Scholarly publications

2017 & in press

Panagiotidi, M., Overton, P.G., Stafford, T. (submitted). Multisensory integration and ADHD-like traits: Evidence for an abnormal temporal integration window in ADHD.

Stafford, T. & Haasnoot, E. (in press). Testing sleep consolidation in skill learning: a field study using an online game. Topics in Cognitive Science. (data + code)

Holroyd, J., Scaife, R., Stafford, T. (in press). Responsibility for Implicit Bias. Philosophy Compass.

Pirrone, A., Azab, H., Hayden, B.Y., Stafford, T. and Marshall, J.A.R. (in press). Evidence for the speed-value trade-off: human and monkey decision making is magnitude sensitive. Decision

Panagiotidi, M., Overton, P.G., Stafford, T. (in press). Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder-like traits and distractibility in the visual periphery. Perception.

Pirrone, A., Dickinson, A., Gomez, R., Stafford, T. and Milne, E. (in press). Understanding perceptual judgement in autism spectrum disorder using the drift diffusion model. Neuropsychology.


Bednark J., Reynolds J., Stafford T., Redgrave P. and Franz E. (2016). Action experience and action discovery in medicated individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10, 427. DOI 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00427.

Bertram, C., & Stafford, T. (2016). Improving training for sensory augmentation using the science of expertise. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 68, 234-244.

Lu, Y., Stafford, T., & Fox, C. (2016). Maximum saliency bias in binocular fusion. Connection Science, 28(3),258-269.


Thirkettle, M., Stafford, T., & Offiah, A. (2015). Internet Based Measurement of Visual Expertise in Radiological Skill. Perception, 44, 44-45.


Stafford, T. & Dewar, M. (2014). Tracing the trajectory of skill learning with a very large sample of online game players. Psychological Science, 25(2) 511-518. See also: Data and analysis code.

Baldassarre, G., Stafford, T., Mirolli, M., Redgrave, P., Ryan, R. M., & Barto, A. (2014). Intrinsic motivations and open-ended development in animals, humans, and robots: an overview. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(985). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00985 (introduction to Special Topic we edited).

Kalfaoğlu, Ç & Stafford, T. (2014). Performance breakdown effects dissociate from error detection effects in typing. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 67(3), 508-524.

Stafford, T. (2014). The perspectival shift: how experiments on unconscious processing don’t justify the claims made for them. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1067. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01067

Stafford, T., Elgueta, H., Cameron, H. (2014). Students’ engagement with a collaborative wiki tool predicts enhanced written exam performance. Research in Learning Technology, 22, 22797. doi:10.3402/rlt.v22.22797

Pirrone, A., Stafford, T., & Marshall, J. A. R. (2014). When natural selection should optimise speed-accuracy trade-offs. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 8(73). doi: 10.3389/fnins.2014.00073

Redgrave, P., Vautrelle, N., & Stafford, T. (2014). Interpretive conundrums when practice doesn’t always make perfect. Movement Disorders: Official Journal of the Movement Disorder Society 29(1), 7-10. doi:10.1002/mds.25726



Bertram, C., Evans, M. H., Javaid, M., Stafford, T., & Prescott, T. (2013). Sensory augmentation with distal touch: the tactile helmet project. In Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems (pp. 24-35). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Thirkettle, M., Walton, T., Redgrave, P., Gurney, K., & Stafford, T. (2013). No learning where to go without first knowing where you’re coming from: action discovery is trajectory, not endpoint based. Frontiers in Cognitive Science, 4:, 638. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00638

Walton, T., Thirkettle, M., Redgrave, P., Gurney, K. N., & Stafford, T. (2013). The Discovery of Novel Actions Is Affected by Very Brief Reinforcement Delays and Reinforcement Modality. Journal of Motor Behavior, 45(4), 351-360.

Bednark, J. G., Reynolds, J. N. J., Stafford, T., Redgrave, P., & Franz, E. A. (2013). Creating a movement heuristic for voluntary action: Electrophysiological correlates of movement-outcome learning. Cortex, 49(3), 771-780. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2011.12.005

Thirkettle, M., Walton, T., Shah, A., Gurney, K., Redgrave, P., & Stafford, T. (2013). The path to learning: Action acquisition is impaired when visual reinforcement signals must first access cortex. Behavioural Brain Research, 243, 267–272. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2013.01.023


Stafford, T., Thirkettle, M., Walton, T., Vautrelle, N., Hetherington, L., Port, M., Gurney, K.N., Redgrave, P. (2012), A Novel Task for the Investigation of Action Acquisition, PLoS One, 7(6), e37749.

