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Doctor Mike Pake

Course Leader BSc in Applied and Clinical Psychology. This is a BPS accredited Psychology degree taught by distance learning. Senior Lecturer in Psychology
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Psychology and Sport Science
Areas of Expertise:
Mind and Behaviour
Research Supervision:

Mike holds an MSc in Artificial Intelligence and a PhD in Cognitive Science from the University of Edinburgh. He teaches a wide range of subjects including research methods and cognitive psychology. Mike’s research involves developing computational models of language acquisition. The aim is to help us understand how an infant is able to experience a language and somehow infer the underlying structure (or syntax) of the language. The basic form of the research involves testing how simple processes can extract the underlying structure in a corpus of child directed speech.

[email protected]

Mike Pake’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/mikepake

Company website: https://demo.psychonovo.com/


Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Mike studied at Stirling and Edinburgh universities in Scotland and has been working at ARU since the Psychology course was founded in 1996. Mike’s main research interests are in child language acquisition and visual perception, he is also interested in the use of technology in helping students learn and has co-founded the company Psychonovo Publishing Ltd as a platform for publishing conversational learning materials that can be used with text or voice interfaces: https://demo.psychonovo.com/

Research interests
  • Computational modelling of language acquisition
  • Visual perception and eye tracking research
  • Use of conversational agents in learning
Areas of research supervision
  • Experimental Cognitive Psychology
  • Visual perception + Eye tracking

Research in Action: Statistical Thinking

Brain, Body, and Mind

Mind and Behaviour

Language and Thought

  • PhD (University of Edinburgh, Centre for Cognitive Science)
  • MSc (University of Edinburgh, Department of Artificial Intelligence)
  • BSc (University of Stirling, Department of Psychology)
Selected recent publications
Journal articles

Hills, P. J., Pake, J. M., Dempsey, J. R., & Lewis, M. B. (2018). Exploring the contribution of motivation and experience in the postpubescent own-gender bias in face recognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 44(9), 1426-1446. DOI: 10.1037/xhp0000533. [Preprint].

Hills, P. J., Thompson, C., & Pake, J. M. (2018). Detrimental effects of carryover of eye movement behaviour on hazard perception accuracy: Effects of driver experience, difficulty of task, and hazardousness of road. Transportation research part F: traffic psychology and behaviour, 58, 906-916. DOI: 10.1016/j.trf.2018.07.014. [article].

Hills, P. J., Thompson, C., Jones, S. P., Piech, R. M., Painter, L., & Pake, J. M. (2016). Attentional modulation of the carry over of eye-movements between tasks. Acta Psychologica, 167, 1-15. DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2016.03.012. [article].

Hills, P. J., Eaton, E., & Pake, J. M. (2016). Correlations between psychometric schizotypy, scan path length, fixations on the eyes and face recognition. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69(4), 611-625. DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2015.1034143. [article]

Hills, P. J., Mileva, M., Thompson, C., & Pake, J. M. (2016). Carryover of scanning behaviour affects upright face recognition differently to inverted face recognition. Visual Cognition, 24(9-10), 459-472. DOI: 10.1080/17470218.2015.103414. [article].

Hills, P. J., & Pake, J. M. (2013). Eye-tracking the own-race bias in face recognition: Revealing the perceptual and socio-cognitive mechanisms. Cognition, 129(3), 586-597. DOI: 10.1080/13506285.2017.1314399. [article].

Hills, P. J., Cooper, R. E., & Pake, J. M. (2013). First fixations in face processing: The more diagnostic they are the smaller the face-inversion effect. Acta Psychologica, 142, 211-219. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2012.11.013.

Hills, P. J., Cooper, R. E., & Pake, J. M. (2013). Removing the own-race bias in face recognition by attentional shift using fixation crosses to diagnostic features: An eye-tracking study. Visual Cognition, 21(7), 876-898. doi: 10.1080/13506285.2013.834016

Hills, P. J., Sullivan, A. J., & Pake, J. M. (2012). Aberrant first fixations when looking at inverted faces of different poses: The result of the centre of gravity effects? British Journal of Psychology. 103(4), 520-538. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8295.2011.02091.x


PhD thesis
Pake, J. M. (2002). The Marker Hypothesis: A constructivist theory of language acquisition (Doctoral dissertation, University of Edinburgh). [Scholar]

MSc thesis
Pake, M. (1992). An optimiser for an SPL based text generator (Doctoral dissertation, University of Edinburgh). [Scholar]


Hills, P. J., & Pake, J.M. (2016). Cognitive psychology for dummies. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN: 1119953219


Audio book of the above
Hills, P. J., & Pake, J.M. (2017). Cognitive psychology for dummies (D. Lynch, Narr.). [Audiobook]. Newark, NJ: Audible Studios. (Original work published 2016) [Audible][Apple Books][Learn Out Loud]

Portuguese edition of the above
Hills, P. J., & Pake, J.M. (2019). Psicologia Cognitiva Para Leigos (W.C.S. do Nascimento, Trans.). Rio di Janeiro, Brazil: Alta Books. (Original work published 2016) [Amazon.com.br]


Mike has developed a system, Psychonovo, for publishing interactive, conversational learning units that can be accessed via voice or text [Psychonovo demo site]. Mikes is using the system to develop a set of learning materials to cover the core areas of Psychology research methods, students can interact with the material on a smartphone, laptop, or voice using the Psychonovo Alexa Skill. Mike gave a talk about the system at ARU’s Digifest, 2019: Turn Your Course into a Conversation

Recent presentations and conferences

Hills, P. J., Thompson, C., Painter, L., & Pake, J. M. (2012). Carryover of eye-movements in natural scenes is influenced by a preceding unrelated visual task: Individual differences and practical implications. In 2012 Cognitive Psychology Section Annual Conference Proceedings. British Psychological Society.

Cooper, R. E., Hills, P. J., Pake, M. J., & Strain, E. P. (2010). Eye-tracking the own-race and own-gender biases. Presented at the EPS Conference, Manchester, 7-9th July.

Hills, P. J., Sullivan, A. J., & Pake, J. M. (2010). Aberrant eye-movements when looking at inverted faces. Invited presentation at the BPS Cognitive Section, Cardiff, 6th-8th September, 2010.

Hills, P. J., Cooper, R. E., & Pake, J. M. (2011). Eye-tracking the own-race bias in face perception. Presented at the EPS Conference, Nottingham, 7-9th July 2011.

Media experience

Cracking the science of Christmas
Segment on “Good at board games: good at life?”
Naked Scientists, 22 December 2016

Is your Sat Nav putting you at risk? Motorists are more likely to miss hazards on the road after glancing at a GPS screen
Mail Online, 19 April, 2016

Eyes on the prize: The Cambridge technology showing us the science behind shopping for chocolate
ITV Anglia news, 27 October 2014