Professor Colin J Davis

B.Sc (Hons), Ph.D (UNSW)

  • BS8 1TU

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Personal profile

Research interests

Most of my research to date has sought to understand the mechanisms and codes underlying human cognition. I am particularly interested in reading, but have also conducted research on speech perception and production, memory and social cognition. I use computational modelling to investigate these aspects of cognition. Running simulations of computational models makes it possible to generate predictions that can be tested in behavioural experiments.

Much of my computational modelling has focussed on visual word recognition. This domain is interesting both because it is central to the ability to read (and to understanding why some people have difficulty learning to read) and because our ability to rapidly identify printed words provides a central testing ground for theories about the nature of mental representations (e.g., are they symbolic or subsymbolic, localist or distributed?; how is information about order coded?) and the processes that operate on these representations (e.g., how do we learn both invariant and context-sensitive representations?; what role does top-down feedback play?; how are competitive processes implemented?; to what extent is processing “modular”?).

More recently I have become interested in the psychology of climate change. How should information about climate change be communicated, and what are the factors that give rise to apparent climate apathy?

Additionally, I have published in political psychology, and am interested in the psychology of group decision-making and implications for forms of deliberative democracy such as citizens' assemblies.


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