Nick Barraclough
Senior Lecturer



  • University of Edinburgh, BSc in Neuroscience
  • University of Nottingham, PhD in Psychology

Graduated from Edinburgh in neuroscience and then moved to UCL as a Wellcome Prize Student to study visual neurophysiology. He was awarded a PhD from the department of psychology at the University of Nottingham before taking up a position as a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of St Andrews. In 2006 he took a lectureship in psychology at the University of Hull before moving to the University of York in July 2011. Current research investigates the brain mechanisms underlying perception of motion, human actions and social stimuli.


  • University of St Andrews (2002-2006), Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
  • University of Hull (2006-2011), Lecturer in Psychology
  • University of York (2011-), Lecturer in Psychology



My current research is into the mechanisms of action perception. I am interested in how the visual system and mirror neuron system act enabling us to perceive, understand and make predictions about the actions and behaviour of other people. We are investigating several important questions including: 1. Is our perception of other people’s actions accurate? 2. Can we use Virtual Reality to investigate neural processing mechanisms during simulated real-life experiences? 3. Do we integrate information from multiple sensory modalities to better understand other individuals, and which brain areas are involved? 4. How is action perception changed by our immediate perceptual experience, and how do visual processing mechanisms help us predict future actions? 5. Can we improve perception of human behaviour?

We use a range of different techniques including immersive Virtual Reality, psychophysics and neuroimaging and compare results with single-unit data from non-human primates. We aim to elucidate the relationship between the function of cellular mechanisms and the perception of human action.


Investigating the mechanisms underlying perception of actions

Using natural action sequences to predict the future

Perception of multimodal actions

Investigating social perception in naturalistic environments using immersive Virtual Reality

Interactions between the visual system and the mirror neuron system

Research group(s)

 Vision group


  • Reckitt Benckiser (2012) “Role of visual and olfactory context in action perception” £40,000
  • Wellcome Trust (2012) "Investigating how visual fields change size with visual context"
  • ESRC (2011-2014) “Investigating biases in the perception of human behaviour using immersive virtual reality” £238,000
  • Nuffield Undergraduate Bursary (2010) “Investigating biases in the perception of human walking”
  • Innovation in Student Learning Fund (2009-2010) “Building the Hull Artificial Neuron” £5000
  • 80th Anniversary PhD Scholarship, University of Hull (2010-2013) “Investigating how our perception of human behaviour is distorted in ‘real life’” £40,000
  • Nuffield Undergraduate Bursary (2009) “Does the Mirror Neuron System integrate the sight and sound of actions?”
  • Nuffield Undergraduate Bursary (2008) “What visual information determines audiovisual action perception?”
  • British Academy (2007-2008) “Investigating short term adaptation to human behaviour” £2,500
  • Nuffield Undergraduate Bursary (2007) “Adaptation after-effects with goal directed actions”


  • Tjeerd Jellema (University of Hull) Action coding and action understanding
  • David Perrett (University of St Andrews) Face and social perception
  • James Ward (University of Hull) Action perception in 3D virtual environments.
  • Richard van Wezel (University of Twente) Role of form and motion in action perception

Available PhD research projects

I would be very happy to hear from potential PhD students who are interested in studying high level perception particularly the perception of actions and human behaviour, the function of the mirror neuron system and multisensory integration.  Techniques include: visual psychophysics, human behavioural testing, transcranial magnetic stimulation, full-field immersive Virtual Reality and fMR-adaptation.


  • Chris Racey
  • Bruce Keefe
  • Steve Page (University of Hull)
  • Joanna Wincenciak (University of Hull)



Selected publications

  • Nick E. Barraclough, David I. Perrett (2011) From single cells to social perception. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Vol. 366, pp. 1739-1752
  • Nick E. Barraclough, Tjeerd Jellema (2011) Visual after-effects for walking actions reveal underlying neural mechanisms for action recognition. Psychological Science. Vol. 22(1), pp.87-94
  • Jeannette A. M. Lorteije, Nick E. Barraclough, Tjeerd Jellema, Mathijs Raemaekers, Jacob Duijnhouwer, Dengke K. Xiao, Mike W. Oram, Martin J.M. Lankheet, David I. Perrett, Richard J.A. van Wezel (2011) Responses to animate implied motion processing in cortical area MT can be explained by visual low-level features. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. Vol. 23(6), pp. 1533-1548
  • Nick E. Barraclough, Rebecca H. Keith, Dengke Xiao, Mike W. Oram, David I. Perrett (2009) Visual adaptation to goal-directed hand actions. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. Vol. 21(9), pp.1806-1820
  • David I. Perrett, Dengke Xiao, Nick E. Barraclough, Christian Keysers, Mike W. Oram (2009) Seeing the future: natural image sequences produce ‘anticipatory’ neuronal activity and bias perceptual report. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Vol. 62 (11), pp. 2081-2014



  • Perception and Cognition: Perception
  • Perception of Actions and Human Behaviour


  • Topics in Psychological Research

External activities


Society for Neuroscience

Experimental Psychology Society

Editorial duties

ESRC Peer review College (2012-2014)

Editorial Panel for Nuffield Foundation Undergraduate Bursaries

Ad hoc reviewer for various Grant awarding bodies and Journals


Contact details

Dr Nick Barraclough
Senior Lecturer
Department of Psychology
Room PS/B113

Tel: 01904 323141