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Dr Lubna Ahmed

Lecturer - Psychology

About Research

Tel: 020 8240 4264


Lubna has a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Sciences, MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience, MSc in Research Methods in Psychology and a PhD in Cognitive Psychology which she completed in 2010 from Goldsmiths, University of London. She has also completed a higher education teaching certificate and is currently a member of the higher education academy.

Her teaching reflects her research expertise and is mainly in the field of Cognitive Psychology, research methods, statistics and experimental project supervision.


  • Psychology of Attention (module conveyor)
  • Research methods II (module conveyor)
  • Research methods III (module conveyor)
  • Extended Literature Review (module conveyor)
  • Independent research project (supervisor)


Research profile

Lubna is a research-active academic and is leading work on several innovative projects. Her current interests can be summarised into the following broad themes; Visual attention, Social cognition, Cross-cultural differences in cognition, and pedagogical research related to academic performance.

Her PhD and experimental paradigms are based on the Cognitive Psychology approach, which she utilises to test and develop theories on how attention is impacted by cognitive load. Or put another way, how distracted we become in mentally effortful situations. The findings have been published in high impact peer-reviewed journals have since been explored in alternative settings.

Her most recent work applies the visual attention theories to more socially relevant visual information. For instance, how reductions in cognitive resources affect our ability to correctly recognise emotions displayed in facial expression and body language – does our mental state dictate how well we can ‘read’ people? In addition, she also addresses the impact environment (nature Vs. urban) may have on efficiency of cognitive functions. In particular, exploring the potential restorative effect engaging with nature has on attention and cognitive functioning. In the past, she has also been involved in projects addressing the importance of retrieval cues to memory retrieval, and also factors affecting task switching.

In 2010 Lubna was awarded a British Academy grant to conduct a research project in Japan; the objective of this work is to investigate if cultural rearing and experience influences how we process and interpret cognitive information. With collaborators at Kyoto University, interesting differences between how East (Japanese) and Western (British) individuals process visual stimuli and facial expressions were uncovered. Her current projects further investigates the fascinating culture-cognition interplay.

Finally, in parallel to the cognitive psychology projects, she also conducts pedagogical research. The goal is to understand factors that influence undergraduate students’ relationship with feedback. This knowledge-base is intended to be applied to generate interventions to enhance the student experience and aid undergraduates in fulfilling their academic potential.

Lubna is the lead for the Cross-Culture Research Cluster, which she set up in 2017.

PhD supervision

  • PhD Candidate LW: The Impact of diverse cultural orientations on Language-induced emotions in MNTs.
  • PhD Candidate SS: Causes and effects of diminishing Product Life cycles in Mobile phones technology

Lubna is keen to supervise research projects of PhD students in any of the above or related areas. Please contact her by emailing if you would like to discuss projects further.

The methodologies available include surveys, behavioural computer based testing and neuroimaging techniques, including eye tracking, EEG/ERP and TMS.

External activity

External collaborators
  • Professor Jun Saiki, Kyoto University, Japan
  • Dr Yoshie Ueda, Kyoto University, Japan
  • Dr Jan de Fockert, Goldsmith, University of London, UK
  • Dr Aspasia Paltoglou, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK.
  • Dr Nadia Ali, Huddersfield University, UK
  • Dr Sarah Rose, Staffordshire University, UK
Services to the field
  • Journal reviewer: PLoS One, QJEP, AP&P, Memory and Cognition, Frontiers in Psychology
  • Grant rapporteur: ESRC
  • Book reviews: Perception, The Psychologist, PsyPag

Memberships and affiliations

  • Full Membership: ESCOP: European Society of cognitive Neuroscience. 2008-present
  • Full Membership: International Association for Cross-cultural psychology. 2016- present
  • Faculty member membership: International Social Cognition Network. 2015-present
  • Committee Member: BPS, London and Home Counties Branch. 2007-2011.
  • Committee Member: Psychology Postgraduates Affairs Group (PsyPag). 2007-2009 
  • Postdoc Member: American Psychological Society. 2010-2011.
  • Student Membership: BACN: British Society of Cognitive Neuroscience. 2006-present
  • Kings & Imperial College Alumni. 2000-present

