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Tom Hartley
Senior Lecturer



  • Polytechnic of Central London
    BSc in Life Sciences
  • University of London
    PhD in Psychology

Graduated from the Polytechnic of Central London (Life Sciences) and went on to do a PhD in Psychology at UCL. After postdoctoral posts at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL joined the Psychology Department at York in September 2005.



  • Spatial cognition: navigation, topographical memory, scene recognition. Applications to early detection of Alzheimer's Disease
  • How are concepts represented? Relationship between conceptual representations and spatial representation.
  • Neural representations and functional-anatomical organization: seeking, describing and explaining basic mechanisms and general organizational principles in the human brain.
  • Verbal memory: learning new spoken words; remembering serial order.


  • 2023-27  NIHR i4i Spatial biomarkers of early Alzheimer's disease (SABRE) Co-I with Chan (lead), Burgess, Slight and Clarkson.
  • 2023-25  ORA7/ESRC Boundary conditions of conceptual spaces (BounCeS). Co-Investigator with Knops (lead), Fischer, Göbel (York lead).


  • Dennis Chan, UCL
  • Neil Burgess, UCL
  • Sarah Slight, Newcastle University
  • John Clarkson, University of Cambridge
  • Silke Göbel, University of York
  • Martin Fischer, University of Potsdam, Germany
  • Andre Knops,  University Paris Descartes/CNRS, Paris, France
  • Alexander Stahn, University of Pennsylvania, USA/Charité, Berlin, Germany
  • Rik Henson and the CamCAN project, University of Cambridge
  • Daniel Baker, University of York
  • Tim Andrews , University of York
  • Colin Lever, Durham University
  • Graham Hitch, University of York
  • Mark Hurlstone, Lancaster University

Available PhD research projects

Projects under my supervision could involve experimental psychology, neuroimaging or computational modelling or combinations of these, and investigating topics related to those listed under Overview above. Potential applicants should email me with informal enquiries.


  • Chris Racey
  • Kartini Ghani 
  • Becky Gilbert (with Graham Hitch)
  • David Watson (with Tim Andrews)