Stafford, T. & Grimes, A. (2012). Memory enhances the mere exposure effect. Psychology & Marketing, 29, 12, 995-1003.

Stafford, T., & Bell, V. (2012). Brain network: social media and the cognitive scientist. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(10), 489–490. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2012.08.001


Stafford, T., & Gurney, K. N. (2011). Additive Factors Do Not Imply Discrete Processing Stages: A Worked Example Using Models of the Stroop Task. Frontiers in Psychology, 2. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00287

Stafford, T., Ingram, L. and Gurney, K.N. (2011), Pieron’s Law holds during Stroop conflict: insights into the architecture of decision making, Cognitive Science 35, 1553–1566.

Yates, D.J. and Stafford, T. (2011), Insights into the function and mechanism of saccadic decision making from targets scaled by an estimate of the cortical magnification factor, Cognitive Computation, 3,89-93.

earlier key publications

Stafford, T. (2009), What use are computational models of cognitive processes? In Mayor, J., Ruh, N.,  Plunkett, K. Connectionist Models of Behaviour and Cognition II: Proceedings of the 11th Neural Computation and Psychology Workshop. World Scientific

Eiser, J. R., Stafford, T., Henneberry, J., & Catney, P. (2009). “Trust me, I’m a Scientist (Not a Developer)”: Perceived Expertise and Motives as Predictors of Trust in Assessment of Risk from Contaminated Land. Risk Analysis, 29(2), 288-297.

Stafford, T. & Gurney, K.N. (2007), Biologically constrained action selection improves cognitive control in a model of the Stroop task, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 362 (1485), 1671-1684.

Stafford, T. & Wilson, S. P. (2007), Self-organisation can generate the discontinuities in the somatosensory map, Neurocomputing, 70(10-12), 1932-1937.

Stafford, T. & Gurney, K. N. (2004), The role of response mechanisms in determining reaction time performance: Pieron’s Law revisited, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 11:975-987.

Eiser, J. R., Fazio, R. H., Stafford, T. & Prescott, T. J. (2003), Connectionist simulation of attitude learning: Asymmetries in the acquisition of positive and negative evaluations, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29:1221-1235.


Link to: full list of journal publications

Invited Talks

Beyond Reinforcement Learning In Action Acquisition‘, 9 November 2011, Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck University of London.

‘Infering cognitive architectures from high-resolution behavioural data’, 13 May 2011, York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis, University of York.

‘A novel task for the investigation of action learning’, 7 July 2010, Experimental Psychology Society, Manchester, 7-9 July 2010

‘An empirical test of some philosophies of science’, 21 May 2010, Heng Seng Centre for Cognitive Studies, University of Sheffield

‘How do we use computational models of cognitive processes?’, Neural Computation and Psychology Workshop, 8-10 April 2010, Birkbeck, London

– ‘What use are computational models of cognitive processes?‘, 19th of March 2010, Redwood Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience, UC Berkeley

– ‘Using the psychophysics of choice behaviours to infer mental structure from reaction times‘, 15th of January 2010, Department of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway

– ‘Pieron’s Law holds in conditions of response conflict’, 1st August, presented at the 31th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Powerpoint here

– ‘The Nonconscious Mere Exposure Effect with Brand Logos: Real but Elusive’, Department of Psychology, City College, Thessaloniki, 1/6/09

– ‘Email: the technology and psychology of continuous partial attention’, UFI, Sheffield, 12/11/08

– “‘Things can be known’ : Teaching psychology through demonstrations” Keynote at 26th Annual Conference of the Association for the Teaching of Psychology, University of Lincoln, 11th of July, 2008

– ‘How to make students talk in seminars’, HEA Psychology ‘Postgraduates who Teach’ Network, University of Birmingham, 27 May 2008

– ‘The psychological foundations of privacy’, Privacy in Law, Ethics and Genetic Data, 1st international workshop PRIVILEGED Project (EC FP6), 10 Jan 2008

– ‘Debates in Cognitive Neuroscience’, Center for Inquiry Based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences, University of Sheffield, 30 May 2007

