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Dr Richard Thomas

Senior Lecturer - Psychology

About Research

Biography

Richard obtained his BSc.in Psychology and MSc. in Cognitive Science from the University of Manchester. He joined the Neuroscience Research Institute at Aston University, Birmingham to complete his PhD examining the neural correlates of object recognition. Following this, he worked as a post-doctoral fellow at University College London with Professor Patrick Haggard on a project examining how we understand others through the mechanism of interpersonal body representation, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Richard joined St Mary’s as a lecturer in 2007 and has been a senior lecturer since 2012. He teaches on the undergraduate psychology and foundation degree programmes. His particular teaching and supervisory focus is on areas of his research expertise including social neuroscience, cognition, perception, and research methods and statistics.

Academic responsibilities

  • Academic conduct officer
  • Personal Tutor

Modules

  • PSY4001 Research Methods and Statistics I
  • PSY4004 Introduction to Cognitive and Biological Psychology
  • PSY5008 Social Brain
  • PSY6001 Research Project
  • PSY6014 Perception

Research

Richard's major areas of research are the social brain; how we understand the actions, emotions, and perceptions of others, and embodied cognition; how our bodies influence and constrain how we think. He also carries out research on numerical cognition, multi-sensory perception, agency and self-other body awareness, and perspective-taking.

Richard is interested in the mechanisms of our social nature; in particular how we understand the intentions, emotions, and goals of other people in order to function successfully in the modern world. This includes using behavioural and neurophysiological methods to study processes such as action observation, body representation, empathy, and the sense of agency.

Richard is also interested in the mechanisms of embodied cognition; for example, you are better able to recall a visit to the dentist if you match the sensorimotor conditions you experienced at that time. i.e., you are sat in a reclined chair. Richard is particularly interested in the mechanisms underpinning such embodied effects within the areas of autobiographical memory and language comprehension.

PhD Supervision

Richard is happy to supervise research projects of PhD students in any of the above or related areas. Please contact him directly richard.thomas@stmarys.ac.uk if you would like to discuss projects further.

Awards

  • 2018: Research and Scholarship Fund, £435 for presentation of research at International Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • 2017: Research and Scholarship Fund, £701 for attendance and networking at European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCoP) Conference, Berlin, Germany.
  • 2011: Research and Scholarship Fund £1360 for research assistant for data collection leading to publication of 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, 796

Publications

  • 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.
  • 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, 796.
  • Engbert, K., Thomas, R., Wohlschlager, A. & Haggard, P. (2008). Action awareness in self and other: An interval estimation study. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 33, 1261-1268.
  • Thomas, R., Press, C. & Haggard, P. (2006). Shared representations in body perception. Acta Psychologica, 121, 317-330.
  • Thomas, R. & Forde, E. (2006). The role of local and global processing in category-specificity. Neuropsychologia, 44, 982-986.
  • Blakemore, S-J., Thomas, R., Frith, U. & Haggard, P. (2006). Tactile sensitivity in Asperger's Syndrome. Brain and Cognition, 61, 5-13.
  • Thomas, R., Forde, E., Humphreys, G., & Graham, K. (2002). A longitudinal study of a patient with category-specific visual agnosia. Neurocase, 8, 466-479.
  • Wearden, J., Rogers, P., & Thomas, R. (1997). Temporal bisection in humans with longer stimulus durations. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. B, Comparative & Physiological Psychology, 50, 79-94.

Conference Papers

  • August 2018: The embodiment of abstract concepts: A TMS study, Embodied Language Processing Conference. Lancaster, UK.
  • May 2018: The role of the intraparietal sulcus in simple and complex computation using TMS, International Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • May 2018: Embodied autobiographical memory, International Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • September 2017: European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCoP) Conference, Berlin, Germany.
  • October 2011: 12th Meeting of the International Multisensory Research Forum. Fukuoka, Japan.
  • Oct 2006: Social Cognitive Neuroscience Workshop, UCL, London.
  • Sept 2005: International workshop on Body Representation, Oxford University.
  • May 2005: Institute of Child Health (ICH). External Seminar Series, London.
  • March 2005: International workshop on Body Representation, Oxford University.
  • June 2004: IMRF 2004. 5th Meeting of the International Multisensory research Forum. Barcelona.