Eye Tracking and Imagery Research Laboratory

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). This research programme has been funded mainly by the Irish Research Council.

Recent members of the research team 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).

 Visit the Perception and Motor Cognition UCD site 

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

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


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O’Shea, H., & Moran, A. (2019). Revisiting imagery in psychopathology: Why mechanisms are important. Frontiers in Psychiatry 10:457. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00457

Moran, A., Campbell, M., & Toner, J. (2019). Exploring the cognitive mechanisms of expertise in sport: Progress and prospects. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 42, 8-15. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2018.12.019

O'Shea, H., & Moran, A. (2018). Are fast complex movement unimaginable? Pupillometric studies of motor imagery in expert piano playing. Journal of Motor Behavior, 51, 371-384. doi:10.1080/00222895.2018.1485010

Carey, K., Moran, A., & Rooney, B. (2019). Learning choreography: An investigation of motor imagery, attentional effort, and expertise in modern dance. Frontiers in Psychology, 10:422. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00422

Campbell, M. J., Toth, A. J., Moran, A., Kowal, M., & Exton, C. (2018). eSports: A new window on neurocognitive expertise? Progress in Brain Research, 240, 161-174. doi:10.1016/bs.pbr.2018.09.006

MacIntyre, T. E., Madan, C. R., Moran, A., Collet, C., & Guillot, A. (2018). Motor imagery, performance and motor rehabilitation. Progress in Brain Research, 240, 141-159. doi:10.1016/bs.pbr.2018.09.01

Campbell, M. J., Moran, A., Bargery, N., Surmon, S., Bressan, S., & Kenny, I. C. (2018). Pupillometry during golf putting: A new window on the cognitive mechanisms underlying Quiet Eye. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 8(1), 53-62. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/spy0000148

Moran, A., Campbell, M., & Rainieri, D. (2018). Implications of eye tracking technology for applied sport psychology. Journal of Sport Psychology in Action, 9(4), 249-259. doi:10.1080/21520704.2018.1511660

O’Shea, H., & Moran, A. (2018). Are fast complex movements unimaginable? Pupillometric studies of motor imagery in expert piano playing. Journal of Motor Behavior, https://doi.org/10.1080/00222895.2018.1485010

Moran, A., Toner, J., & Campbell, M. (2018). Attention and concentration. In A. Mugford & J. G. Cremades (Eds.), Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology: Theories and Applications.  London: Routledge

Shah, M., Aydin, A., Moran, A., Khan, M. S., Dasgupta, P., & Ahmed, K. (2018). The role of cognitive training in endourology: A randomised controlled trial, Actas Urologicas Espanolas, 42, 163-169

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. See http://psychology.oxfordre.com/abstract/10.1093/acrefore/9780190236557.001.0001/acrefore-9780190236557-e-156?rskey=gziIrk&result=3

O’Shea, H., & Moran, A. (2018). To go or not to go? Pupillometry elucidates inhibitory mechanisms in motor imagery, Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 30, 466-483.
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