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Perception and Action Research Group

Perception and Action

The Liverpool Hope University Perception & Action Group is dedicated to studying various topics of visual perception, auditory-visual integration and interaction of perception and action, including action prediction.

We employ methods of psychophysics, eye-tracking technique and psychophysiology (EEG), along with mathematical modelling. Our goal is to further the understanding of cognitive and neural underpinnings of human perception and action, and to translate this knowledge into improving human functioning, communication and human-computer interaction.

Chromatic discrimination

This psychophysical research that employs the Cambridge Colour Test is threefold: (i) variation of colour vision across the lifespan; chromatic discrimination in developmental dyslexia, and (iii) diagnostics of and probing neural mechanisms underlying impairment of chromatic discrimination in persons with congenital red-green abnormality (Prof Galina Paramei).

Auditory-Visual Integration

Projects in this area look at the combination of auditory and visual information, and how this affects perception and attention.In particular, we study the effects of emotional cues presented in one modality (e.g., vision) on processing in a separate modality (e.g. hearing) (Dr Neil Harrison).

Emotion Perception & EEG

This project investigates the influence on cortical responses (measured by EEG oscillations and ERPs) of strategies that participants use to regulate and control their emotions (Dr Neil Harrison).

Perception of Car Front Images

In this project, using eye tracking techniques and car front images, we investigate (i) eye-movement correlates of visual complexity and aesthetic judgements and (ii) conceived similarity of eye-movement scan paths of car fronts and faces (Prof Galina Paramei).

Face Perception

We investigate (i) the relationship between empathy and accuracy of perception of emotion in face and voice (Prof Galina Paramei & Dr Neil Harrison); (ii) systematic distortions in drawings of faces (Dr Neil Harrison).

Visual Attention to Threatening Stimuli

In this project we explore the impact of threatening stimuli on the scope of attention (Dr Yue Yue).

Social cognition

We study mechanisms of action and understanding emotion, in relation to Theory of Mind, in infants and adults who are either typically developing or autistic, by using behavioural measures, eye-tracking and electrophysiological (EEG and EMG) measures (Dr Letizia Palumbo).

Visual preference and aesthetics

In this project, using abstract patterns, we examine the interplay of visual perception and emotional processes in hedonic evaluations of different parameters (visual complexity, symmetry and shape contour) using behavioural, eye-tracking and electrophysiological (EEG) measures. Related to it is also our interest in embodied simulation and perspective-taking accounts, as well as their impact in empathy, creativity and aesthetic experience (Dr Letizia Palumbo).

Feature Binding in Writing Development

This project addresses questions of relative impact of the ability to bind multiple features of stimuli (e.g. visual and auditory) within short-term memory on the development of early writing skills (e.g. transcription and text generation) in children aged 5-7 years. This aspect of cognitive functioning is in particular investigated in the context of visuo-spatial and phonological working memory, executive functioning and reading ability (Dr Lorna Bourke & Dr Simon Davies).

A relationship between cross-modal correspondences and storage capacity of short-term memory

Using behavioural measures this project is seeking to establish the role that cross-modal correspondences have upon the ability to retain information over short periods of time. Existing research has shown that memory can be enhanced when stored features belong to the same object compared to when they belong to different objects. Current series of studies seeks to look also at additional non-arbitrary features of an object [e.g. whether a bright colour of an angular object (correspondence) is better stored than a dull colour (non-correspondence) (Dr Simon Davies).

Perception of somatotypes, cross-modal correspondences and personality stereotypes

This study seeks to find out whether different somatotypes are associated with personality stereotypes using judgements along a set of perceptual dimensions. Based on known research on cross-modal correspondences, that shows that shape, size and other features can affect one’s perceptual judgements even though these features are irrelevant to the judgement, we explore whether perception of someone’s personality is similarly influenced by non-relevant features (Dr Simon Davies).

Illusory distortion of the speed in the horizontal-vertical illusion

In the horizontal-vertical illusion the size is distorted whereby vertical distances are perceived to be longer than matched-length horizontal distances. In this project we investigate whether this illusory distortion affects perceived speed, in particular, just-noticeable differences are measured for targets moving either vertically and horizontally (Dr Simon Davies).

Affect and Emotional Events

This project investigates how the cortical response (a measured in EEG) to emotional events (e.g. winning and losing) are themselves affected by emotions (Dr Michiel Spapé).

Social Neuroscience of Trust

We use a decision making game to investigate how building trust in some people and losing trust in others affects cortical responses (in EEG) to seeing faces (Dr Michiel Spapé).

