Prof. Andrew Heathcote
|Work Phone||(02) 4921 6778|
|Fax||(02) 4921 6906|
School of Psychology
The University of Newcastle, Australia
I have made major contributions in the area of choice response time, with a particular focus on what the distribution of response time (RT) can tell us about cognitive processes, with outputs ranging from my highly cited 1991, 1992, 1993 and 2001 papers on the Stroop task, visual search and reading (69, 24, 24 and 18 citations respectively) to my 2005 paper with Brown on a theory of choice RT in Psychological Review. A complimentary stream of research has developed innovative and widely adopted RT distribution software and analysis techniques in a series of six papers including a 1996 paper with 23 citations. I have made a unique contribution that has major implications for theories of skill acquisition in a highly cited 2000 paper (44 citations) showing that the almost universally accepted Power Law of Practice (i.e., the decrease in RT as a function of practice), is an artifact of averaging, and that instead a lawful exponential relationship holds, with six papers since then explicating the role of averaging and providing a theoretical basis for an exponential relationship. I have made innovative applications of nonlinear dynamical systems theory to sequential effect in choice RT in 2001 and 2005 papers. I have a long standing record of contributions on human memory in the top journals in this area (e.g., Journal of Experimental Psychology: General and Learning, Memory & Cognition and Memory & Cognition) starting in 1986 with a paper based on my honours work, with a focus in recent papers in 2001, 2003 and two papers in 2006 is on the distribution of choice confidence in recognition memory. Recently I have broadened my contribution beyond behavioural measures to the application of electrophysiological analyses in the area of attention and task-switching with a publication in Psychophysiology.
I publish substantial papers in high impact journals (as a reference for impact factors in the field of experimental psychology, the four very highly regarded Journal of Experimental Psychology publications have an average impact factor of 2.57) and my work receives frequent citations. Despite the substantial nature of my papers (average page count=15) and the high rejection rate journals to which I submit, I have averaged almost 4 C1 publications per year over the last 5 years. My 18 C1 publications were in journals with an average impact factor of 2 and were cited on average 4 times each. Excluding in press and 2006 C1 publications, which have not had time to be cited, the average times cited rises to 4.9. The average number of citations for my 10 career best publications is 23.3, in journals with an average impact factor of 3.6, which rises to an average number of 26 citations with a 2006 publication excluded. I am a consulting editor for two journals, Behavior Research Methods and Psychonomic Bulletin and Review. I have acted as an Ozreader since 2002 and will continue in the equivalent role in 2007, and also occasionally review for NSF and NSERC. I am a very active reviewer for journals, with 16 reviews in 2005 for Behavior Research Methods, Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, Cognitive Science, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, Journal of Mathematical Psychology, Memory, Journal of Memory and Language, and the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society.
I was appointed Head of the School of Psychology at the University of Newcastle 2004-2006 and was Deputy Head 2002-2003, and over that period I have had two children. These positions, and parenthood, have been very demanding of my time but I have been able to maintain a high publication rate throughout this period. As my term as head is now finished I expect to become even more productive.
- PhD, Queens University, 1991
- Bachelor of Science (Honours), University of Tasmania
- Skill Acquisition
- Speeded Choice
My research interests span a number of fields in Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Science, including attention, skill, memory and choice. In the area of choice response time I have focused on a) theories of speeded choice (e.g., , Brown, S. & Heathcote, A. (2005). A ballistic model of choice response time. Psychological Review, 112, 117-128.) nonlinear dynamical systems theory for sequential effect (Kelly, A., Heathcote, A., Heath, R. A. & Longstaff, M. (2001). Response time dynamics: Evidence for linear and low-dimensional nonlinear structure in human choice sequences. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 54, 805 840.), and c) what the distribution of response time (RT) can tell us about cognitive processes. A complimentary stream of research has developed innovative and widely adopted RT distribution software and analysis techniques (Heathcote, A., Brown, S. & Cousineau, D. (2004). QMPE: Estimating Lognormal, Wald and Weibull RT distributions with a parameter dependent lower bound. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments & Computers, 36, 277-290.). Application areas include the Stroop task (Heathcote, A., Popiel, S. J., & Mewhort, D. J. K. (1991). Analysis of response-time distributions: An example using the Stroop task. Psychological Bulletin, 109, 340-347.) and reading tasks (particularly lexical decision and naming, Andrews, S., & Heathcote, A. (2001). Distinguishing common and task-specific processes in word identification: A matter of some moment? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning , Memory and Cognition, 27, 514-544.), and task switching. My focus in skill acquisition is on the "Law of Practice (i.e., the decrease in RT as a function of practice, Heathcote, A., Brown, S. & Mewhort, D.J.K. (2000) Repealing the power law: The case for an exponential law of practice. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 7, 185-207.). In this and other areas I have particularly focused on the dangers of averaging nonlinear functions across participants (Brown, S. & Heathcote, A. (2003). Averaging learning curves across and within participants. Behaviour Research Methods, Instruments & Computers, 35, 11-21.). I also have broad expertise in different types of recognition memory tasks (item, source etc., using yes-no and 2 alternative forced choice, Heathcote, A., Raymond, F. & Dunn, J. (2006). Recollection and familiarity in recognition memory: Evidence from ROC curves, Journal of Memory and Language, 55, 495-514.) and particularly mirror effects (Heathcote, A., Ditton, E. & Mitchell, K. (2006). Word-frequency and word-likeness mirror effects in episodic recognition memory, Memory and Cognition, 34, 826-838.) and modeling ROC (coincidence) data from such tasks (Heathcote, A. (2003). Item recognition memory and the ROC. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 29, 1210-1230.).