‘Is there a science of advertising?’, University of Hull, Management School, 27th of April 2007

– ‘Residents’ Perception of Risk on Contaminated Sites’, Environment Agency training day, Leeds, 20th of June, 2007


Conference Papers & Posters

Grimes A, Stafford T & Roper S (2016), Ambient Rubbish: Examining the attitudinal impact of incidental exposure to brand litter, Academy of Marketing’s 11th Global Brand Conference, Bradford University, UK

“Linking total movement history to action learning”. Stafford & Thirkettle. Poster presented at Reinforcement Learning and Decision Making 2013, 24th-26th October, Princeton, USA

Testing theories of skill learning using a very large sample of online game players. Stafford & Dewar. Talk at the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Berlin, Germany, July 31 -August 3, 2013

“The effect of acquisition of an internal forward model on an exploration task”. M. Dagioglou, J. M.Bugella, T. Walton, T. Stafford, P. Redgrave, R.C. Miall. Poster presented at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Society for the Neural Control of Movement, April 23-29th 2012, Venice, Italy

Typing errors lead to increase in power and synchronization of theta oscillations“. Cigir Kalfaoglu, Tom Stafford and Elizabeth Milne. Poster presentation (by Kalfaoglu) in the British Association of Cognitive Neuroscience in Newcastle, UK on Wednesday the 11th of April, 2012.

“Instruction to relax enhances visual search performance by altering eye movements” David Yates and Tom Stafford. Oral Presentation (by Yates) at 34th European Conference on Visual Perception which will be held in Toulouse, France from Sunday 28th August to Thursday 1st September, 2011.

Visual search performance can be enhanced by instructions that alter eye movements” David Yates and Tom Stafford. Poster Presentation (by Yates) at 16th European Conference on Eye Movements which will be held in Marseille, France from Sunday 21st to Thursday 25th August, 2011.

“Learning the long way round: Action learning based on visual signals unavailable to the superior colliculus is impaired.” Martin Thirkettle, Tom Walton, Kevin Gurney, Peter Redgrave and Tom Stafford. Oral presentation (by Thirkettle) at 34th European Conference on Visual Perception which will be held in Toulouse, France from Sunday 28th August to Thursday 1st September 2011.

“What mistakes reveal about skilled performance: A study of touch-typing”. Cigir Kalfaoglu, Tom Stafford and Elizabeth Milne. Poster presentation (by Kalfaoglu) in the Experimental Psychologists Society Meeting in Oxford, UK from Wednesday the 13th to Friday the 15th of April, 2011.

Stafford, T., Javaid, M, Mitchinson, B., Galloway, A.M.J., Prescott, T.J. (2011). Integrating Augmented Senses into Active Perception: a framework. Poster presented at Royal Society meeting on Active Touch Sensing at the Kavli Royal Society International Centre, 31 January – 02 February, 2011

J.G. Bednark, E.A. Franz, T. Stafford, P. Redgrave, J.N.J. Reynolds. Tracking the learning of actions: An evaluation of the frontal P3a component. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, 17-21 October 2009, Chicago.

Yates, D.J.; Stafford, T. Saccadic latency versus eccentricity for targets scaled by an estimate of the cortical magnification factor, 15th European Conference on Eye Movements, Southampton, 23-27th of August, 2009

Stafford, T; Grimes, A., Perkins, C. The Nonconscious Mere Exposure Effect with Brand Logos: Real but Elusive, The 21st Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, 22nd-24th of May 2009, San Francisco, CA.

Stafford, T. What use are computational models of cognitive processes? 11th Neural Computation and Psychology Workshop, Oxford, 16-18 July, 2008.

Stafford, T. & Wilson, S.P. Self-organisation explains discontinuities in the somatosensory map. Fifteenth Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting CNS*2006, July 16 – July 20, 2006.

Tom Stafford, Mark D. Humphries, Jonathan M. Chambers. The neural circuitry necessary for decision making by evidence accumulation. Poster presented at the Computational Cognitive Neuroscience conference in Washington, DC, 11/10/2005.

Stafford, T. & Gurney, K. (2005). The basal ganglia as the selection mechanism in a cognitive task. In J. J. Bryson, T. J. Prescott & A. Seth (Eds.) Modeling Natural Action Selection (pp. 77-83). AISB Press.

