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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Professor Isabelle Mareschal


Professor in Visual Cognition, Director of Research

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 5704
Room Number: Room 2.38, Fogg Building

Undergraduate Teaching

  • Essential Skills for Psychologists (Tutorials) (PSY100)
  • Brain and Behaviour (PSY121)


Research Interests:

I perform both basic and applied research on visual perception in humans and my research has two streams.

  1. My basic research program examines how controlled measurements of visual perception can be extended to realistic stimuli and situations. This research examines how humans detect simple or basic visual features (such as edges) within a natural environment and how things such as attention can improve our performance.
  2. I am also developing a research program that addresses basic issues of social neuroscience, investigating how good we are at making judgements of other people’s gaze and facial expressions. I plan to develop this research with clinical collaborations to use robust psychophysical evaluations of visual disorders associated with some clinical populations (e.g. conduct disorder; autism spectrum disorder, etc.). The goal of these tests is to provide early diagnostic capabilities and, potentially, develop training tools to help improve performance.

Current Projects

Emotional recognition: Facial expressions convey critical information about our state of mind. Surprisingly however, there are profound individual differences in how we interpret another’s facial expressions, and we simply don't know why these differences arise. This project uses a novel methodology to investigate what underlies individual differences in emotion perception.

Non-verbal social communication skills in refugees: This aim of this project is to measure the psychological impact of forced migration on children’s interpersonal skills, which are a strong predictor of their future mental health. Specifically, we ask whether the foundation of communication, emotion recognition, is impaired in these vulnerable children.

Using eye tracking to measure cognition: Can we infer a person’s thoughts and intentions simply from how they look at the world? The aim of this project is to develop tools to understand what draws people’s attention in images that can be used to infer their intentions. In order to deal with the over-abundance of visual information in the world, we sequentially allocate our attention within the environment by rapidly moving our eyes to bring different objects onto our high-resolution fovea and allow fine-grained analysis. Therefore by measuring eye movements via eye-tracking, we can gain access to an exceptionally rich source of information: a high-resolution spatiotemporal record of the cognitive and visual processes that guide our behaviour.

Research department


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