Dr Rachel Coats

Dr Rachel Coats


I joined the University of Leeds as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in 2012, before taking up a lectureship in Psychology in 2014. I have a BA(Hons) degree in Psychology from the University of Aberdeen (2004), and an MSc in Research Methods in Psychology (2005) and PhD (2009) in Psychology from the University of Reading. I completed several years working as a postdoctoral researcher at Indiana University, USA, before joining the University of Leeds.


  • Level 1 Coordinator

Research interests

My research focus is on motor control and learning across the lifespan (especially in older adults), and I'm particularly interested in reaching (aiming and prehension) movements, and the importance of vision for action. More specifically, I look at how visual feedback is used for successful movement, hand-eye coordination, and how we calibrate our actions for optimal performance. Many of the techniques I use involve 3D motion tracking equipment and we have fantastic facilities in our labs. I examine the similarities and differences between younger and older adults and the circumstances under which differences are most apparent; important for product design, therapy, and creating environments best suited to older adults. I am a member of the Perception, Action, and Cognition Lab (PACLab) and Immersive Cognition (ICON) Lab .

Current projects include: The efficacy of second-eye cataract surgery; The effects of pain medication on cognitive and motor performance in people with Trigeminal Neuralgia; How do older adults utilise visual and proprioceptive infomation to perform reaching tasks.


  • PhD Psychology
  • MSc Research Methods in Psychology
  • BA (Hons) Psychology

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Student education

I teach at all levels on programmes within the School of Psychology, from Level 1 to Masters. This teaching is oriented around my research interests in ageing and motor control, across typical and atypical populations. I also supervise projects at Level 3 and Masters levels, and act as a personal tutor to groups of students each year.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) 

Research groups and institutes

  • Perception, action, cognition
  • Successful ageing
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>