Dr Helge Gillmeister

Reader (R)
Department of Psychology
Dr Helge Gillmeister
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 873533

  • Location

    2.715, Colchester Campus



My research is about how our sense of body gives rise to our sense of self. I use EEG/ERPs and psychophysical methods to investigate how tactile and visual processing mechanisms contribute to body representation. I'm a member of the British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience, the Experimental Psychology Society, and the European Brain and Behaviour Society. I joined the Department of Psychology here at Essex in 2009. Before that, I did my BSc in Psychology with Cognitive Science at University College London. After that, I worked at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, investigating tactile attention and body representation in healthy adults and neuropsychological patients (with Prof Anthony Marcel). Then I did my PhD on the perception of vibrations (in touch and hearing) at Birkbeck, University of London (supervised by Prof Martin Eimer). After my PhD, I returned to University College London to work on the role of sensorimotor learning in the imitation of actions (with Prof Cecilia Heyes). After that, I was at the Cognitive Neuroscience Research Unit at City University London, investigating tactile spatial attention and body representation in perception and action (with Prof Bettina Forster).

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Visual body representations and effects of body image in eating and body dysmorphic disorders

Open to supervise

Somatosensory processes, multisensory processes involving somatosensation

Open to supervise

Sensorimotor learning, neural plasticity, integration of external objects/tools into the body schema

Open to supervise

Mirror touch, action representation, and social cognition

The bodily self in depersonalisation-derealisation disorder

Open to supervise

Interoception and Anxiety

Examining multidimensions of interoception and adult and child anxiety

Open to supervise

Current research

The bodily self

Visual remapping of touch (mirror touch)

Visual body representation

Eating and body dysmorphic disorders

Healthy active ageing

Depersonalisation-derealisation disorder

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • The Social Brain (PS106)

  • Developmental Psychology (PS406)

  • Brain and Behaviour (PS411)

  • The Neuroscience of Human Nature (PS495)

  • Psychopathology (PS504)

  • Believing is Seeing. The power of belief and suggestion on the mind and brain (PS508)

  • Research Management (PS912)

  • Advanced Brain and Behaviour (PS943)

Previous supervision

Abbas Salami
Abbas Salami
Thesis title: Explainable Deep Learning-Based Eeg Analysis for Biomarker Discovery and its Application on Depersonalisation/Derealisation Disorder
Degree subject: Computer Science
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 4/7/2023
Jack Lewis Mitchell
Jack Lewis Mitchell
Thesis title: An Examination of Body Perception and Body Image Concerns Within Exercising and Other At-Risk Populations
Degree subject: Psychology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 3/3/2023
Chloe Angel Tasker
Chloe Angel Tasker
Degree subject: Research Methods in Psychology
Degree type: Master of Science
Awarded date: 5/10/2022
Jake Jason Bourgaize
Jake Jason Bourgaize
Thesis title: Eyes Bigger Than Your Stomach? A Novel Scaling Task Reveals More Evidence for Attentional Than Action-Specific Effects on the Perceived Size of Food.
Degree subject: Psychology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 30/8/2022
Shaaba Bilqees Lotun
Shaaba Bilqees Lotun
Thesis title: Social Media for Social Good: Understanding, Creating and Harnessing the Strength of Parasocial Relationships
Degree subject: Psychology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 1/7/2022
Istvan Laszlo Gyimes
Istvan Laszlo Gyimes
Thesis title: The Painful Awareness of Death: Influence of Thoughts of Death on Behavioural and Cerebral Activity Associated with Painful Nociceptive Stimuli
Degree subject: Neuropsychology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 21/6/2022
Luke Holmes
Luke Holmes
Thesis title: Influences of Androgenisation and Personality on Female Sexual Orientation, Behaviour, and Arousal.
Degree subject: Psychology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 8/4/2021
Chengetai Charidza
Chengetai Charidza
Degree subject: Psychology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 18/11/2020
Weeranan Yaemrattanakul
Weeranan Yaemrattanakul
Thesis title: The Effect of Mindfulness Movement Therapy on Arm and Hand Function in People with and Without Stroke
Degree subject: Physiotherapy
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 29/5/2019
Katie Elizabeth Groves
Katie Elizabeth Groves
Thesis title: Visual Body Perception: Towards Identifying Objective Markers of Body Image Disturbance in Brain and Behaviour
Degree subject: Psychology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 11/5/2017
Silviya Petkova Doneva
Silviya Petkova Doneva
Thesis title: Social Inhibition of Return: Causes and Properties
Degree subject: Psychology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 25/2/2016


Publications (1)

Constant, M., Mandal, A., Asanowicz, D., Yamaguchi, M., Gillmeister, H., Kerzel, D., Luque, D., Pesciarelli, F., Fehr, T., Mushtaq, F., Pavlov, YG. and Liesefeld, HR., (2023). A multilab investigation into the N2pc as an indicator of attentional selectivity: Direct replication of Eimer (1996).