Emotion and Somatosensory Perception

In this project involving virtual reality and simulated interpersonal touch, we investigate how emotive feeling determines cutaneous feeling (Dr Michiel Spapé).

A Brain-Computer Interface for Detecting Information Retrieval Intentions

We are exploring the possibility of using a brain-computer interface to detect a user’s information retrieval intention while passively reading text (Dr Michiel Spapé).



Paramei, G.V., Favrod, O., Sabel, B.A., & Herzog, M.H. (2017). Pathological completion in the intact visual field of hemianopia patients. Visual Cognition. doi:10.1080/13506285.2017.1352056 (Early view).

Paramei, G.V., Griber, Y.A., & Mylonas, D. (2017). Russian colour naming: A web-based experiment. Color Research & Application. (Early view).


Harrison, N.R., & Clark, D. (2016). The observing facet of trait mindfulness predicts frequency of aesthetic experiences evoked by the arts. Mindfulness, 7, 971-978.

Harrison, N.R., & Woodhouse, R. (2016). Modulation of Auditory Spatial Attention by Visual Emotional Cues: Differential Effects of Attentional Engagement and Disengagement for Pleasant and Unpleasant Cues. Cognitive Processing, 17, 205-211.

Harrison, N.R., & Ziessler, M. (2016). Effect anticipation affects perceptual, cognitive, and motor phases of response preparation: evidence from an event-related potential (ERP) study. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10:5. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00005

Lyons, M., Marcinkowska, U., Moisey, V., & Harrison, N.R. (2016). The effects of resource availability and relationship status on women's preference for masculinity: An eye-tracking study. Personality and Individual Differences, 95, 25-28.

Makin, A., Wright, D., Rampone, G., Palumbo, L., Guest, M., Sheehan, R., Cleaver, H., & Bertamini, M. (2016). An electrophysiological index of perceptual goodness. Cerebral Cortex. Early view publication doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhw255.

Paggetti, G., Menegaz, G., & Paramei, G.V. (2016). Color naming in Italian language. Color Research & Application, 41, 402-415.

Palumbo, L., & Bertamini, M. (2016). The curvature effect: a comparison between preference tasks. Empirical Studies of the Art, 34, 35-52.

Paramei, G.V., D’Orsi, M., & Menegaz, G. (2016). Cross-linguistic similarity affects L2 cognate representation: blu vs. blue in Italian-English bilinguals. Journal of the International Colour Association, 16, 69-81.

Rampone, G., O’Sullivan, N., & Bertamini, M. (2016). The role of visual eccentricity on preference for abstract symmetry. PLoS ONE, 11:4. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154428.

Spapé, M.M., & Ravaja, N. (2016). Not my problem: Vicarious conflict adaptation with human and virtual co-actors. Frontiers in Psychology, 7:606. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00606


Barral, O., Eugster, M.J.A., Spapé, M.M., Kosunen, I., Ravaja, N., Kaski, S., & Jacucci, G. (2015). Exploring peripheral physiology as a predictor of perceived relevance in information retrieval. In Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (pp. 389-399) Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Chassy, P., Lindell, T.A.E., Jones, J., & Paramei, G.V. (2015). A relationship between visual complexity and aesthetic appraisal of car front images: An eye-tracker study. Perception, 44, 1085-1097.

Briggs, G., & Davies, S.J. (2015). Is seeing believing? Visual perception and attention for dynamic scenes. In V. Harrison, & G. Briggs (Eds.), Investigating psychology (pp. 107-157). Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Davies, S.J. (2015). Do you see what I see? The fundamentals of visual perception. In V. Harrison, & G. Briggs (Eds.), Investigating psychology (pp. 1-55). Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Harrison, N.R., Witheridge, S., Makin, A., Pegna, A.J., Wuerger, S.M., & Meyer, G.M. (2015). The effects of stereo disparity on the behavioural and electrophysiological correlates of audio-visual motion in depth. Neuropsychologia, 78, 51-62.

Palumbo, L., Ruta, N., & Bertamini, M. (2015). Comparing angular and curved shapes in terms of implicit associations and approach/avoidance responses. Plos One, 10(10) doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0140043.

Palumbo, L., Burnett, H. G., & Jellema, T. (2015). Atypical emotional anticipation in high-functioning autism. Molecular Autism, 6:47. doi:10.1186/s13229-015-0039-7.

Palumbo, L., Ogden, R., Makin, A.D.J., & Bertamini, M. (2015). Does preference for abstract patterns relate to information processing and perceived duration? i-Perception, 6:5. doi: 10.1177/2041669515604436.

Serrien, D.J., & Spapé, M.M. (2015). Hemispheric asymmetries and the control of motor sequences. Behavioural Brain Research, 283, 30-36.

