Welcome to the Atkinson lab for Social Perception

About me:

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology, Durham University, UK.

I am originally from New Zealand, where I completed BSc and MSc degrees in Psychology at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch. I moved to the UK to undertake a doctorate in the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, under the supervision of Martin Davies, who was then Wilde Reader in Mental Philosophy. I then took up a lectureship in Psychology at King Alfred’s College Winchester (now University of Winchester). From there I moved to Durham University, where I have been since 2003. I have held visiting research fellowships at the University of York (2001; host: Prof Andy Young) and the University of Iowa (2004; host: Prof Ralph Adolphs).

My research focuses on the psychological and neural mechanisms underpinning our ability to perceive social information, such as emotions and personality traits, from faces and bodies. I am a member of the Durham Centre for Imaging (DCI), of Durham University’s Centre for Vision and Visual Cognition, and of the Department of Psychology’s Perception, Action & Awareness research group.

Current funding:

• ESRC/Open Research Area (ORA). “’EmoOrigin’: Production and perception of expressions of emotions in humans and their closest relatives.” Team member (PI: Dr Mariska Kret, Leiden University; PI: Dr Zanna Clay, Durham). £469,239, 2019-2022.

Some past funding:

• A Network Grant from the Arts & Humanities Research Council (UK), in collaboration with Prof. Matthew Ratcliffe • A Short-Term Fellowship from the Human Frontiers Science Program • Membership of the McDonnell Project in Philosophy and the Neurosciences • A Research Fellowship grant from the Leverhulme Trust