am also keen to follow up on some student project work that examines things like the following, number recognition skills in Chinese people, various aspects of visual cognition including visual memory and more recently ensemble coding/perception.


Rebecca Jackson (8)I am interested in semantic cognition, the conceptual knowledge of objects, people and animals in the world around us. I have a particular interest in how the executive control of semantics allows us to select the relevant aspects of a meaning to perform different tasks, and how this may be affected in autism.

Our daily interactions with the world and other people critically depend on our conceptual knowledge of what objects are and what words mean. However, it is not sufficient to know what objects are, we must learn to use this knowledge flexibly to achieve different goals. This mean extracting the specific features of a concept that are relevant for a task, for instance, the features needed to move a piano and not those required to play the piano. We have various behavioural tasks that we can use to assess this ‘semantic control’ ability, yet we lack understanding of its development, and the effect that impaired semantic control may have early in life. In particular, there is some evidence that semantic control may be affected in autism, leading to delayed comprehension.

I am interested in supervising projects that use (in person or online) behavioural measures to consider key questions in our understanding of semantic control. These may include:

  • How does semantic control develop through adolescence?
  • Does semantic control ability differ in participants with autism?
  • Are all tasks of semantic control tapping into the same process? Are some measures better?

I would also be interested in supervising projects that use meta-analyses of secondary neuroimaging data to assess whether semantic control depends on similar or different brain regions to executive control of other cognitive domains (e.g., episodic memory, syntax). This would be well suited to students who are particularly interested in learning more about the brain.

I would be happy for students to work individually or in small groups.


(Note, I will be based in York when the projects start).

Rob Dudley (4)I am interested in what leads people to see or hear things others do not (hallucinations) or believe things others do not (delusions) which when very common or distressing are associated with conditions like Psychosis.  Better understanding of these experiences can help improve our treatments. 

I am interested in projects that look at

  1. How people judge the trustworthiness of faces and whether this is  associated with more general feelings of suspicion and mistrust of others.
  2. Whether people higher in visual imagery, or who tend to report feeling spaced out or dissociated are more likely to report seeing or hearing things than others. 
I will be joining the department in May, so my current email is rob.dudley@ncl.ac.uk
Rob Jenkins (5)I am a cognitive psychologist. I use experimental methods and data analysis to examine problems in practical ethics.

Anthropogenic risk. Many of the most pressing problems facing humanity are human in origin. I am interested in aspects of decision making and behaviour that expose humanity to these risks, especially extinction risks posed by nuclear weapons, synthetic biology, and misaligned AI.

Mind perception. Ethical consideration of others (humans, robots, rocks) often depends on whether or not we view them as conscious. My research examines cues that inform attribution of consciousness to others in everyday life.

I am happy to supervise projects in these areas. I also encourage to students to develop their own project ideas.

Sally Quinn (5)

I'm broadly interested in two areas:

  1. Interaction between social psychology and technology
  2. Teaching and learning in Higher Education

This year, I'm particularly interested in any projects on

1) The Dark Triad and negative online dating behaviours (e.g. catfishing, ghosting)

2) Parasocial Interaction and online influencers

3) Social anxiety and group work in Higher Education

Alternatively, if you have any of your own ideas that fit within my areas of interest, please feel free to email me and we can have a chat about them.


Silke Goebel (3)Mathematical development

In this project we will use data from an exiting longitudinal study on children’s mathematical development one the first few years of primary school.  The proposed project is on children’s performance on the so-called number line estimation task. In this task children are asked to put numbers (e.g. 23, 67..) on a number line going from left to right with 0 on the left and 100 on the right. In the project we will investigate the developmental change over time on this task and how it relates to mathematical development and other domain-general skills (e.g. language skills, executive functions, motivation and math anxiety).

Silvia Gennari (5)language production and comprehension, language and memory, event cognition

I offer projects investigating the perception and memory of actions and movies and their relation to language. I am also interested in the relationship between speaking fluency and other cognitive functions.

Some example questions are:

  1. How does language use affect event perception and memory?
  2.  Does speech fluency relate to non-verbal inhibition skills?

These studies use learning and memory tests that can be internet-based.


Sven Mattys (8)I am interested in the perceptual and cognitive mechanisms underlying speech perception and spoken communication in general. Main research questions include: How do we learn new words? How do we perceive speech in noise? How is language perception affected by distraction? How do we recognise voices? Do people hear things differently (and, if so, why?).

Possible topics this year:

  • Learning a new language based on statistical regularities.
  • Effects of distraction (any kind!) on speech comprehension.
  • Individual differences in understanding speech in noise.
  • Voice and identity recognition.


Thomas Davies (10)

I have an interest in a variety of projects related to human-animal relations, prejudice, ideologies, and group relations. All my work is quantitative (i.e. experiments or surveys). I am open to discuss any projects from below.

Current topics:

  • Ideologies: ideological thinking and cognitive biases i.e. how ideologies change how we think
  • Human-animal relations: Such as the psychology of eating meat
  • When good people do bad things: consumption of morally troublesome products (i.e. sweatshop clothing, mobile phones etc.)
  • Intragroup prejudice: such as women having negative attitudes of other women
  • Sexual objectification: seeing or treating people as sex-objects


Tim Andrews (2)

Tom Hartley (8)Spatial cognition, navigation and exploration; Memory for places and scenes, visual cues to distance and scale. I am also interested in effects of rhythm and timing on verbal learning and memory.

I am developing new approaches to testing spatial memory as a way to diagnose and monitor early Alzheimer's Disease. This combines psychophysics and VR/3D "games" programming.

More generally, I am interested in the way different kinds of information are represented and processed in the brain, and especially in spatial cognition (e.g., how we find our way, how we know where we are, why do we get lost?), memory and the hippocampus. I use neuroimaging techniques together with experimental psychology and computational modelling to investigate these issues.

Your project might involve investigations of scene processing (i.e., how we recognize places based on vision) or aspects of memory. If you have programming experience it may be possible to do a project involving aspects of computational modelling or novel VR/3D-based tasks.

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