Dr Clare Kirtley

Dr Clare Kirtley

Teaching Fellow


Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 273275
The University of Aberdeen F09
William Guild Building
School of Psychology
University of Aberdeen


I studied Psychology as an undergraduate at the University of Dundee. After this, I went on to do my PhD at Dundee, under the supervision of Professor Ben Tatler. My thesis research examined how the intentions we form to act with objects can change our behaviour- first in how we inspect the world around us, and examine the objects in our environment, and then in the memories we form of these objects and their properties (shape, colour, etc.). 

From 2015-2018, I worked in collaboration with Professor Tatler, Dr. Chris Murray (School of Humanities, Dundee) and Mr. Phillip Vaughan (Duncan of Jordanstone, College of Art and Design, Dundee) investigating how people read comics by recording their eye movements as they read through different panels, pages and stories.

I am currently employed as a Teaching Fellow, responsible for classes at second, third, fourth and Masters level, while continuing my research into the above areas; and I supervise different L4 dissertation projects on related topics.

I am also the staff co-ordinator for the Psychology Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) system, where undergraduate and MSc Conversion students can recieve academic support from other students who have been through the same courses. I was recently made a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Research Interests

  • Active vision
  • Action
  • Eye-movements
  • Object memory
  • Intentions
  • Art and art composition
  • Words and images in combination
  • Everyday memory
  • Embodied cognition

Current Research

In my comics work, I am interested in how readers use the combination of words and images seen in comics to gather information, and successfully guide their eyes around the page.

My research into memory and action focuses on how our interaction within the environment can change the way we view and recall the information presented to us, and what this means for how we represent information.


Dr Chris Murray, College of Humanities, University of Dundee

Mr. Phillip Vaughan, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee

Research Grants

Postgraduate researcher on Comic Conventions: Understanding how people gather information conveyed jointly through word and image. ESRC funded grant, June 2015-May 2018


Teaching Responsibilities

PS1509: Introductory Psychology Ii: Concepts and Theories

PS2017 Advanced Psychology: Concepts and Theories

PS2018 Advanced Psychology: Methods and Applications

PS2517 Advanced Psychology: Concepts and Theories

PS2518 Advanced Psychology: Methods and Applications

PS3015 Methodology

MSc Conversion course Tutorial Co-ordinator

PS4019: Psychology Thesis/Joint Honours Thesis

Further Info

External Responsibilities

STEM Ambassador (find out more here: http://www.stemnet.org.uk/ambassadors/)

Admin Responsibilities

PAL (Peer Assisted Learning) Co-ordinator: for more information about PAL, please see: tinyurl.com/ABDNPsychPAL

Retention Committee Member



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  • Kirtley, C, Murray, C, Vaughan, PB & Tatler, BW 2018, Reading words and images: Factors influencing eye movements in comic reading. in A Dunst, J Laubrock & J Wildfeuer (eds), Empirical Approaches to Comics Research: Digital, Multimodal, and Cognitive Methods. Routledge, pp. 264-283. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315185354
  • Kirtley, C & Tatler, BW 2016, 'Priorities for representation: Task settings and object interaction both influence object memory', Memory & Cognition, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 114-123. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13421-015-0550-2
  • Tatler, BW, Kirtley, C, Macdonald, RG, Mitchell, KMA & Savage, S 2014, The Active Eye: Perspectives on Eye Movement Research. in M Horsley, N Toon, B Knight & R Reilly (eds), Current Trends in Eye Tracking Research. 1 edn, Springer International Publishing, pp. 3-16. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02868-2
  • Tatler, BW, Hirose, Y, Finnegan, SK, Pievilainen, R, Kirtley, C & Kennedy, A 2013, 'Priorities for selection and representation in natural tasks', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 368, no. 1628, 20130066, pp. 1-9. [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2013.0066
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