Stafford, T. & Gurney, K. (2005). The basal ganglia as the selection mechanism in a cognitive task. Poster presented at Modelling Natural Action Selection workshop in Edinburgh, July 2005.

Eiser, Richard, Stafford, Tom, Shook, Natalie & Fazio, Russell. Learning under uncertainty: Manipulating and simulating the role of expectations. Paper presented at the 14th General Meeting of the European Association fo Experimental Social Psychology, Wurzburg, 19-23 July 2005.

Catney, P., Lawson, N., Palaseanu-Lovejoy, M., Shaw, S., Smith, C., Stafford, T., Talbot, S., Hao, X. (2005, 1st of March 2005). Acid tar lagoons: risks and sustainable remediation in an urban context. Paper presented at the SUBR:IM conference, Natural History Museum, London.

Stafford, T. & Gurney, K.N. The Basal Ganglia provides an appropriate model for response selection in the Stroop task. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the BPS Cognitive Psychology Section at Essex, September 6th-8th, 2000.

Books & Book chapters

Stafford, T. (2011). How do we use computational models of cognitive processes? In E. Davelaar (eds) Connectionist Models Of Neurocognition And Emergent Behavior: Proceedings of the 12th Neural Computation and Psychology Workshop(pp 326-342). World Scientific.

Stafford, T. (2010). The Narrative Escape, 40kbooks, Milan.

Moore, G & Stafford, T. (2010). The Rough Guide Book of Brain Training.

Stafford, T. (2009) ‘Hacking our tools for thought’ in Nold, C. (ed) Emotional Cartography: Technologies of the Self, pp 88-96.

Stafford, T. (2009). What use are computational models of cognitive processes? In J. Mayor, N. Ruh & K. Plunkett (eds.) Connectionist Models of Behavior and Cognition II: Proceedings of the 11th Neural Computation and Psychology Workshop(pp 265-274). World Scientific.

Catney, P., Eiser, J.R., Henneberry, J. & Stafford, T. (2007) ‘Democracy, Trust and Risk Related to Contaminated Sites in the UK’, in: T. Dixon, M. Raco, P. Catney & D.N. Lerner (Eds.) Sustainable Brownfield Regeneration: Liveable Places from Problem Spaces. Oxford: Blackwells.

Stafford, T. & Gurney, K.N. (2006). Computational Models of Cognition. In An Introduction to Cognitive Psychology: Processes and Disorders. Second Edition. Ed. David Groome. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

Stafford, T. & Webb, M. (2004). Mind Hacks: Tips and Tricks for using your brain. Sebastapol, CA: O’Reilly.


Other publications

Stafford, T. (2009). Lessons from the campaign against Elsevier: “We won, but how did we win?”. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 8(3), 494-504.

Stafford, T. (2008). Teaching Questions Rather than Answers: inquiry-based learning on an MSc course. HEA Psychology Network Newsletter, Issue 46, January 2008. Available at:

Stafford, T. & Martin, C.J. (2007). How to do a neuroscience lab class with 120 students. HEA Psychology Network Newsletter, Issue 45, November 2007. Available at:

Stafford, T. (2007). Isn’t it all just obvious? The Psychologist, 20,2,94-95

The neural circuitry necessary for decision making by evidence accumulation
Mark D. Humphries, Tom Stafford, Jonathan M. Chambers & Kevin N. Gurney
ABRG Technical Report number 5, May 2006. Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, UK

Stafford, T. & Webb, M. (2006) ‘What Is a Wiki (and How to Use One for Your Projects)’. O’Reilly Network, 7 July 2006. Available at

Stafford, T. & Gurney, K. (2005). The basal ganglia as the selection mechanism in a cognitive task. In J. J. Bryson, T. J. Prescott & A. Seth (Eds.) Modeling Natural Action Selection (pp. 77-83). AISB Press.

Webb, M. & Stafford, T.(2004) ‘Paying Attention (or Not) to the Flickr Daily Zeitgeist’. O’Reilly Network, 6 December 2004. Available at

Stafford, T. (2003). Integrating psychological and neuroscientific constraints in models of Stroop processing and action selection PhD Thesis, University of Sheffield. (abstract and contents only)

Stafford, T. (2003). Psychology in the coffee shop. The Psychologist, 16(7), 358-359

Stafford, T. (2000). Stroop Interference: Methodological Problems and Contrary Data, Psycoloquy, 11, #110.

Posted in