Mike Burton



Mike has held positions at the universities of Nottingham, Stirling, Glasgow and Aberdeen. His research interests include cognitive science, and particularly face recognition.

  • BSc, Joint Hons. Mathematics and Psychology, University of Nottingham 1980
  • PhD Psychology, University of Nottingham, 1983


  • 2015-present,  Professor of Psychology, University of York
  • 2011-2015, Professor of Psychology, University of Aberdeen
  • 1994-2011, Professor of Psychology, University of Glasgow
  • 1992-1994, Lecturer in Psychology, University of Stirling
  • 1984-1992, Lecturer in Psychology, University of Nottingham. 



Face Perception


My research focuses on face perception, and particularly face recognition – trying to understand how we can recognise the people we know.  In my current projects I am exploring the role of variability: we encounter people over a huge range of visual conditions, and yet recognise our family and friends with ease.  Understanding these processes provides insights into the fundamental processes of perception, but also help in forensic and security settings. 

Research group(s)

Perception and Action


  • ESRC Professorial Fellowship:  Nov 2012 – Oct 2015-01-12
  • ERC Advanced Grant:  June 2013 – May 2017


Selected publications

  • Burton, A.M., Kramer, R.S.S., Ritchie, K.L., & Jenkins, R. (2016).  Identity from variation: Representation of faces derived from multiple instances. Cognitive Science, 40(1), 202-223.
  • Burton, A.M., Schweinberger, S.R., Jenkins, R., & Kaufmann, J.M. (2015). Arguments against a configural processing account of familiar face recognition. Perspectives on Psychological Science10(4), 482–496. 
  • White, D., Kemp, R. I., Jenkins, R., Matheson, M., & Burton, A. M. (2014). Passport Officers’ Errors in Face Matching. PLoS ONE9(8), e103510.
  • Burton, A. M (2103) Why has research in face recognition progressed so slowly? The importance of variability. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 66, 1467-1485.

Full publications list

External activities


  • Experimental Psychology Society - President 2016-2017, Honorary Secretary 1996-1999
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh,  Elected 2006
  • REF2014 - Panel Member: Psychology, Psychiatry & Neuroscience (Panel 4)
  • British Association for the Advancement of Science - President of the Psychology Section 2000-2001

Editorial duties

  • Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology - Editor 2006-2009
  • Perception - Editorial Board 2009-present

Contact details

Prof. Mike Burton
Department of Psychology
Room C206

Tel: 01904 323140