Spapé, M.M., Ahmed, I., Jacucci, G., & Ravaja, N. (2015). The self in conflict: Actors and agency in the mediated sequential Simon task. Frontiers in Psychology, 6:304. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00304

Spapé, M.M., Filetti, M., Eugster, J.A., Jacucci, G., & Ravaja, N. (2015). Human computer interaction meets psychophysiology: A critical perspective. In B. Blankertz et al. (Eds.), Symbiotic 2015. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 9359 (pp. 145-158). Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

Spapé, M.M., Hoggan, E., Jacucci, G., & Ravaja, N. (2015). The meaning of the virtual Midas Touch: An ERP study in economic decision making. Psychophysiology, 52, 378-387.

Spapé, M.M., & Hommel, B. (2014). Sequential modulations of the Simon effect depend on episodic retrieval. Frontiers in Psychology, 5:855. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00855

Verschoor, S. A., Paulus, M., Spapé, M., Biro, S., & Hommel, B. (2015). The developing cognitive substrate of sequential action control in 9-to 12-month-olds: Evidence for concurrent activation models. Cognition, 138, 64-78.

Yue, Y.,& Quinlan, P.T. (2015). Appraising the role of visual threat in speeded detection and classification tasks. Frontiers in Psychology, 6:755. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00755


Eugster, M.J.A., Ruotsalo, T., Spapé, M.M., Kosunen, I., Barral, O., Ravaja, N., Jacucci, G., & Kaski, S. (2014). Predicting term-relevance from brain signals. SIGIR 2014 Proceedings of the 37th international ACM SIGIR conference on Research & development in information retrieval (pp. 425-434).

Harrison, N.R., & McCann, A. (2014). The effect of colour and size on attentional bias to alcohol-related pictures. Psicologica, 35, 39-48.

Luciani, M., Cecchini, M., Altavilla, D., Palumbo, L., Aceto, P., … Lai, C. (2014). Neural correlates of the projection of mental states on the not-structured visual stimuli, Neuroscience Letters, 573, 24-29.

Müsseler, J., Wühr, P., & Ziessler, M. (2014). Using tools with real and imagined tool movements. Frontiers in Psychology, 5:15. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00515

Mylonas, D., Paramei, G.V., & MacDonald, L. (2014). Gender differences in colour naming. In W. Anderson, C.P. Biggam, C.A. Hough, & C.J. Kay (Eds.), Colour studies: A broad spectrum (pp. 225-239). Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Palumbo, L., Ogden, R., Makin, A.D.J., & Bertamini, M. (2014). Examining visual complexity and its effect on perceived duration. Journal of Vision, 14, 1-18.

Paramei, G.V., D’Orsi, M., & Menegaz, G. (2014). ‘Italian blues’: A challenge to the universal inventory of basic colour terms. Journal of the International Colour Association, 13, 27-35.

Paramei, G.V.,& Oakley, B. (2014). Variation of chromatic discrimination across the lifespan. Journal of the Optical Society of America A, 31, A375-A384.

Rampone, G., Makin, A.D.J., & Bertamini, M. (2014). Electrophysiological analysis of the affective congruence between pattern regularity and word valence. Neuropsychologia, 58, 107-117.

Serrien, D.J., Spapé, M.M., & Rana, G. (2014). Developmental changes in motor control: Insights from bimanual coordination. Developmental Psychology, 50, 316–323.

Spapé, M., & Ravaja, N. (2014). Social psychology of the digital age: The interpersonal neuroscience of mediated communication. In G. Meiselwitz (Ed.), Social computing and social media. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 8531 (pp. 494–505). Springer International Publishing Switzerland.

Spapé, M.M., Verdonschot, R., Van Dantzig, S., & Van Steenbergen, H. (2014). The E-Primer: An introduction to creating psychological experiments in E-Prime®. Leiden University Press:Leiden, The Netherlands.

Prof Galina Paramei (Group Coordinator)
Professor in Psychology
0151 291 3534

Dr Lorna Bourke
Principal Lecturer in Psychology
0151 291 3077

Dr Simon Davies
Lecturer in Psychology
0151 291 3049

Dr Neil Harrison
Senior Lecturer in Psychology
0151 291 3504

Dr Letizia Palumbo
Lecturer in Psychology
0151 291 3074

Dr Michiel Spapé
Lecturer in Psychology
0151 291 3162

Dr Yue Yue
Lecturer in Psychology
0151 291 3349

Professor Michael Ziessler
Professor Emeritus in Psychology 

Contact us

Perception & Action Group
Liverpool Hope University,
Hope Park,
L16 9JD

0151 291 3534