What we are researching

Paul Sowden is exploring what circumstances best help people to think creatively across the lifespan and what are the brain processes that support this. He is also interested in how our senses and thinking processes interact to filter and construct information about our world. Finally, he is exploring how this information is used to support creative thinking.

Jonathan Nelson investigates uncertainty and information, especially how it relates to cognitive, perceptual, developmental, and cognitive neuroscience issues.  For instance, on visual classification tasks it is possible to use the probabilities of each possible object category to describe the psychological uncertainty about an object's true category.  The exact nature of the person's goals, which kind of uncertainty they are trying to reduce, how such strategies develop, and the neural foundations of such behaviour, are not quite known. His team is investigating each of these issues.

Naomi Winstone is interested in the process of being assessed and receiving feedback. This can be uncomfortable, and we have many clever strategies for avoiding the potentially useful information contained within feedback from others. Her current work explores cognitive processing of feedback information, using behavioural measures and ERPs. She is also conducting research into decision-making processes in educational assessment.

Ally Grandison aim is to investigate the contribution of language, higher cognitive processes, and low level perceptual mechanisms to categorisation. She is particularly interested in the nature and development of colour categories and the role of colour in development and has investigated aspects of colour perception in infancy and early childhood such as colour preference, colour salience, colour term acquisition and the role of colour in infant object recognition.

Adrian Banks is interested in how people reason and make decisions. In particular he investigates the mechanisms underpinning intuitive and analytic thought and how they interact. His work also has practical implications; he applies our understanding of thinking processes in order to improve them in a range of domains including medical, military, and in organisations.

Patrice Rusconi is primarily interested in the asymmetries in our thinking processes. For example, he investigates how the presence vs absence of features can differently impact on people’s search and evaluation strategies. He studies these asymmetries in different domains such as social cognition and user authentication. He is also interested in problem solving and computational modelling.

Judith Gentle’s primary area of interest is Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), an idiopathic movement disorder which affects areas such as coordinated movement, balance and perception.


Full publication lists can be found on the home page of individual group members. In addition, you can search Surrey Research Insight Open Access to download available papers.

Making a difference

Expecting the worst: People’s perceived morality is biased towards negativity

People who are believed to be immoral are unable to reverse individuals’ perception of them, potentially resulting in difficulties in the workplace and barriers in accessing fair and equal treatment in the legal system, a new study in PLOS One reports. Read our press release to find out more.

Rusconi, P., Sacchi, S., Capellini, R., Brambilla, M., & Cherubini, P. (2017). You are fair, but I expect you to also behave unfairly: Positive asymmetry in trait-behavior relations for moderate morality information. PLoS One, 12, e0180686, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0180686.

'It won’t happen to me’- Distorted view amongst smokers of when deadly damage caused by smoking will occur

Smokers have a distorted perception on when the onset of smoking-related conditions will occur, a new study in the Journal of Cognitive Psychology reports. Read our press release to find out more.