Dr Kevin Allan

Dr Kevin Allan
Dr Kevin Allan
Dr Kevin Allan


Accepting PhDs

Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 273932
Office Address

School of Psychology William Guild Building Room T6 Kings College Old Aberdeen AB24 3FX

School of Psychology


I'm an experimental psychologist, and my research has primarily addressed two questions. How does the brain manage to rapidly construct and update a reasonably good model of the world within our conscious experience? And, how does our model of the world avoid distortion or false beliefs when exposed to social influences from other people or from persuasive new technologies, like AI?

My background and training is in the cognitive neuroscience of long-term memory, stemming from my St Andrews University PhD work, using EEG to identify neural correlates of conscious and unconscious retrieval processes. I continued along similar lines, using PET and fMRI, in London as a research fellow at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, before moving to Aberdeen at the turn of the century. Here, I've continued to work on the neural basis of retrieval processing, but over the years I've grown increasingly interested in how our model of the world adapts to social influences that carry useful information or misinformation. In 2015, I began to work almost exclusively on cognitive and EEG-based diagnostics for Alzheimer's disease, leading to the formation of a spin-out company. In 2019, I returned to the School of Psychology full-time, where I've continued to research social influences upon cognition, in particular how the influence of AI may be psychologically regulated, and a new approach to the neural basis of long-term memory using mutli-level modelling at the single-trial level.

Internal Memberships

I coordinate the School's OnDemand course provision, as well as two 4th year option courses (PS4040, Current Topics in Psychology, and PS4041 Critical Review) and one of our core MSc Conversion courses (PS5527).


Research Overview

Human-AI interaction - how do we engineer AI to be appropriately persuasive?

Episodic memory and it's neural basis - how do we recollect specific episodes?

Adapting to social influences - how do we avoid incorporating other people's false beliefs or distorted views of the world into our own - obviously perfect - cognitive model of the world?

Self-reference effects - what do they tell us about the purpose of human cognition?

Research Areas

Accepting PhDs

I am currently accepting PhDs in Psychology, Computing Science.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.

Email Me


Accepting PhDs

Computing Science

Accepting PhDs

Research Specialisms

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Psychology

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

We are developing experimental protocols that allow us to study specific features of human-AI interaction. In particular, the propagation of bias (e.g. gender-bias) from AI into human decision-making, and how signals of accuracy, likelihood or confidence provided by AI influence trust in what they recommend.

Do ERP correlates of episodic retrieval modelled at the single-trial level reflect an individual's memory function? Do they reflect cornerstone features of our theoretical models of long-term memory?

How do we avoid or accept other people's biases during social interaction?

Is memory conformity regulated by self-reference effects?


We have just been awarded ESRC funding for a project to engineer an appropriately persuasive, natural language AI recommendation system, in collaboration with Dr Gowri Sripada and Dr Georgios Leontidis from the School of Natural and Computing Sciences.


I am currently supervising Mr Jacobo Azcona's PhD, which begins in earnest this autumn, looking at bias propagating from natural language AI to their human users, especially stereotypical biases that fuel gender discrimination.

Over the last 20 years, I have supervised or jointly supervised 11 PhD students, most recently Mr Lip Jin Tee (May, 2019, 'Potential biomarkers for early identification of individuals at risk of developing Alzheimer's disease') and Ms Maria Bulmer (Feb, 2020, 'The roles of episodic memory and semantic knowledge in individuation and stereotyping').

Funding and Grants

Currently, I have funding from the ESRC for a PhD studentship (beginning in autumn, 2022) to develop a natural language AI system that allows us to study how gender-bias propagates from AI into human decision-making.

Over the last 20 years, I've received more than £1m in funding from various sources (including TauRx pharmaceuticals, ESRC, BBSRC, Bial Foundation, Carnegie Trust, SINAPSE) to investigate cognitive and EEG based diagnostics in Alzheimer's disease, the cognitive and neural basis of episodic memory, neurophysiological markers of suceptibility to memory distortion, and other topics.


Teaching Responsibilities

I currently teach - and coordinate - two 4th year option courses (PS4040/PS5040 Current Topics in Psychology, PS4041 Critical Review), as well as the 4th year Cognitive Neuroscience option course (PS4510/PS3524). I supervise 4th year honours projects, and I also teach on 3rd year methods courses.


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Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

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