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The Cognitive Science Research Cluster at St Mary’s University aims to share ideas, methods, and findings relevant to the processes involved in human consciousness.

Cognitive science encompasses the ideas and methods of psychology, linguistics, philosophy, computer science, artificial intelligence (AI), neuroscience, and anthropology. Cognition refers to many kinds of thinking, including those involved in perception, problem solving, learning, decision making, language use, and emotional experience.

Members of the cluster share interests in topics in the field of cognitive science including Mathematical Thinking, Embodied Cognition, Autobiographical Memory, Visual Attention, Social Perception, and Social Cognition.



Current projects

Numerical cognition (Richard Thomas)
  • Examining the role of the intraparietal sulcus in simple and complex computation using TMS.
Representations of scientific knowledge (Michael Hast)
  • Examining the relationship between expressed and underlying scientific knowledge in children
Embodied language comprehension (Marcelle Fernandes, Richard Thomas)
  • Examining embodied language comprehension in memory representations.
Social touch (Richard Thomas)
  • Examining the affective dimensions of interpersonal touch.
Action perception (Lori Minini)
  • Investigating the neuroscience of visuocognitive and visuomotor performance.
Retrieval-induced forgetting (Marcelle Fernandes)
  • Examining the detrimental effects of repeated questioning/retrieval in eyewitness memory.
  • Behaviour modification as a function of retrieval-induced forgetting
Level of processing in visual attention (Guglielmo Calvini, Lubna Ahmed)
  • Exploring the effect of cognitive load on selective attention.
Social Cognition (Guglielmo Calvini, Lubna Ahmed, Kate Lawrence, Priya Maheswaran, Richard Thomas)
  • The role of social and attentional processes in unintentional perspective-taking.
  • Examining the role of eye-gaze following in theory of mind
  • Exploring the automaticity of emotion recognition
  • Exploring atypical face recognition.

Selected publications

  • Hast, M. (2018). It’s all relative: The role of object weight in toddlers’ gravity bias. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 166:696-704 doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2017.09.013
  • Ahmed, L. (2017). Knowing How You Are Feeling Depends on What’s on My Mind: Cognitive Load and Expression Categorization. Emotion, May 08. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000312.
  • Hast, M. (2016). Children’s reasoning about rolling down curves: Arguing the case for a two-component commonsense theory of motion. Science Education, 100, 837-848.
  • Lawrence K, Campbell R, Skuse D. (2015). Age, gender, and puberty influence the development of facial emotion recognition. Frontiers in Psychology. 6 (761). DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00761
  • Saunders, J., Worth, R., Vallath, S. & Fernandes, M. (2014). Retrieval-induced forgetting in repressors, defensive high anxious, high anxious and low anxious individuals. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 5(1), 97-112. DOI: 10.5127/jep.036213
  • Ip I.B., Minini L., Dow J., Parker A.J., Bridge H. (2014). Responses to interocular disparity correlation in the human cerebral cortex. Ophthalmic Physiologial Optics, 34, 186 – 198.
  • Thomas, R., Sink, J. & Haggard, P. (2013). Sensory effects of action observation: Evidence for perceptual enhancement driven by sensory rather than motor simulation. Experimental Psychology, 60, 335-346
  • Fernandes, M. & Saunders, J. (2013). Does retrieval-induced forgetting affect future social behaviour? Acta Psychologica, 144(1), 1-5
  • Ahmed, L & J de Fockert, JW. (2012). The Effects of Working Memory Capacity and Load on Selective Attention. PLoS ONE, 28 Aug 2012.10.1371/journal.pone.004310.
  • Hast, M., & Howe, C. (2012). Understanding the beliefs informing children’s commonsense theories of motion: The role of everyday object variables in dynamic event predictions. Research in Science & Technological Education, 30, 3-15.
  • Wyer, N. A., & Calvini, G. (2011). Don't sit so close to me: Unconsciously elicited affect automatically provokes social avoidance. Emotion (Washington, D.C.), 11(5), 1230-1234. doi:10.1037/a0023981
  • Thomas, R. & Curran, D. (2011). See You, Feel Me: Watching Tactile Events on an Actor's Body Modifies Subjective Sensation of Tactile Events on One's Own Body. iPerception 2(8):796 doi: 10.1068/ic796
  • Le Pelley, M. E., Reimers, S. J., Calvini, G., Spears, R., Beesley, T., & Murphy, R. A. (2010). Stereotype formation: Biased by association. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 139(1), 138-161. doi:10.1037/a0018210
  • Saunders, J., Fernandes, M. & Kosnes, L. (2009). Retrieval-induced forgetting and mental imagery. Memory & Cognition, 37, 819-828
  • Engbert, K., Thomas, R., Wohlschlager, A. & Haggard, P. Agency, subjective time, and other minds (2008). Journal of Experimental Psychology: HPP, 33, 1261-1268.