Fields of Research
|Cognitive Science Not Elsewhere Classified(170299)||65|
|Psychology And Cognitive Sciences Not Elsewhere Classified(179999)||5|
Centres and Groups
- Hunter Medical Research Institute
- PRC - Priority Research Centre for Translational Neuroscience and Mental Health (CTNMH)
- Human Experimental and Applied Dynamics (HEAD)
- Hunter Medical Research Institute - Brain and Mental Health
- Member - Psychonomic Society
- Member - Society for Mathematical Psychology
Behavior Research Methods (United States)
01/01/1997 - 01/12/1999
Psychonomic Bulletin and Review (United States)
|Head, School of Psychology|
University of Newcastle (Australia)
01/01/2004 - 01/12/2005
|1990||Andrew McGhie Memorial Prize for a PhD Thesis in Psychology|
Queens Univeristy, Canada (Canada)
|1986||Commonwealth Graduate Fellowship|
Commonwealth of Nations (Canada)
Since its inception in 1959, the Commonwealth Scholarship & Fellowship Plan has grown to be one of the most prestigious schemes for international study and professional development in the world.
|Invited Keynote Speaker|
Univeristy of Adelaide, Australia (Conference Presentation - non published.)
In my earlier career I developed a strong interest in the deployment and use of information technology (IT) in a university context. I became involved in information technology related administration at the school level as soon as I arrived at the University of Newcastle, and progressively took on more responsibilities in this area, cumulating in chairing the Faculty of Science IT committee and becoming a member of two university wide committees. I was appointed Deputy Head of the School of Behavioural Sciences for 2002-2003 and Head for 2004-2006. As Deputy Head I was directly responsible for the management of the Aviation Discipline within the school, which was going through a tumultuous time due to loss of staff and low student numbers, eventually resulting in a decision to disestablish the Undergraduate Aviation program in 2003. This process has now been successfully completed with the final students qualifying in the first semester of 2006. I became head at a very difficult time when the University of Newcastle was going through a period of severe budget constraints and staff loss. Despite these difficulties I have received strong support from my staff, as indicated by the results of a Quality Leadership Profile survey carried out in March, 2006, where I received an average staff rating of 4.33 and a rating of 4.34 from my supervisor, well above the national average (3.92). During this difficult period I have consistently kept school finances within budget without sacrificing the quality of either our teaching or research (e.g., 2005 the average Student Evaluation of Courses score for Psychology was 4.1 in Semester 1 and 4.0 in Semester 2; scores out of 5). Similarly, DEST audit results show that, despite a reduction in academic staff, the schools research outputs and conference participation have increased over the period of my headship (e.g., 31 C1 and 34 E publications in 2003 increasing to 41 C1 and 72 E publications in 2005). During my time as Deputy Head and Head I continued in my role as coordinator of one of the schools three research groups. During that time the research group has expanded its inputs and outputs significantly, as evidenced by the fact that in 2006 this group was, for the first time and by a substantial margin, the highest IGS+RIBG earner amongst the School of Psychologys three research groups. Administrative achievements of note during my headship include 1) increasing engagement with the local professional community, and in 2005 successfully managing the process of re-accreditation of teaching programs by the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and 2) halving the schools number of unfunded (out-of-time) Research Higher Degree (RHD), 3) In 2006 I developed several new initiatives including a successful bid for 30 B.Psychology growth places at the University of Newcastles Ourimbah campus and the development of an agreement with Sichuan University (the 8th ranked University in China) to allow their students to complete 2nd and 3rd year Psychology courses at Newcastle.
- Research Design
I have taught and coordinated Psychology courses at all levels in undergraduate, honours and postgraduate programs, with a focus on Cognition and Statistics and Methodology. My experience in the development and delivery of teaching spans traditional lecture based courses through to flexible delivery and courses for full fee-paying programs. I have particularly focused on my research area, Cognition, at both 1st and 3rd year, and on advanced Statistics and Methodology. I have extensive experience in the supervision of student research projects and have a strong track record of publishing with students and fostering their career development through networking and presentations at national and international conferences. I have maintained an above average load in honours and substantial postgraduate supervision throughout my career. Of the 20 honours research projects I have supervised 5 have received a prize for the best thesis, 11 have received a 1st and I have co-authored seven refereed journal and conference papers with these students. I have completed supervision of eight Masters projects and two PhD projects. I have co-authored 22 conference presentations and nine refereed journal and conference papers with these students, with two more papers presently under review. My most recent PhD student was youngest person ever employed in a tenure track position in the School of Social Sciences at the University of California, Irvine.
- Introduction to Cognition
- Advanced Statistics
- Topics in Cognition