Dr Steffan Kennett

Senior Lecturer
Department of Psychology
Dr Steffan Kennett



Dr Steffan Kennett receivedhis BANatural Sciences from Cambridge University, before carrying out his PhD at Birkbeck College, London, on Links in spatial attention between touch and vision. He was subsequently a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, before joining our Department as a lecturer in 2007.

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Multisensory attention and perception

Tactile effects on visual spatial attention

Viewing the skin changing tactile judgements

Changes in body posture modifying spatial attention

Methods ERPs, EOG, TMS, Reaction time

Current research

I am primarily interested in how the senses interact. In particular, we now know that events in one sense can affect how well or poorly we perceive, or attend to, events in other senses. For the case of touch and vision, I am currently investigating how multisensory interactions depend on our body posture. For example, a tactile event on the left hand affects vision differently depending on where in space our hand is placed when it is touched. These issues are intimately related to the brain's representation of the space around us. In a related line of research, I have found that when we can see our skin, our sense of touch on that skin is improved. Current investigations aim to improve our understanding of when and why this multisensory effect occurs. My work employs several methods including psychophysics, EEG, MEG and TMS to investigate these attentional and perceptual phenomena.

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Understanding Our Place in the World (PS101)

  • Brain and Behaviour (PS411)

  • Body, Senses and Existence (PS502)

  • MSc Psychology Research Project (PS900)

  • Advanced Brain and Behaviour (PS943)

  • Numerical Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience (PS948)

  • Theory and Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology (PS949)

Previous supervision

Nicola Jane Armstrong
Nicola Jane Armstrong
Thesis title: The Impact on the Family of Young Onset Dementia
Degree subject: Nursing
Degree type: Professional Doctorate
Awarded date: 8/7/2021
Steven Christopher Southworth
Steven Christopher Southworth
Thesis title: Through a Mirror Darkly: Shedding Light on Individual Differences in the Neural Correlates of Empathy
Degree subject: Psychology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 10/12/2018
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
Rachel Cooper
Rachel Cooper
Thesis title: Own-Group Biases in Face and Voice Recognition: Perceptual and Social-Cognitive Influences
Degree subject: Psychology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 1/7/2015


Journal articles (24)

Micklewright, D., Liew, BXW. and Kennett, S., (2023). Redirected Attention and Impaired Recognition Memory during Exhaustive Cycling Has Implications for Information Processing Models of Effort-Regulation. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 20 (10), 5905-5905

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

Kostyrka-Allchorne, K., Cooper, NR., Kennett, S., Nestler, S. and Simpson, A., (2019). The Short-Term Effect of Video Editing Pace on Children’s Inhibition and N2 and P3 ERP Components during Visual Go/No-Go Task. Developmental Neuropsychology. 44 (4), 385-396

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

Marshall, AC., Cooper, NR., Rosu, L. and Kennett, S., (2018). Stress-related deficits of older adults' spatial working memory: An EEG investigation of occipital alpha and frontal-midline theta activity. Neurobiology of Aging. 69, 239-248

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

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

Lekanidi, K., Dilks, P., Suaris, T., Kennett, S. and Purushothaman, H., (2017). Breast screening: What can the interval cancer review teach us? Are we perhaps being a bit too hard on ourselves?. European Journal of Radiology. 94, 13-15

Cortis, C., Dent, K., Kennett, S. and Ward, G., (2015). First things first: Similar list length and output order effects for verbal and nonverbal stimuli.. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. 41 (4), 1179-1214

Kennett, S. and Driver, J., (2014). Within-hemifield posture changes affect tactile–visual exogenous spatial cueing without spatial precision, especially in the dark. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics. 76 (4), 1121-1135

Cooper, NR., Puzzo, I., Pawley, AD., Bowes-Mulligan, RA., Kirkpatrick, EV., Antoniou, PA. and Kennett, S., (2012). Bridging a yawning chasm: EEG investigations into the debate concerning the role of the human mirror neuron system in contagious yawning. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience. 12 (2), 393-405

Bauer, M., Kennett, S. and Driver, J., (2012). Attentional selection of location and modality in vision and touch modulates low-frequency activity in associated sensory cortices. Journal of Neurophysiology. 107 (9), 2342-2351

Kennett, S., Rorden, C., Husain, M. and Driver, J., (2010). Crossmodal visual‐tactile extinction: Modulation by posture implicates biased competition in proprioceptively reconstructed space. Journal of Neuropsychology. 4 (1), 15-32

Kennett, S., Van Velzen, J., Eimer, M. and Driver, J., (2007). Disentangling gaze shifts from preparatory ERP effects during spatial attention. Psychophysiology. 44 (1), 69-78

Taylor-Clarke, M., Kennett, S. and Haggard, P., (2004). Persistence of visual–tactile enhancement in humans. Neuroscience Letters. 354 (1), 22-25

Whiteley, L., Kennett, S., Taylor-Clarke, M. and Haggard, P., (2004). Facilitated Processing of Visual Stimuli Associated with the Body. Perception. 33 (3), 307-314

Press, C., Taylor-Clarke, M., Kennett, S. and Haggard, P., (2004). Visual enhancement of touch in spatial body representation. Experimental Brain Research. 154 (2), 238-245

Haggard, P., Taylor-Clarke, M. and Kennett, S., (2003). Tactile perception, cortical representation and the bodily self. Current Biology. 13 (5), R170-R173

Bonfiglioli, C., Duncan, J., Rorden, C. and Kennett, S., (2002). Action and perception: Evidence against converging selection processes. Visual Cognition. 9 (4-5), 458-476

Maravita, A., Spence, C., Kennett, S. and Driver, J., (2002). Tool-use changes multimodal spatial interactions between vision and touch in normal humans. Cognition. 83 (2), B25-B34

Taylor-Clarke, M., Kennett, S. and Haggard, P., (2002). Vision Modulates Somatosensory Cortical Processing. Current Biology. 12 (3), 233-236

Kennett, S., Spence, C. and Driver, J., (2002). Visuo-tactile links in covert exogenous spatial attention remap across changes in unseen hand posture. Perception & Psychophysics. 64 (7), 1083-1094

Kennett, S., Taylor-Clarke, M. and Haggard, P., (2001). Noninformative vision improves the spatial resolution of touch in humans. Current Biology. 11 (15), 1188-1191

Kennett, S., Eimer, M., Spence, C. and Driver, J., (2001). Tactile-Visual Links in Exogenous Spatial Attention under Different Postures: Convergent Evidence from Psychophysics and ERPs. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 13 (4), 462-478

Conferences (4)

Cooper, R. and Kennett, S., (2013). Own-race and own-university biases in eye movements for face processing

Kennett, S. and Haggard, P., (2002). Cortical coordination multiple digits in dexterous grip

Kennett, S., Eimer, M., Spence, C. and Driver, J., (2000). Links in exogenous spatial attention between touch and vision across different postures: ERP and behavioral studies.

Kennett, S., Rorden, C., Husain, M. and Driver, J., (1999). Tactile-visual unilateral extinction; Biased competition operates on high level spatial representations.

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3.705, Colchester Campus