Accessibility statement

Philip Quinlan



  • Hatfield Polytechnic
  • Dundee University
  • Birkbeck College, University of London

Graduated from Hatfield Polytechnic and then carried out postgraduate work in Artificial Intelligence at Dundee University. Several research posts at Birkbeck College lead to a Ph.D. and, finally, a Lectureship in Cognitive Science. Moved to R.H.B.N.C. (now Royal Holloway, London) and then on to present position in York.

Has wide interests in cognition, perception and attention. Currently engaged in experimental studies of attentional control in the visual and auditory modalities, threat detection, and visual short-term memory. Maintains an interest in psychological aspects of neural networks.

Departmental roles

I am currently the Academic Chair of the Departmental IT Strategy Group, Chair of the Departmental Ethics Committee and Chair of the Departmental Health and Safety Committee.



My interests are quite wide - cognition, perception, attention. Mostly, I have worked in the general areas of visual and auditory cognition with special reference to the attentional control. 

More recently I have been drawn to the study of short-term memory, visual threat detection and separately, the processing of visual numbers.

Research group(s)

  • Perception and Action


Some of my research has been attracted funding from various Research Councils over the years - SRC, ESRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, MRC.


I have an on-going collaboration with Dale Cohen of The University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Dale has published some really neat stuff on visual processing and some equally smart stuff on numerical cognition. Check this out.

Relatively recently I was lucky to engage with Ian Neath of Memorial University and we have since begun to collaborate on various issues in verbal short-term memory.

Finally from time-to-time Yue and I continue to grapple with issues concerning threat detection.

Available PhD research projects

Keen to hear from potential graduate students who share my interests in human information processing.



I have no current PhD students.

Recently completed

Yue Yue on a project concerning the detection and identification of visual threats.

Former students

  • Geoff Patching - Lund University, Sweden
  • Ben Dyson – The University of Sussex
  • Falk Huettig – Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
  • Nikos Andreadis - University of Athens Medical School
  • Yue Yue – Liverpool Hope University



Selected publications

Here is a sample of some recent efforts:-

Baddeley, A. B., Hitch, G. J. & Quinlan, P. T. (In press). Is the phonological similarity effect in working memory due to proactive interference? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition.

Chubala, C., Suprenant, A. M., Neath, I., & Quinlan, P. T. (2018). Does dynamic visual noise eliminate the concreteness effect in working memory? Journal of Memory and Language, 102, 97-114.

Cohen, D. J. & Quinlan, P. T. (2018). The log-linear response function of the bounded number line task is unrelated to the psychological representation of quantity. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 25, 447-454.

Quinlan, P. T, Yue, Y., & Cohen, D. J. (2017). The processing of images of biological threats in visual short-term memory. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, B. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1283. Published 23 August 2017.

Quinlan, P. T., Roodenrys, S., & Miller, L. (2017).  Serial reconstruction of order and serial recall in verbal short-term memory. Memory & Cognition, 45, 1126-1143.

Cohen, D. J, & Quinlan, P. T. (2016). How numbers mean: Comparing random walk models of numerical cognition varying both encoding processes and underlying quantity representations. Cognitive Psychology, 91, 63-81.

And of course:- 

Quinlan, P. T. (2013). Misuse of power: in defense of small-scale science. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 14, 585.

in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.”

Full publications list

Here is a more extensive (not exhaustive) list of my publications :-

Humphreys, G. W., Besner, D., & Quinlan, P. T. (l988). Event perception and the word repetition effect. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 117, 51-67.

Humphreys, G. W., & Quinlan, P. T. (l988). Priming effects between two-dimensional shapes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 14, 203-220.

Humphreys, G. W., Riddoch, M. J., & Quinlan, P. T. (l988). Cascade processes in picture naming. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 5, 67-103.

Humphreys, G. W., Quinlan, P. T., & Riddoch, M. J. (1989). Grouping processes in visual search: Effects with single- and combined feature targets. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 118, 258-279.

Humphreys, G. W., Evett, L. J., & Quinlan, P. T. (1990). The orthographic description in visual word processing. Cognitive Psychology, 22, 517-560.

