The Person Perception Lab in the School of Psychology is a multidisciplinary group of researchers working on a variety of projects aimed at increasing our understanding of how we perceive information about people from their faces and bodies. We are interested in understanding the way typical people and patient populations perceive faces and bodies. We recently installed a state-of-the-art 3D scanner (3dMD), and we use behavioural, eye tracking, and neuroimaging techniques in our studies. We collaborate with researchers in Computer Science, Sport and Exercise Science, and practitioners in the NHS. Some of our current projects are looking at understanding body size perceptions in people with anorexia nervosa, and understanding and improving unfamiliar face recognition. We are also committed to involving and engaging others with our research, so look out for us at science festivals and public events.

Sarah Swift Building
8 Brayford Wharf E
  • Tessa Flack


    My research focuses on how facial expression, facial identity and facial viewpoint are represented in the brain. I’m really interested in understanding how the brain processes the wealth of socially relevant information we can gain from faces, and how this can all be represented in a small area of cortex. I have predominantly used fMRI, but I’m now branching out to include EEG.

    More recently, I’ve started to look at how the patterns of response to faces in regions of the brain relate to our behaviour. I’m particularly interested in how we use symmetry in faces to learn a new identity.

    In addition to face perception, I’m also involved in a project on body perception with Paddy Ross at Durham University. We’re really interested in how people recognise emotion from the body, and specifically, the role played by the hands.

  • Julia Föcker

    Senior Lecturer

    How does the brain adapt to altered experiences, such as the loss of one sensory modality or repeated exposure to new technologies, such as video-game-play? To understand the factors that foster or constrain brain plasticity, core of my research has focused on experience-dependent plasticity following early and late visual deprivation. At the University of Hamburg, we investigated auditory person identification in blind individuals and try to understand how the functional architecture of the auditory person identification network changes after visual deprivation. Besides this research avenue, I am interested in the impact of action video games on neural plastic changes in the brain by applying brain imaging and EEG.

  • Elizabeth Fuller

    PhD Student

    My name is Lizzie and I’m a PhD student with an interest in the social contexts and motivators of face recognition. Before coming to Lincoln I completed my bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Sunderland and then studied a master’s in cognitive neuroscience at Durham University. For my master’s I used EEG to investigate the effects of conditioning on electrophysiological correlates of face perception.

  • Kun Guo


    In my laboratory, we combine computational, psychophysical (psychophysics, eye-tracking and behavioural measurements) and neurophysiological (brain imaging, brain stimulation) approaches to study face and body perception in humans and domestic dogs.

    Our ongoing projects include conspecific and heterospecific understanding of facial and bodily expressions of emotion, face and body attractiveness assessment, and multi-component emotional responses to affective visual cues.

  • Robin Kramer


    In recent years, my direction within psychology has led to the emergence of two related paths of research:

    • Face perception and social cognition – Utilising an evolutionary approach, I have been focusing on the signalling of personality and health information from the face, both in humans and chimpanzees, and have proposed the idea of a shared system across species. This investigation into social signals has also included own- and other-race faces, as well as information signalled through gait (using motion capture techniques).

    • Facial recognition and within-person variability – I have been using computational modelling in order to investigate the nature of within-person variability. I am trying to understand how we are able to recognise a familiar person from multiple (unstandardised) photographs, despite how varied these images often are. Through the use of principal components analysis and other techniques, I hope to model the variability of an individual and explore how idiosyncratic this variation might be.

  • Nadia Maalin

    PhD Student

    Bio: Hi, my name is Nadia. I am a PhD student focusing on body image and body size perception. I will be developing a training programme for women with high body concerns and Anorexia Nervosa. Before moving to Lincoln, I did my undergraduate in Psychology and Management, and a masters in Psychological Research, both at Lancaster University.

    I like travelling (preferably in warmer climates) and my adopted cat.

    Fun fact: I once spent 2 weeks at a Muay Thai camp in Thailand.

  • Kirsten McKenzie

    Senior Lecturer

    While my research interests are quite varied, I am primarily interested in the ways in which the human body is represented; from a neurological perspective, through to disorders of movement and bodily perception, to the effects of social and (social) media portrayals.

    Recent projects have involved sensory integration and sensory misperception, such as bodily illusions, body ownership and agency, and the experience of pain. I have also been exploring gender equality and the marginalisation of people with non-binary identities. My current projects are:

    • Lack of media/social media representation on body image and bodily satisfaction in individuals with non-binary gender identities

    • Non-pharmacological amelioration of pain

    • The relationship between body image and self-perceived facial appearance

  • Kirsty Miller

    Principal Lecturer

    After completing my PhD, I started as a lecturer at the University of Lincoln in the summer of 2007.

    Introduction to the wonders of LabVIEW as a postgrad called to the computer geek in me, and means I now spend many happy hours(days) in the lab programming and playing with kit and data. Upon emerging from the lab I teach on Developmental Psychology, Fantasy Neuroscience, Developmental Psychopathology, Advanced Developmental Psych as well as supervising undergraduate student projects at 2nd and 3rd year and postgraduate projects.

