My first degree is in Architectural Studies from the University of Adelaide, which was followed by an honours degree in Psychology. After being awarded a scholarship from the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust, I completed a PhD in Experimental Psychology at King's College, Cambridge. Following the PhD, I worked at the University of Melbourne for 17 years and, during that time, was promoted from lecturer through to professor. In 2010, I moved back to Adelaide to take up a Strategic Professorship in Psychology at Flinders University. I am Director of the Brain and Cognition Laboratory, which has a broad interest in cognitive processes, how they operate and how they might be represented in the brain. I have held various administrative roles including Dean and Deputy Dean of the School of Psychology, Director or the Flinders Institute of Psychological Science and Chair of the School Research Committee. I have been an Editor of Laterality and an Associate Editor for the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. I’m currently the Dean of Research for the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work and am on the ARC College of Experts on the SBE Panel.
BArchSt (Adelaide University, 1985-1987)
BA (Hons) in Psychology (Adelaide University, 1998)
PhD in Experimental Psychology (King's College, Cambridge, 1990-1993)
LARGE GRANTS > 100k
2019 Human Performance Research Network Grant (4 years). Nicholls & Griffiths. Helped, not hindered: Optimising the use of augmented reality by Defence personnel
2016 ARC Discovery Grant (4 years). : Nicholls & Thomas. Attentional asymmetries for navigation in healthy and clinical groups.
2015 ARC Discovery Grant (3 years). McCarley, Nicholls & Kramer. Two pairs of eyes are (sometimes) better than one: Optimal strategies for co-operation during visual search.
2014 ARC Linkage Grant (3 years). Principal investigators: Stevens, Vincs, Leach, Nicholls, Old, DeLahunta & Kirsh.Thinking brains and bodies: distributed cognitionand dynamic memory in Australian Dance Theatre.
2013 ARC Discovery grant (3 years). Nicholls, Loetscher & Spence. Close to me: The effect of distractors on spatial attention in healthy and clinical population.
2011 ARC Discovery grant (3 years). Nicholls, Forte & Spence. Left to Right is Front to Back: Attentional distortions in near and far space for healthy and clinical populations
2009 ARC Discovery grant (4 years). Nicholls & Bradshaw Left of centre: Attentional distortions in the mental representation of space in healthy and clinical populations
2005 ARC Discovery grant (3 years). Nicholls, Mattingley & Bradshaw. Attentional biases that underlie free-viewing perceptual asymmetries: Endogenous and exogenous effects
2002 ARC Large grant (3 years). Nicholls, Mattingley & Bradshaw Cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying lateral biases in human vision.
2000 ARC Large grant (2 years). Castles, Stuart & Nicholls. Visual and auditory temporal processing in varieties of dyslexia.
1999 ARC Large grant (3 years). Nicholls & Stough. A model of the temporal processing capacities of the cerebral hemispheres.
1996 ARC Large grant (3 years). Bradshaw, Philips and Nicholls. Attentional capacity and movement in basal ganglia disorders
Dean of Research: College of Education, Psychology and Social Work
Head: Brain & Cognition Laboratory
My research interests fall within the realm of cognitive neuroscience, which examines cognitive processes and how they relate to brain function. One specific interest is centred on the study of asymmetries in behavior and perception, which are tied to the lateralisation of brain function. Topics include handedness, spatial attention in clinical and healthy populations, language and facial expression and perception. I am also interested in how spatial attention is controlled by the brain and the links between attention in the various sensory modalities and spatial / representational dimensions.
Potential PhD Projects:
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