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, IT Specialist, 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).

Current postgraduate psychology students include Helen O’Shea (PhD; 2014-2017; funded by the Irish Research Council) who is investigating the neurocognitive processes underlying motor imagery in expert pianists and Katy Carey (MPsych Sc; 2016-2017) who is exploring the attentional and motor imagery processes underlying expertise in dance. Recently, Aoife Quinn (doctoral scholar funded by the Irish Research Council) completed her PhD thesis entitled “An investigation of expert-novice differences in eye-tracking and motor imagery in equestrian athletes” (November 2016). Our lab also facilitates the eye-tracking studies of Fionn Cleirigh Buttner (PhD scholar, Irish Research Council; UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Performance Science – principal supervisor, Dr Eamonn Delahunt).

The research methods that we use in our lab include eye-tracking technology (e.g., a Tobii desk-top system and the Tobii Glasses 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).

A profile of Prof Aidan Moran's research is available at http://www.ucd.ie/t4cms/AidanEntryMosaicBook.pdf

“For a list of publications by Prof Aidan Moran and his colleagues, see http://www.ucd.ie/research/people/psychology/professoraidanpmoran/


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.

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

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