Memory and Spatial Cognition

Research Summary

The memory, attention and spatial cognition research group builds on current expertise and potential for collaboration in research into neuropsychological and electrophysiological aspects of spatial learning, memory and attention, including comparative, evolutionary, ecological and developmental approaches. In particular the group will aim to facilitate the publication of research in high impact outlets and the successful bid for grants in the research areas listed below.

Research themes

  • Spatial attention, learning and memory

  • Search, foraging and navigation

  • Spatial neuroscience

  • Spatial perception

  • Neuropsychology and electrophysiology of spatial processing

  • Comparative and ecological approaches to spatial cognition

  • Virtual reality


Academic staffResearch students




Barrett D. (2009) 'Assessing the locus of cross-modal selective attention: independent or superadditive effects?' Nuffield Foundation

Barrett D. (2008) 'Bottom-up and Top-down Attentional Bias in Object Recognition.' Nuffield Foundation

Barrett D, Hall D, Archer J and Edmonson-Jones M. (2006) Deafness UK, 'Selective attention to auditory spatial and non-spatial attributes' (with Dr Deb Hall, Jo Archer and Mark Edmonson-Jones at the Medical Research Council’s Institute of Hearing Research). Deafness UK

De Lillo, C., Smith, A.D.  (University of Nottingham) & McGregor A. (Durham University) (2016). Temporal foundations of human foraging behaviour. Funded Experimental Psychology Society (EPS) Symposium, EPS Durham meeting, April 6-8 2016.

De Lillo C. (2011) Spatial working memory for clustered sites in a Virtual Reality based search task (Nuffield Foundation). 2011

De Lillo C. et al. (2008-2011) Spatial and motor cognition in virtual reality, computer generated and other realistic environments. Capital Investment Fund (CIF). 2008-2011.

De Lillo C. (2008-2011) Determinants of global and local visual processing advantage in humans and capuchins (Leverhulme Trust)

De Lillo C. (2006) Executive functions and hierarchical organisation in short-term memory for spatial locations. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), 2005-06.

De Lillo C. (2006) Contrasting hierarchical coding and movement length as determinants of recall improvement in serial spatial memory. (Nuffield Foundation). 2006

De Lillo C. (2006) Schizotypy and the encoding of structure in spatial working memory: are individual differences mediated by executive functions and perceptual grouping skills? (Wellcome Trust).

Duke, P. (2011) The role of distance in potentiating actions in response to visible objects. Nuffield Foundation


Selected research papers since 2011

Ashton, R & De Lillo, C. (2011). Association, inhibition and object permanence in dogs' (Canis familiaris) spatial search. Journal of Comparative Psychology. 125(2): 194-206.

Bennett. M., Duke, P.A. & Fuggetta, G. (2014). Event-related potential N270 delayed and enhanced by the conjunction of relevant and irrelevant perceptual mismatch. Psychophysiology. 51(5):456-463            

De Lillo, C., Kirby, M. & Poole, D. (2016) Spatio-Temporal Structure, Path Characteristics, and Perceptual Grouping in Immediate Serial Spatial Recall. Frontiers in Psychology,  Volume 7 | Article 1686.

De Lillo, C. Kirby, M. & James, F.C. (2014). Spatial working memory in immersive virtual reality foraging: path organisation, travelling distance and search efficiency in humans (Homo sapiens). American Journal of Primatology, 76: 436-446.

De Lillo, C. & James, F.C. (2012). Spatial working memory for clustered and linear configurations of sites in a virtual reality foraging task. Cognitive Processing. 13(Suppl1): S243-246.

De Lillo, C. Palumbo, M., Spinozzi, G. & Giustino, G. (2012). Effects of pattern redundancy and hierarchical grouping on global-local visual processing in monkeys (Cebus apella) and humans (Homo sapiens). Behavioural Brain Research, 226: 445-455.

De Lillo, C. Spinozzi, G., Palumbo, M. & Giustino, G. (2011). Attention allocation modulates the processing of hierarchical visual patterns: a comparative analysis of capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) and humans. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes. 37(3): 341-352.

Duke, P.A. & Howard, I.P. (2012). Processing vertical size disparities in distinct depth planes. Journal of Vision. 12(8):10.

Duke, P.A. & Rushton, S.K. (2012). How we perceive the trajectory of an approaching object. Journal of Vision. 8;12(3):9

Fuggetta, G. Bennett, M. Duke, P.A. (2015). An electrophysiological insight into visual attention mechanisms underlying schizotypy. Biological Psychology. 109. 206-221.    

Fuggetta, G. Bennett, M. Duke, P.A. & Young, A.M.J. (2014). Quantitative electroencephalography as a biomarker for proneness toward developing psychosis. Schizophrenia Research. 153 (1-3). 68-77.

Fagot, J. & De Lillo, C. (2011). A comparative study of working memory: immediate serial recall in baboons (Papio papio) and humans. Neuropsychologia. 49: 3870-3880.

Parwaga, S., Buckley, D. & Duke, P.A. (2016). Tilt representation beyond the retinotopic level. Journal of Vision. 16(11).1-13. doi:10.1167/16.3.11

Prados, J., Alvarez, B., & Reynolds, G. (2011). Spatial integration in human geometry learning. Behavioural Brain Research, 224, 297-304.

Prados, J. (2011). Blocking and overshadowing in human geometry learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 37, 121-126.

Shah, D.S., Prados, J., Gamble, J. De Lillo, C. & Gibson, C.L. (2013). Shah, D.S., Prados, J., Gamble, J. De Lillo, C. & Gibson, C.L. (2013). Sex differences in spatial memory using serial and search tasks. Behavioural Brain Research, 257: 90-99.

Truppa, V., De Simone, D.A. & De Lillo, C. (2016) Short-term memory effects on visual global/local processing in tufted capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 130(2):162-73.

Truppa, V., De Simone, D.A., Piano Mortari, E. & De Lillo, C. (2014). Effects of brief time delays on matching-to-sample abilities in capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.). Behavioural Brain Research, 271: 240-248.

Conference presentations

Members of the research group regularly present papers, as either oral or poster communications at national and international conferences.  Some examples of recent conferences: 

  • Experimental Psychology Society Meeting, Durham, 2016 
  • International Conference on Spatial Cognition, Rome, 2015
  • European Federation of Primatology Meeting, Rome, 2015
  • British Neuroscience Association, Festival of Neuroscience, Edinburgh, 2015
  • Congress of International Primatological Society, Hanoi, 2014 
  • British Neuroscience Association. Christmas Symposium: The Neuroscience of Navigation, 2012

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