Journal articles (35)

Navyte, G., Gillmeister, H. and Kumari, M., (2024). Interpersonal Touch and the Importance of Romantic Partners for Older Adults’ Neuroendocrine Health. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 159, 106414-106414

Salami, A., Andreu-Perez, J. and Gillmeister, H., (2024). Finding neural correlates of depersonalisation/derealisation disorder via explainable CNN-based analysis guided by clinical assessment scores. Artificial Intelligence in Medicine. 149, 102755-102755

Poerio, GL., Succi, A., Swart, T., Romei, V. and Gillmeister, H., (2023). From touch to tingles: Assessing ASMR triggers and their consistency over time with the ASMR Trigger Checklist (ATC).. Consciousness and Cognition. 115, 103584-103584

Salami, A., Andreu-Perez, J. and Gillmeister, H., (2022). EEG-ITNet: An Explainable Inception Temporal Convolutional Network for Motor Imagery Classification. IEEE Access. 10, 36672-36685

Charidza, CA. and Gillmeister, H., (2022). Differential beta desynchronisation responses to dynamic emotional facial expressions are attenuated in higher trait anxiety and autism.. Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience. 22 (6), 1404-1420

Gillmeister, H., Succi, A., Romei, V. and Poerio, GL., (2022). Touching you, touching me: Higher incidence of mirror-touch synaesthesia and positive (but not negative) reactions to social touch in Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. Consciousness and Cognition. 103, 103380-103380

Coleman, C. and Gillmeister, H., (2022). Body image and self-perception in women with navel piercings. PLOS ONE. 17 (9), e0274099-e0274099

Groves, K., Kennett, S. and Gillmeister, H., (2020). Evidence for altered configural body processing in women at risk of disorders characterized by body image disturbance. British Journal of Psychology. 111 (3), 508-535

Salami, A., Andreu-Perez, J. and Gillmeister, H., (2020). Symptoms of depersonalisation/derealisation disorder as measured by brain electrical activity: A systematic review. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 118, 524-537

Cooke, J., Poch, C., Gillmeister, H., Costantini, M. and Romei, V., (2019). Oscillatory properties of functional connections between sensory areas mediate crossmodal illusory perception. The Journal of Neuroscience. 39 (29), 5711-5718

Rigato, S., Bremner, AJ., Gillmeister, H. and Banissy, MJ., (2019). Interpersonal representations of touch in somatosensory cortex are modulated by perspective. Biological Psychology. 146, 107719-107719

Gillmeister, H., Stets, M., Grigorova, M. and Rigato, S., (2019). How do bodies become special? Electrophysiological evidence for the emergence of body-related cortical processing in the first 14 months of life.. Developmental Psychology. 55 (10), 2025-2038

Adler, J. and Gillmeister, H., (2019). Bodily self‐relatedness in vicarious touch is reflected at early cortical processing stages. Psychophysiology. 56 (12), e13465-

Groves, K., Kennett, S. and Gillmeister, H., (2018). Early visual ERPs show stable body-sensitive patterns over a 4-week test period. PLoS ONE. 13 (2), e0192583-e0192583

Schabinger, N., Gillmeister, H., Berti, S., Michal, M., Beutel, ME. and Adler, J., (2018). Detached and distracted: ERP correlates of altered attentional function in depersonalisation. Biological Psychology. 134, 64-71

Groves, K., Kennett, S. and Gillmeister, H., (2018). Affective responses to body stimuli: comparing male and female bodies with cropped heads and masked faces. Journal of Cognitive Psychology. 30 (7), 754-770

Gillmeister, H., Bowling, N., Rigato, S. and Banissy, MJ., (2017). Inter-individual differences in vicarious tactile perception: A view across the lifespan in typical and atypical populations. Multisensory Research. 30 (6), 485-508

Groves, K., Kennett, S. and Gillmeister, H., (2017). Evidence for ERP biomarkers of eating disorder symptoms in women.. Biological Psychology. 123, 205-219

Adler, J., Schabinger, N., Michal, M., Beutel, ME. and Gillmeister, H., (2016). Is that me in the mirror? Depersonalisation modulates tactile mirroring mechanisms. Neuropsychologia. 85, 148-158