Quinlan, P. T. (1991). Differing approaches to two-dimensional shape recognition.  Psychological Bulletin, 109, 224-241.

Morrison, C. M., Ellis, A. W., & Quinlan, P. T. (1992). Age of acquisition, not word frequency, affects object naming, not object recognition. Memory & Cognition, 20, 705-714.

Quinlan, P. T. & Wilton, R. N. (1998). Grouping by proximity or similarity?: Competition between the Gestalt principles in vision. Perception, 27, 417-430.

Quinlan, P. T. (1998). Structural change and development in real and artificial neural networks. Neural Networks, 11, 577-599.

Tipples, J., Young, A. W., Quinlan, P. T., Broks, P., & Ellis, A. W. (2002). Searching for threat. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 55A, 1007-1026.

Dyson, B. J., & Quinlan, P. T. (2002). Within- and between-dimensions processing in the auditory modality. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 28, 1483-1498.

Patching, G. R., & Quinlan, P. T. (2002). Garner and congruence effects in the speeded classification of bimodal signals. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 28, 755-775.

Quinlan, P. T. (2003) Visual Feature Integration Theory: Past, present and future. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 643-673.

Dyson, B. J., & Quinlan, P. T. (2004). Stimulus processing constraints in audition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 30, 1117-1131.

Clelland, A. A., Gaskell, M. G., Quinlan, P. T, & Tamminen, J. (2006). Frequency effects in spoken and visual word recognition: Evidence from dual-task methodologies. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 32, 104-119.

Quinlan, P. T., van der Maas, H. L. J., Jansen, B. R. J., Booij, O, & Rendell, M. (2007). Re-thinking stages of cognitive development: An appraisal of connectionist models of the balance scale task. Cognition, 103, 413-459.

Gaskell, M. G., Quinlan, P. T., Tamminen, J., & Clelland, A. A. (2008). The nature of phoneme representation in spoken word recognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 137, 282-302.

Andreadis, N., & Quinlan, P. T. (2010). Task switching under predictable and unpredictable circumstances. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 72, 1776-1790.

Dyson, B. J., & Quinlan, P. T. (2010). Decomposing the Garner paradigm: Evidence for dissociations between macro-level and micro-level performance. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 72, 1676-1691.

Stainthorp, R., Stuart, M., Powell, D., Quinlan, P. T., & Garwood, H. (2010). Visual processing deficits in children with slow RAN performance. Scientific Studies of Reading, 14, 266-292.

Quinlan, P. T. (2010). On the use of the term ‘attention’ (pp. 217-243). In Mitchell, C., & Le Pelley, M. (Eds.), Attention and associative learningFrom brain to behaviour. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


 Authored books

Quinlan, P. T. (1991). Connectionism and psychology: A psychological perspective on new connectionist research (293 pages). Hemel Hempstead, Herts.: Harvester Wheatsheaf and Chicago University Press. Italian edition, 1995, Bologna, il Mulino.

Quinlan, P. T. & Dyson, B. J. (2008). Cognitive psychology (706 pages). Pearson Education. [Amazon link here.]


Edited books

Quinlan, P. T. (Ed.). (2003). Connectionist models of development: Developmental processes in real and artificial neural networks. Hove and New York: Psychology Press. (386 pages). [Amazon link here.]


Special Edition of Perception.

I recently acted as Editor for a special edition of the journal Perception that marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of Marr's Vision. [web link here.]



  • Mind and Brain (Advanced Module).


Currently, I deliver a Research Skills course to Masters and first-year Research students focused on the use of Python (PsychoPy) and Excel.

External activities


  • British Experimental Psychology Society
    Ordinary member (1987 - )
  • Brain and Behavioral Sciences 
    Associate (1988 - )
  • British Psychological Society
    Associate fellow, Chartered psychologist (1991 –
  • Psychonomics Society 
    Ordinary member (1999 - )
  • The Cognition (2007) paper was awarded the British Psychological Society Cognitive Psychology Section Award 2008.


  • The Cognition (2007) paper was awarded the British Psychological Society Cognitive Psychology Section Award 2008.

Contact details

Dr Philip Quinlan
Department of Psychology
Room PS/B117

Tel: 01904 323135