Accessibility statement

Nick Barraclough
Senior Lecturer



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

Departmental roles

  • Deputy Chair of the Board of Examiners
  • University Research concordat committee member



My current research is into the mechanisms of action perception. I am interested in how the visual system and mirror neuron system interact 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. How 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 in professionals?

We use a range of different techniques including immersive Virtual Reality (VR), 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 how the mirror neuron and mentalizing systems interact in Autism
  • Investigating how adaptation enhances action perception
  • How to we predict what people are going to do during natural action sequences
  • Perception of multimodal actions
  • Investigating social perception in naturalistic environments using immersive Virtual Reality
  • Determining the multidimensional framework in which actions are represented in the brain

Research group(s)

 Vision group


  • AHRC (2014-2018) “Care for the future” Large Research Grant AH/M004457/1, £1,800,000
  • 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


  • James Ward (University of Hull) Action perception in 3D virtual environments
  • Stephan de la Rosa (Max Planck institute of Biological Cybernetics) Action adaptation
  • Peter Enticott (Deakin University , Melbourne) TMS studies of Autism
  • Chris Petkov (University of Newcastle) fMRI and single unit studies of adaptation
  • Tjeerd Jellema (University of Hull) Action coding and action understanding
  • David Perrett (University of St Andrews) Face and social 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, eye-tracking, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), electroencephalography (EEG), full-field immersive Virtual Reality (VR) and fMR-adaptation, in both typically developing individuals as well as some clinical populations (e.g. Individuals with Autism).


  • Richard Oakes
  • Claire Reading



Selected publications



  • Perception and Cognition year 2: High-level perception
  • Advanced Module: Perception of Actions and Human Behaviour


  • Topics in Cognitive Neuroscience

External activities


  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Experimental Psychology Society
  • Applied Vision Association

Editorial duties

  • ESRC and Carnegie Trust peer review colleges
  • 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