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Perception Laboratory People


Principal Investigator

Dr Nuala Brady

Nuala has a PhD in Experimental Psychology from Cornell University and a BA in Psychology from Trinity College Dublin. She is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at UCD and directs the Perception Lab. Nuala is interested in various aspects of perception and action, including social perception, visual processing in dyslexia and visual & motor imagery. Her research on ‘social cognition’ investigates the perceptual and cognitive processes that underlie our ability to understand others’ actions and intentions and to communicate our own. Along with students from the Perception Lab and collaborators, she investigates the representation of biological motion, faces, bodies and hand gestures with a view to understanding how these processes might be compromised in disorders such as autism (ASD) that are characterized by anomalous social functioning. If you are interested in MLitt or PhD research in any of these areas, or wish to join the Perception Lab as a summer intern, please contact Nuala at nuala.brady@ucd.ie.

Current Lab Members

Post- doctoral researchers

(opens in a new window)Sarah Cooney, Post-doctoral researcher and Teaching Fellow, School of Psychology UCD
Sarah obtained a BA Honours (Philosophy and Psychology) and Higher Diploma (Psychology) from NUI Galway, an MSc (Psychological Research, focus on fMRI and Cognitive Neuroscience) from Bangor University, Wales. She received her PhD, funded by the Irish Research Council, from UCD under the supervision of Dr. Nuala Brady. Sarah is primarily curious as to how we optimally integrate sensory information to generate a coherent sense of bodies and objects. With the Perception Lab, Sarah works on projects that look at face and pointing perception. Sarah also collaborates with researchers in TCD on an interdisciplinary European project (opens in a new window)weDRAW,  that aims to find the most suitable sensory modality to teach school aged children core concepts in geometry and mathematics.

Áine has a PhD in Psychology (developmental cognitive neuroscience) from Lancaster University, along with an MSc in Neuroscience and a BA in Psychology and English Literature from Trinity College Dublin. She currently works as a post-doctoral research associate in the University of Cambridge. Áine is interested in lifespan development with a specific focus on infancy. She is particularly interested in the interactions between early motor development and social development – for example, how understanding others’ actions is aided when the infant can mentally simulate performing the same action. With the Perception Lab, she has worked on research investigating the role of motor representations and body imagery in mapping representations of one’s own body onto others.

Post Graduate Students

Ailbhe is currently completing her masters under the supervision of Dr Brady. She has presented her research at international conferences - ECVP in Trento, Italy and in UCL. Ailbhe’s research looks at how we read the direction of social cues, specifically eye gaze and pointing gestures.  Using psychophysics, eye-tracking and motion tracking Ailbhe’s research aims to better understand the perception and action of these social cues. Ailbhe is also interested in enhancing ecological validity in social perception and cognitive experiments.

Research Assistant

Maryanne Brassil

Maryanne is a psychology undergraduate student in UCD.

Lab Alumni

  • Sophie Leonard – Masters in Psychological Science

Project - Spatial Perspective Taking and Empathy

  • Kate Darmody - Masters in Psychological Science

Project – Holistic Processing in Dyslexia

  • (opens in a new window)Helen Keyes (Ph.D. in Psychology, UCD, now Senior Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University  )
  • Stuart Jackson  (M.Sc. in Cognitive Science at UCD, now postdoctoral research fellow in Neuroscience at New York University)
  • Dr Brendan Rooney (MLitt in Psychology, UCD, now Lecturer at UCD)
  • (opens in a new window)Corrina Maguinness (MA in Cognitive Science, UCD, now postdoctoral researcher at Max Planck Institute for Human Cognition and Brain Sciences)
  • Laura Cleary (MLitt in Psychology, UCD, now student counsellor at UCD)
  • Aisling Conway (M.Litt in Psychology, UCD)
  • Neuroscience Interns (Alanna O'Shea, Holly Dignam, Melanie Minor, Sarah Price)
  • Psychology Masters Students (Katie Ryan, Alexandra Plott, Siobhan Blackwell now at University of Birmingham, Kathy Looney, now at Royal Holloway, London)
  • Psychology Undergraduates (Patrick Murphy (now at UCL), Hannah Allen)
  • Lab RAs (Chris Hickey, Ciaran Fitzgerald, Sean Langford)

Collaborators (past and present)

  • Áine Ní Choisdealbha, Cambridge
  • Sarah Cooney, TCD
  • Achille Pasqualotto (Queen Mary University of London)
  • Niko Troje (Queen's University, Canada)
  • Anthony Hayes (UCD)
  • Colin Tredoux (University of Cape Town)
  • Michael Fitzgerald (TCD)
  • Fiona Newell (TCD)

UCD School of Psychology

Newman Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.