John contributes to teaching and project supervision in the areas of Cognitive and Environmental Psychology. He has particular expertise in distraction and attention and serves as co-chair of Team 4 ‘Effects of Noise on Performance and Behavior’ for the International Commission of the Biological Effects of Noise (ICBEN). John is also an Action Editor for the Journal of Cognitive Psychology. He supervises postgraduate projects on attention and distraction, face recognition and the cognitive psychology of climate change.
John publishes widely in Distraction and Attention, Face Recognition and Environmental Psychology. He has received research funding from the Swedish Research Council, British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust. His work on auditory distraction and creativity was the basis of a Scientific American podcast and can be heard here
John undertook his BSc (hons) degree in Psychology with Biology and the University of Abertay, Dundee before commencing a PhD in Experimental Psychology at Cardiff University under the supervision of Professor Dylan M. Jones, OBE. He received his PhD in 2007 and worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate on three ESRC-funded projects: ‘Attentional Selectivity and Semantic Memory: Studies of Auditory Distraction’ (with Dylan M. Jones, William J. Macken, and Robert W. Hughes); ‘Verbal Short-term Memory: Primitive or Parasite?’ (with Dylan M. Jones, Robert W. Hughes, and William J. Macken); and ‘Auditory Distraction during Semantic Processing: A Process-oriented View’ (with Dylan M. Jones and Philip C. Beaman). Towards the latter end of 2011, John took up a Visiting Researcher post in Environmental Psychology at the University of Gȁvle in Sweden. Working closely with Professor Patrik Sörqvist, he extended his theoretical work on auditory distraction and short-term memory into the applied setting, while also considering the effects of eco-labelling on product judgements. John returned to the UK in March 2012 taking up a position as a Research Associate at the University of Central Lancashire and then as a Guild Research fellow in January 2013. He began to work closely with Professor Charlie D. Frowd on facial composite production and with Professor Linden J. Ball in the domain of attentional processes and their role in creativity and problem solving. This work has led to two successful Leverhulme Trust grants. John also established a research collaboration and Erasmus partnership with Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany, working with Dr Raoul Bell, Dr Jan Röer and Professor Axel Buchner. John’s stay at the University of Central Lancashire has been punctuated by working as a Tutor at the Open University, a research visit to Université Laval (Canada), and a short stint as Researcher at the University of Gȁvle (Sweden) where he worked closely with Professor Sörqvist and Dr Mattias Holmgren on the ‘Negative Footprint Illusion’ in judgements of carbon footprint. John was promoted to Reader in Cognitive Psychology in January 2020 and has since pursued an interest in eye-movements during reading and psychophysiological measures of distraction with Professor Simon P. Liversedge, Dr Federica Degno, Professor François Vachon and Dr Alexandre Marois. John maintains close relations with the Environmental Psychology Group at the University of Gȁvle and is currently an Honorary Professor at Luleå University of Technology working with Professor Jessica Ljungberg, Dr Daniel Sörman and Dr Mariana Vega-Mendoza on projects related to ‘Healthy Aging’. John has supervised two MRES students (Matthew Kershaw and Stuart B. Moore [now PhD student at the University of Keele) and four PhD students (Tanya Joseph, Jingqi Yang, Rachel Thorley and Rona Linklater) to completion as Director of Studies and was second supervisor to three additionally completed students (Niklas Halin, Ann Winsper, Cristina Fodarella). He is currently Director of Studies for three PhD students (Laura Campbell, Mikaela Worthington and Zoe Littlefair) and second supervisor for two MRES students (Mollie Wilson and Charlotte Whittle) and one PhD student (Clare Ford).
- PhD Experimental Psychology, Cardiff University, 2007
- BSc (Hons) Psychology with Biology, University of Abertay, Dundee, 2002
- Winner of the ‘Preregistered Challenge’ for co-authored paper with Drs Bell, Röer and Storch and Professor Buchner: “The Effect of Cognitive Control of Different Types of Auditory Distraction”, published in Experimental Psychology.
- John’s current areas of interest include:
- Auditory distraction (in the context of short and long term [episodic/semantic] memory and reading behaviours)
- Cognitive (neuro)psychophysiology of distraction
- Genesis of false memories
- Facial recognition and facial composite production
- Cognitive psychology and health aging
- Role of the inner-voice in mnemonic performance and auditory-verbal hallucination
- Insight and non-insight problem solving
- Indirect acts of aggression in divorce cases
- Cognitive psychology of climate change/sustainability.
- John is a member of the Experimental Psychological Society (EPS) and the Psychonomic Society. He is also co-chair of Team 4 - Effects of noise on performance and behaviour – for the International Commission for the Biological Effects of Noise.