Gillmeister, H., (2014). A new perceptual paradigm to investigate the visual remapping of others’ tactile sensations onto one’s own body shows “mirror touch” for the hands. Frontiers in Psychology. 5 (FEB), 95-

Simpson, A., Cooper, NR., Gillmeister, H. and Riggs, KJ., (2013). Seeing triggers acting, hearing does not trigger saying: Evidence from children?s weak inhibition. Cognition. 128 (2), 103-112

Gillmeister, H., Cantarella, S., Gheorghiu, AI. and Adler, J., (2013). Object-Guided Spatial Selection in Touch Without Concurrent Changes in the Perceived Location of the Hands. Experimental Psychology. 60 (1), 64-70

Gillmeister, H. and Forster, B., (2012). Hands behind your back: effects of arm posture on tactile attention in the space behind the body. Experimental Brain Research. 216 (4), 489-497

Gillmeister, H. and Forster, B., (2012). Adverse effects of viewing the hand on tactile-spatial selection between fingers depend on finger posture. Experimental Brain Research. 221 (3), 269-278

Forster, B. and Gillmeister, H., (2011). ERP investigation of transient attentional selection of single and multiple locations within touch. Psychophysiology. 48 (6), 788-796

Gillmeister, H., Adler, J. and Forster, B., (2010). Object-guided Spatial Attention in Touch: Holding the Same Object with Both Hands Delays Attentional Selection. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 22 (5), 931-942

Gillmeister, H., Sambo, CF. and Forster, B., (2010). Which finger? Early effects of attentional selection within the hand are absent when the hand is viewed. European Journal of Neuroscience. 31 (10), 1874-1881

Gillmeister, H. and Forster, B., (2010). Vision enhances selective attention to body-related information. Neuroscience Letters. 483 (3), 184-188

Sambo, CF., Gillmeister, H. and Forster, B., (2009). Viewing the body modulates neural mechanisms underlying sustained spatial attention in touch. European Journal of Neuroscience. 30 (1), 143-150

Gillmeister, H., Catmur, C., Liepelt, R., Brass, M. and Heyes, C., (2008). Experience-based priming of body parts: A study of action imitation. Brain Research. 1217, 157-170

Catmur, C., Gillmeister, H., Bird, G., Liepelt, R., Brass, M. and Heyes, C., (2008). Through the looking glass: counter‐mirror activation following incompatible sensorimotor learning. European Journal of Neuroscience. 28 (6), 1208-1215

Press, C., Gillmeister, H. and Heyes, C., (2007). Sensorimotor experience enhances automatic imitation of robotic action. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 274 (1625), 2509-2514

Gillmeister, H. and Eimer, M., (2007). Tactile enhancement of auditory detection and perceived loudness. Brain Research. 1160 (1), 58-68

Press, C., Gillmeister, H. and Heyes, C., (2006). Bottom‐up, not top‐down, modulation of imitation by human and robotic models. European Journal of Neuroscience. 24 (8), 2415-2419

Marcel, A., Postma, P., Gillmeister, H., Cox, S., Rorden, C., Nimmo-Smith, I. and Mackintosh, B., (2004). Migration and fusion of tactile sensation—premorbid susceptibility to allochiria, neglect and extinction?. Neuropsychologia. 42 (13), 1749-1767

Book chapters (1)

Vibell, J., Gillmeister, H., Sel, A., Haggarty, CJ., Van Velzen, J. and Forster, B., (2023). Electroencephalography of Touch. In: Neuromethods. Springer US. 431- 449. 9781071630679

Conferences (4)

Armani, F., Daly, I., Vernitski, A., Gillmeister, H. and Scherer, R., Maths Anxiety and cognitive state monitoring for neuroadaptive learning systems using electroencephalography

Salami, A., Andreu-Perez, J. and Gillmeister, H., (2020). Towards Decoding of Depersonalisation Disorder Using EEG: A Time Series Analysis Using CDTW

Calvo-Merino, B., Jones, A., Gillmeister, H., Tziraki, M. and Forster, B., (2012). The influence of experience on aesthetic processing: insight from ballet dancers watching dance postures


Grants and funding


The estranged self � Exploring the dream continuity of phenomenological self-detachment in Depersonalisation-derealisation disorder

International Association for the Scientific study of dreams


Extraordinary bodies: people's initial perceptions of atypical bodies and disabilities, and can we change them?

British Academy

+44 (0) 1206 873533


2.715, Colchester Campus

More about me