  • Sophie Mohamed

    PhD Student

    I am a PhD student based at the Lincoln Institute for Health and School of Psychology. My qualifications include a BA in Psychology and Kinesiology (Simon Fraser University, Canada), and an MSc in Health Psychology (King’s College London). My research aims to explore body image perceptions and distortion in men, through the development and validation of a new stimuli to allow men to estimate their body size and shape. My project also intends to shed new light on the perceptual, psychological and social dimensions of male body image, in health and disease.

    Interesting fact: I have lived in 6 countries, across 4 continents!)

  • Petra Pollux

    Senior Lecturer

    After training as a youth welfare worker, I continued my studies at the University of Utrecht (NL) and completed my MA (supervised by Prof E. de Haan, University of Amsterdam) during a placement at the Psychiatric Institute Vincent van Gogh Venray (The Netherlands). My PhD focused on executive functions and cognitive deficits in patients with Parkinson’s disease (EE: Prof. J. Harris, University of Reading).

    I have been employed at the University of Lincoln since 1997.

  • Kay Ritchie

    Senior Lecturer

    My main research interests span three areas:

    Face recognition and face learning.

    We are very good at recognising familiar faces, but very poor with unfamiliar faces. I am interested in the mechanisms behind this effect, and in understanding how a face goes from unfamiliar to familiar as we learn what a new person looks like.

    Social information conveyed by faces

    I am interested in how we form first impressions of people from their face and how this might change across different contexts.

    How faces modulate visual attention and awareness

    Some of my current research uses binocular rivalry techniques to understand how familiar and unfamiliar faces are prioritised in visual awareness.

    I take a great interest in public engagement. Most recently I received funding from the ESRC to run a day of interactive psychology-themed exhibits at Skegness Aquarium. The event was called “The Community Lab”, and in March 2018 I was awarded a Commendation in the Vice Chancellor’s Public Engagement with Research Awards because of my work on this event among others.

  • Tracey Thornborrow


    I am a lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln. As part of a Leverhulme-funded project, I spent four years researching media influence on local beauty ideals in Nicaragua’s remote Caribbean Coast. Study findings provided evidence of the media’s power to shape appearance ideals and impact upon body image in a non-Western context. I am continuing to do research in Nicaragua, the U.K and Spain.

    My current ongoing research projects include; investigating male body image and men’s desire for muscularity across cultures; the measurement of positive body image among samples from four South American countries; understanding the development of children’s body size perceptions and body image in the U.K and Spain. I am also collaborating on a project to develop a school-based programme that aims to build children’s resilience against potential negative impacts of appearance ideals in non-Western populations.

    Interesting fact about me: I like documentary film making in my spare time, and continue to use a camera as a method of enquiry in my research.

  • Martin Tovée


    My research focuses on the problem of body image dysfunction in Eating Disordered patients. People with Eating Disorders usually exhibit strong concerns about their weight and tend to overestimate their body size. This body image dysfunction is a key diagnostic feature in both Anorexia and Bulimia, and plays an important role in the aetiology and maintenance of these conditions. By understanding both the perceptual and psychological factors in how people assess their bodies, we hope to develop new strategies to improve the treatment of these conditions.

    My research also explores human mate selection and the perception of physical attractiveness in an evolutionary psychology context. One of the most fundamental problems for any organism is mate selection. In evolutionary terms it is important that we are sensitive to the physical cues that honestly signal that one individual is more desirable (i.e. fitter and with a better reproductive potential) than another, and use these cues to choose the partner who is most likely to enhance our chances of successful reproduction. My research has focused on the visual cues on which these judgements are based, and how environment and context may alter these judgements.

  • Piers Cornilessen


    Prof Piers Cornelissen trained as a medic at the University of Oxford and St Thomas’s Hospital London. After some time in clinical practice he moved back to Oxford for a DPhil, followed by a McDonnell-Pew post-doctoral fellowship. He eventually joined Northumbria as Chair of Cognitive Neuroscience in 2012 following periods in York and Newcastle Universities. Current research interests and questions include:

    1) Investigating the neural mechanisms that support semantic cognition, using MEG and TMS (ERC).

    2) Who is talking to whom and when: understanding the dynamics of temporal connectivity in the neural network that supports reading, using MEG (ERC)

    3) What does it mean to have distorted body image in anorexia nervosa? Psychophysical and eye movement investigation of the perception of body image in health and disease, using real world and virtual reality (VR) environments.

    4) Measuring body image in men: application of high resolution 3D body scanning and DEXA body composition measures to derives biometrically accurate stimuli.

    5) Are we truly perceptually binocular when we read?

    6) Application of Bayesian statistical models to the analysis of time-frequency MEG data.

  • Hélène Mottier

    Visiting Researcher

    I’m Helene, an external research visitor at the University of Lincoln. I completed my undergraduate in Cognitive Psychology in Toulouse and now I do my Ph.D. in Grenoble (France). My doctoral research focuses on the cognitive development of aesthetic feelings for paintings as portraits and landscapes. More specifically, we try to test the influences of visual analyses versus experiences and knowledges. To do so, we are interested in what infants prefer to look at using eye-tracker system and whether it is linked with what adults find beautiful. We also want to test the effect of visual saliency on the looking time for both infants and adults, comparing different approaches.