Accessibility statement

Mike Burton



Mike has held positions at universities across the UK. 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
    • Head of Psychology, University of York 2017-2020
  • 2011-2015, Professor of Psychology, University of Aberdeen
  • 1994-2011, Professor of Psychology, University of Glasgow
    • Head of Psychology, University of Glasgow 1996-1999
    • Head of Psychology, University of Glasgow 2008-2011
  • 1992-1994, Lecturer in Psychology, University of Stirling
  • 1984-1992, Lecturer in Psychology, University of Nottingham



My research focuses on face perception. I am particularly interested in identification – we encounter faces over a huge range of visual conditions, and yet we can recognise the people we know quickly and easily.  The research aims to provide insights into fundamental aspects of human perception. It also has application in computer-based face recognition, and in forensic settings.


My current projects concern the role of variability in face recognition:  how does our perceptual system use different images of the same person to derive stable representations?  Together with my group and my collaborators, I use experimental and computational modelling aproaches to address this problem.  We also collaborate with security agencies in the UK and internationally on issues related to personal identificiation.


  • ESRC Professorial Fellowship:  2012 – 2016
  • ERC Advanced Grant:  2013 – 2018
  • ESRC Grant 'Putting the individual into face recognition: Bridging theory and application', with Holger Wiese, Durham University: 2023-2026
  • ESRC Grant 'High-fidelity avatars for behaviour and cognition research', with Markus Bindemann, Univeristy of Kent, 2023-2026


  • York University:  Rob Jenkins, Andy Young, Tim Andrews, Cade McCall
  • Kent University: Markus Bindemann
  • Durham University: Holger Wiese
  • University of Jena:  Stefan Schweinberger,  Gyula Kovács
  • University of New South Wales:  David White, Richard Kemp


Selected publications

  • Wiese, H., Schipper, M., Popova, T., Burton, A. M., & Young, A. W. (2023). Personal familiarity of faces, animals, objects, and scenes: Distinct perceptual and overlapping conceptual representations. Cognition, 241, 105625.
  • White, D., & Burton, A. M. (2022). Individual differences and the multidimensional nature of face perception. Nature Reviews Psychology, 1(5), 287-300.
  • Lavan, N., Mileva, M., Burton, A. M., Young, A. W., & McGettigan, C. (2021). Trait evaluations of faces and voices: Comparing within- and between-person variability. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 150(9), 1854-1869.
  • Mileva, M., Young, A. W., Jenkins, R., & Burton, A. M. (2020). Facial identity across the lifespan. Cognitive Psychology, 116.
  • Mileva, M., & Burton, A. M. (2019). Face search in CCTV surveillance. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 4(37), 1–21.
  • Kramer, R.S.S., Young, A.W., & Burton, A.M. (2018). Understanding face familiarity. Cognition, 172, 46-58.
  • Kramer, R.S.S., Young, A.W., Day, M., & Burton, A.M. (2017). Robust social categorization emerges from learning the identities of very few faces. Psychological Review, 124(2), 115-129.
  • 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.

Full publications list

External activities


  • Fellow of the British Academy, Elected 2017
  • Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, Elected 2019
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh,  Elected 2006
  • Experimental Psychology Society - President 2016-2017, Honorary Secretary 1996-1999
  • British Association for the Advancement of Science - President of the Psychology Section 2000-2001
  • REF2014 and REF2021 - Panel Member: Psychology, Psychiatry & Neuroscience (Panel 4)

Editorial duties

  • Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology - Editor 2006-2009
  • Perception - Editorial Board 2009-2017
  • Psychological Science - Editorial Board 2017-2020

Contact details

Mike Burton
Department of Psychology
Room PS/E105

Tel: 01904 323140