School of Psychology - Research & Industry - Featured Researchers - Derek Arnold

Featured Researcher - Derek Arnold

Associate Professor Derek Arnold wants to understand the relationship between brain activity and consciousness.

Derek Arnold

How did you get into psychology?

When I started studying Psychology I had little idea of the scope of topics it encompasses. I had a vague idea of wanting to better understand humans and discovered to my delight that one can investigate the fundamental processes that are responsible for the human condition.

What do you think makes a good psychology researcher?

Curiosity and work ethic. Curiosity is essential. It both motivates and sustains a researcher when the going gets tough. A good work ethic is just as important. Psychology is an empirical science. It helps to have a good idea, an insight, but this is only ever a starting point. You have to put that idea to the test. Sometimes this takes a long time and there are many unforeseen setbacks, but these are overcome by dogged persistence.

What are your current research interests?

Ultimately I am interested in the processes responsible for conscious awareness. I suspect these are closely linked to our ability to plan and anticipate, so I have a long running interest in time perception. How do we determine for how long an event has persisted, and how do we determine when two events have occurred at the same time, or at different times? 

I am also interested in phenomena wherein the content of awareness changes without any changes to sensory input. These allow us to investigate how brain processes alone shape the content of conscious awareness.

Something that people might be interested to know about you?

As a child I split my time between playing lots of rugby and singing in St. Andrews Cathedral choir. I was well advised to keep these worlds apart, as my team mates, opposition and coaches did not really understand the 16 hours a week spent singing – usually while wearing a dress.


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Created: Tuesday, 16th August 2011 by paulj
Modified: Tuesday, 22nd March 2016 by uqpjack1
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