I’m a cognitive scientist, currently employed as a Professor by the School of Psychology, University of Plymouth, U.K.
I became interested in artificial intelligence through an early interest in computers (I was paid for my first computer program at age 14). I studied psychology as an undergraduate (Southampton, 1990 - 1993) because of a (still-held) belief that psychology can inform the design of intelligent systems. A continuing interest in neural networks led to me studying for a Ph.D. with computational learning theorist Ian McLaren (Cambridge, 1994 - 1998). I continued my Ph.D. research as a Junior Research Fellow (Emmanuel College, Cambridge, 1998 - 2000). During my six years at Cambridge, my research was focussed on the formal modelling of categorical decisions, and on processes of perceptual and unsupervised learning.
Keen to secure a permanent position, and interested in teaching as well as research, I moved to Exeter University, where I became a lecturer (2000), senior lecturer (2005), and then associate professor (2006), in the School of Psychology. During my twelve years at Exeter, my research was principally on the topics of (a) the relation between attention and learning, (b) computational modelling of categorization, (c) object classification, and (d) dual-process theories of categorization. I also became heavily involved in the management of teaching, culminating in a six-year stint as the Director of Teaching for the School.
In 2012, I moved to Plymouth to take up a full professor role there. Since then, I’ve been focussing less on management, and more on research, pursuing the same four principal topics as I did in Exeter. Since arriving at Plymouth, I’ve also chaired a major redesign of the undergraduate curriculum, overseen the transition from teaching undergraduates SPSS to teaching them R, built and maintained an R package to support formal modelling in categorization, and become an advocate of open science, and of open-source software. Oh, and I co-ordinated our REF 2021 submission, and served for a brief period as Associate Head of Research.