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What do kids see? Understanding how children make sense of their world (MalcomGU21PSY)

School of Psychology

About the Project

Understanding our visual world feels effortless, we simply open our eyes and see. However, the underlying processes are complex: our brain creates an incomplete representation of the visual world that is greatly affected by neural maturity and previous experiences. This raises the question as to how children – whose brains are not yet fully developed and who have limited visual experiences to rely upon – understand their world differently to adults. The focus of this PhD is to begin outlining how children view and make sense of scenes across different age groups and into adulthood. The researcher will have a chance to use eye-tracking, behavioural experiments and EEG to create novel approaches investigating visual scene processing in young children.

Further enquiries should be directed to Dr George Malcolm (). Project will be in collaboration with Dr Louise Ewing ().
Note: Applicants should submit a research proposal consistent with the project above, in consultation with the supervisors. Applications without a research proposal will not be considered.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here

This is a PhD programme.

The start date is 1st October 2021.

The mode of study is full time or part time.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is in a School of Psychology competition for funded studentships. These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise of tuition fees and an annual stipend of £15,285

Entry Requirements

Acceptable first degree in Psychology, Computer Science or Neuroscience. The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1 BSc and Masters in Psychological Research methods or equivalent


i) Malcolm, G. L., Groen, I. I., & Baker, C. I. (2016). Making sense of real-world scenes. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 20(11), 843-856.
ii) Helo, A., Pannasch, S., Sirri, L., & Rämä, P. (2014). The maturation of eye movement behavior: Scene viewing characteristics in children and adults. Vision research, 103, 83-91.
iii) Öhlschläger, S., & Võ, M. L. H. (2020). Development of scene knowledge: Evidence from explicit and implicit scene knowledge measures. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 194, 104782.
iv) Malcolm, G. L., & Henderson, J. M. (2010). Combining top-down processes to guide eye movements during real-world scene search. Journal of Vision, 10(2), 4-4.
v) Meissner, T. W., Nordt, M., & Weigelt, S. (2019). Prolonged functional development of the parahippocampal place area and occipital place area. Neuroimage, 191, 104-115.

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