Selected Publications

  • Lubna Ahmed, Yoshiyuki Ueda, Jun Saiki (under review). Does Cognitive Load affect Facial Expression Categorisation? It depends on your Cultural Background. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
  • Ahmed, L. (2018). Knowing how you are feeling depends on what’s on my mind: Cognitive load and expression categorization. Emotion, 18(2), 190-201.
  • Nadia Ali, Lubna Ahmed & Sarah Rose. (2017). Identifying predictors of students' perception of and engagement with assessment feedback. Active Learning in Higher Education. ISSN 1469-7874, 22 November.
  • Nadia Ali, Sarah Rose & Lubna Ahmed (2014). Psychology students’ perception of and engagement with feedback as a function of year of study. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education.
  • Ahmed, L & de Fockert, JW. (2012). Working memory can both impair and improve selective attention. Evidence from the Navon paradigm. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, Online First™,
  • Ahmed, L & J de Fockert, JW. Focusing on Attention (2012). The Effects of Working Memory Capacity and Load on Selective Attention. PLoS ONE, 28 Aug 2012.10.1371/journal.pone.004310.
  • Caparos S, Ahmed L, Bremner AJ, de Fockert JW, Linnell KJ, Davidoff J (2012). Exposure to an urban environment alters the local bias of a remote culture. Cognition, Volume 122, Issue 1, Pages 80–85.
  • Sumner and L. Ahmed. Task switching (2006). The effect of task recency with dual- and single-affordance stimuli. The quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, Jul;59(7):1255-76.
  • Timothy J. Perfect, Louisa-Jayne Stark, Jeremy J. Tree, Christopher J.A. Moulin, L. Ahmed, and Russell Hutter. Transfer appropriate forgetting (2004). The cue-dependent nature of retrieval-induced forgetting. Journal of Memory and Language, Volume 51, Issue 3, 399–417.

Selected conference papers

  • BPS: Cognitive section Annual conference, Liverpool, UK, 2018. Conference talk
  • ‘Facial Expression Processing: The effect of Culture and Cognitive load’. 24-29th July, 2016: International Congress of Psychology. Yokohama, Japan.
  • ‘Processing Emotional information: Do we read the face or body?’. 30th July - 3rd August, 2016: International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology. Nagoya, Japan
  • ‘Face processing under cognitive load’. European society of cognitive psychology. Paphos, Cyprus. September 2015.
  • ‘The effect of cognitive load on visual selective attention’. European society of cognitive psychology. Budapest, Hungary, 29th Aug-1st Sep 2013
  • ‘Psychology students’ perceptions and engagements with feedback alter as a function of year of study’. 3rd International Conference on Education and Educational Psychology. Istanbul, Turkey, 2012.
  • ‘How is the selective attention of low and high working memory capacity individuals affected when low and high working memory load is imposed?’ International society for the study of individual differences (ISSID), London. 2011.
  • ‘Do the interactive effects between attentional networks vary as a function of WMC? An investigation utilising two versions of the ANT task’. EPS-SEPEX joint conference: Granada, Spain. 2010.
  • ‘Individual differences in Working Memory Capacity modulate the Effects of Working Memory Load on Visual Selective Attention’. Cognitive Neuroscience Annual conference, San Francisco, USA. 2008.
  • ‘Individual differences in working memory predict attentional shifting’. European Society of Cognitive Psychology Annual Meeting, Marseille, France. 2007.
  • ‘Working memory capacity determines the ability to overcome distraction as cognitive load is increased: A study utilising the Navon-Paradigm’. Psypag Annual Conference, SouthBank University, London, UK.2007.

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