Eye-Tracking and Imagery Research Laboratory

directed by Prof Aidan Moran

The Eye-Tracking and Imagery Research Laboratory was established by Prof Aidan Moran and his research team (including Colin Burke, Chief Technical Officer, School of Psychology) to investigate “cognition in action” – especially the visual attentional and motor imagery (“seeing” and “feeling” an action in one’s imagination without actually executing it) processes that underlie expertise in skilled performance (e.g., in sport, medical surgery, music, dance).

Recent postgraduate psychology students include Helen O’Shea (PhD; 2014-2017; doctoral scholarship funded by the Irish Research Council), Katy Carey (Master of Psychological Science, 2016-2017) and Aoife Quinn (PhD; 2013-2016; doctoral scholarship funded by the Irish Research Council). Helen graduated in December 2017. The title of her thesis was “An investigation into the neurocognitive processes underlying motor imagery”. Katy also graduated in December 2017 and her dissertation was entitled “Mastery of modern dance choreography: An investigation into the relationship between expertise, motor imagery and attentional effort”. Aoife graduated in September 2017. The title of her thesis was “An investigation of expert-novice differences in eye-tracking and motor imagery in equestrian athletes”.

The research methods that we use in our lab include eye-tracking technology (e.g., the Tobii Pro X3-120 desk-top system and the Tobii Pro Glasses 2 wearable eye-tracker) and pupil dilation measures of attentional processes (such as gaze characteristics, mental effort). In addition, we use chronometric (time-based) methods and psychometric tests to assess motor imagery processes. The chronometric measures involve comparison of the imagined and actual duration of the execution of designated skills.

Current international research collaborators include colleagues in England (e.g., Prof Nick Sevdalis, King’s College, London; Dr John Toner, Univ of Hull) and France (e.g., Prof Christian Collet and Prof Aymeric Guillot, Université Lyon 1).

Selected recent publications from Eye-Tracking and Imagery Research Laboratory (2015-present)

Moran, A, Campbell, M., & Ranieri, D. (under review). Eye tracking technology in applied sport psychology. Journal of Sport Psychology in Action

Moran, A., & Toner, J. (2018). Attentional processes in sport and performance. In O. Braddick (Ed.), Oxford research encyclopaedia of psychology. New York: Oxford University Press

O’Shea, H., & Moran, A. (2018). To go or not to go? Pupillometry elucidates inhibitory mechanisms in motor imagery, Journal of Cognitive Psychology, doi: 10.1080/20445911.2018.1461104

Moran, A., Sevdalis, N., & Wallace, L. (2018). Surgical performance from a psychological perspective. In O. Braddick (Ed.), Oxford research encyclopaedia of psychology. New York: Oxford University Press. See http://psychology.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190236557.001.0001/acrefore-9780190236557-e-192?result=72&rskey=JNnBbU

O'Shea, H., & Moran, A. (2017). Does motor simulation theory explain the cognitive mechanisms underlying motor imagery? A critical review. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11: 72, doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00072

Toner, J., Montero, B., & Moran, A. (2016). Reflective and pre-reflective bodily awareness in skilled action. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, 3, 303-315. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cns0000090

Moran, A., Quinn, A., Campbell, M., Rooney, B., Brady, N., & Burke, C. (2016). Using pupillometry to evaluate attentional effort in quiet eye: A preliminary investigation. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 5, 365-376. doi.org/10.1037/spy0000066

Moran, A. (2016). Expertise and mental practice. In R. J. Schinke, K. R. McGannon, & B. Smith (eds). The Routledge international handbook of sport psychology (pp. 421-428). London: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.

O’Shea, H., & Moran, A. (2016). Chronometric and pupil-size measurements illuminate the relationship between motor execution and motor imagery in expert pianists. Psychology of Music, 44, 1289-1303. doi 10.1177/0305735615616286

Toner, J., Jones, L., & Moran, A. (2016). Bodily crises in skilled performance: Considering the need for artistic habits. Performance Enhancement and Health, 4, 50-57. doi.org/10.1016/j.peh.2015.10.001

Toner, J., Montero, G., & Moran, A. (2015). The perils of automaticity. Review of General Psychology, 19, 431-442. doi.org/10.1037/gpr0000054

Toner, J., & Moran, A. (2015). Toward an explanation of continuous improvement in expert athletes: the role of consciousness in deliberate practice. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 46, 666-675. doi 10.7352/IJSP2015.46.666

Toner, J., Montero, B., & Moran, A. (2015). Considering the role of cognitive control in expert performance. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 14,1127-1144. doi 10.1007/s11097-014-9407-6

Toner, J., Moran, A. (2015). Enhancing performance proficiency at the expert level: considering the role of “somaesthetic awareness''. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 16, 110-117. doi: doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2014.07.006

Moran, A., Bramham, J., Collet, C., Guillot, A., & MacIntyre, T. (2015). Motor imagery in clinical disorders: importance and implications. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 6:23, 1-4 doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2015.00023



In addition, a short video of  “Focused: Exploring the Concentration Skills of Expert Performers” given as part of the Dublin Talks/Royal Irish Academy series of public lectures


Human Performance Webinar

by Mike Bartels the Research Director of Insight Services Tobii Pro.

In this webinar, Mike discusses the applications of eye tracking technology in human performance research. The presentation includes examples of visual behaviour research across a variety of disciplines – including some of the work of  Professor Aidan Moran and Helen O’Shea.