Perception, Action, Cognition

PGR and PGT students using VR representing Perception, Action, Cognition research at the School of Psychology

Academic related

The Perception, Action, Cognition group is a multidisciplinary research group dedicated to understanding how humans interact with virtual and natural environments.

Our research focuses on addressing fundamental questions on the relationship between the systems responsible for human behaviour, particularly:

  • Skilful sensorimotor control (driving, surgery, handwriting, catching)
  • Cognition (decision making, working memory, learning)

To study complex and dynamical systems requires a multidisciplinary approach employing a variety of research methods and techniques to address these research questions. By bringing together world-class expertise in experimental psychology, neuroscience, education, engineering, data science and clinical medicine we are able to:

  • produce rigorous research
  • develop novel technologies
  • answer questions that translate to benefits in healthcare, education and society.

We take a special interest in examining how humans use vision to support skilled interactions with the world, for example when driving a car at speed. We use a range of techniques to examine these questions, principally using virtual environments, whilst simultaneously tracking behaviours such as hand, eye and head movements.

Translation and Application

Our research is being applied to understanding how both children and adults learn to integrate cognitive and motoric abilities and the impact this has on their successful participation in important academic and professional activities, as well as their wider physical and mental wellbeing. This includes studying reading and writing in children, the learning of highly skilled manual coordination skills in adults such as minimally invasive surgery, through to helping stroke survivors regain function. 

Facilities and Resources

The School of Psychology has a wide range of specialised facilities and resources available for research projects.


Dr Richard Allen
Dr Rachel Coats
Dr Liam Hill
Professor Mark Mon-Williams
Ryan Morehead
Dr Faisal Mushtaq
Professor Gustav Markkula (based in the Institute for Transport Studies)
John Pickavance
Matthew Warburton
Dr Amanda Waterman
Dr Richard Wilkie
Dr Emily Williams