Selected publications

  • Tavakol S, Lil Q, Royer J, Vos de Waell, R, Larivière S, Lowe A, Paquola C, Jefferies E, Hartley T, Bernasconi A, Bernasconi N, Smallwood J, Bohbot V, Caciagli L, Bernhardt B. (2021) A structure–function substrate of memory for spatial configurations in medial and lateral temporal cortices. Cerebral Cortex 31(7):3213–3225, DOI:10.1093/cercor/bhab001
  • Heywood-Everett E, Baker DH, Hartley T (2020) Testing the precision of spatial memory representations using a change-detection task: Effects of viewpoint change. Journal of Cognitive Psychology DOI:10.1080/20445911.2020.1863414
  • Coggan DD, Giannakopoulou A, Ali S, Goz B, Watson DM, Hartley T, Baker DH, Andrews TJ, (2019) A data-driven approach to stimulus selection reveals an image-based representation of objects in high-level visual areas. Hum Brain Mapp 16(40):4716-4731
  • Vestner T, Tipper SP, Over H, Hartley T, Rueshemeyer S-A. (2019) Bound together: social binding leads to faster processing, spatial distortion and enhanced memory of interacting partners. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 148(7):1251-1268
  • Poulter S, Hartley T, Lever C (2018) The neurobiology of mammalian navigation. Current Biology 28(17): R1023-R1042
  • Watson DM, Andrews TJ, Hartley T (2017) A data driven approach to understanding the organization of high-level visual cortex. Scientific Reports 7: 3596 DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-03974-5
  • Watson DM, Hartley T, Andrews TJ (2017) Patterns of response to scrambled scenes reveal the importance of visual properties in the organization of scene selective cortex. Cortex92:162–174
  • Sormaz M, Jefferies E, Bernhardt B, Karapanagidtis T, Mollo G, Bernasconi N, Bernasconi A, Hartley T, Smallwood J (2017) Knowing what from where: differential left-right and anterior-posterior hippocampal connectivity describe individual variation in semantic and topographic memory. Neuroimage 152: 400-1410.
  • Gilbert RA, Hitch GJ, Hartley T, (2016) Temporal Precision and the Capacity of Auditory-Verbal Short-Term Memory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2016.1239749
  • Chan, D, Bottomley, L, Moodley, K, Minati, L, Burgess, N., Hartley, T. (2016) The 4 Mountains Test: a short test of spatial memory with high sensitivity for the diagnosis of pre-dementia Alzheimer’s disease. J Vis Exp. 116: 54454
  • Hartley T, Hurlstone MJ, Hitch GJ (2016) Effects of rhythm on memory for spoken sequences: a model and tests of its stimulus-driven mechanism. Cognitive Psychology, 87, 135-178.
  • Watson DM, Hymers M, Hartley T, Andrews TJ (2016) Patterns of neural response in scene-selective regions of the human brain are affected by low-level manipulations of spatial frequency. Neuroimage, 124, 107-117.
  • Andrews TJ, Watson DM, Rice GE, Hartley T (2015) Low-level properties of natural images predict topographic patterns of neural response in the ventral visual pathway. Journal of Vision 17(7), 3
  • Vernon RJW, Sutherland CM, Young AW, Hartley T (2014) Modeling first impressions from highly variable facial imagesProc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA
  • Watson DM, Hartley T, Andrews TJ (2014) Patterns of response to visual scenes are linked to low-level properties of the image. Neuroimage
  • Rice GE, Watson DM, Hartley T, Andrews TJ (2014) Low-Level image properties of visual objects predict patterns of neural response across category selective regions of the ventral visual pathway. J Neurosci
  • Hartley T, Lever C (2014) Know your limits: the role of boundaries in the development of spatial representation. Neuron 82(1) 1-3. [Preview of Bjerknes et al., 2014 describing development of boundary cells]
  • Levita L, Bois C, Healey A, Smyllie E, Papakonstantinou E, Hartley T, Lever C (2014) The Behavioural Inhibition System, anxiety and hippocampal volume in a non-clinical population. Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders
  • Hartley T, Lever C, Burgess N, O’Keefe J (2014) Space in the Brain: how the hippocampal formation supports spatial cognition. Phil Trans Roy Soc B. 369 [Part of a special issue co-edited by the authors]
  • Hartley T, Harlow R  (2012) An association between human hippocampal volume and topographical memory in healthy young adults. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience  6:338.
  • Viard A Doeller C Hartley T Bird CM Burgess N (2011) Anterior hippocampus and goal directed spatial decision making. Journal of Neuroscience 31(12):4613-4621.
  • Andrews TJ, Clarke A, Pell P & Hartley T (2010) Selectivity for low-level features of objects in the human ventral stream. Neuroimage 49(1) 703-711.
  • Bird CM, Chan D, Hartley T, Pijnenburg YA, Rossor MN, Burgess N (2010). Topographical short-term memory differentiates Alzheimer's disease from frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Hippocampus 20(10), 1154-1169.
  • Hartley T, Bird CM, Chan D, Cipolotti L, Husain M, Vargha-Khadem F, Burgess N (2007). The hippocampus is required for short-term topographical memory in humans. Hippocampus 17:34-48.
  • Barry C, Lever C, Hayman R, Hartley T, Burton S, O'Keefe J, Jeffery K, Burgess N (2006) The boundary vector cell model of place cell firing and spatial memory. Rev Neurosci 17(1-2):71-97.
  • King JA, Hartley T, Spiers HJ, Maguire EA, Burgess N (2005) Anterior prefrontal involvement in episodic retrieval reflects contextual interference. Neuroimage 28(1):256-67.
  • Hartley T, Burgess N (2005). Complementary memory systems: competition, cooperation and compensation. Trends in Neurosciences 28(4):169-170.
  • Hartley T, Trinkler I, Burgess N (2004). Geometric Determinants of Human Spatial Memory. Cognition 94(1):39-75.
  • King JA, Trinkler I, Hartley T, Vargha-Khadem F, Burgess N (2004). The hippocampal role in spatial memory and the familiarity-recollection distinction: a single case study. Neuropsychology 18(3):405-417.
  • Hartley T, Maguire EA, Spiers HJ, Burgess N (2003). The well-worn route and the path less traveled: distinct neural bases of route following and wayfinding in humans. Neuron 37:877-888.
  • Hartley T, Burgess N, Lever C, Cacucci F, O'Keefe J (2000). Modeling place fields in terms of the cortical inputs to the hippocampus. Hippocampus 10(4):369-79.
  • Hartley T, Houghton G (1996). A linguistically constrained model of short-term memory. Journal of Memory and Language 35(1):1-31.

Full publications list

A full list of publications can be found on Tom Hartley's web page and Google Scholar profile.



  • BSc/MSci Psychology, BSc/MSci Natural Sciences: Strand Leader Brain & Behaviour
  • Brain & Behaviour II (Teaching Block 10 - Principles of Neural Representation, Practical)


  • MSc Cognitive Neuroscience: Co-director and Admissions Tutor
  • Research Design and Analysis in Neuroimaging
  • Data Analysis in Neuroimaging

Contact details

Dr Tom Hartley
Senior Lecturer
Department of Psychology
Room PS/C125

Tel: 01904 322903