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Personal profile

Academic Biography

Dan is a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science, with a focus on Motor Behaviour and Sport Psychology. He was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology from Lancaster University (Cognitive Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology), and is a Chartered Psychologist and Chartered Scientist with the British Psychological Society.

Dan is currently a review editor for two journals in Psychology and Human Neuroscience and peer reviews for many journals in Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience and Sport Science.

Dan is one of four academics who co-lead an international research collaboration called the Research in Imagery and Observation Group.

Summary of Research Interests

Dan's academic interest is in the interplay between perception and action, within the disciplines of Psychology, Neuroscience and Sport Science. 

I investigate how motor skills training in healthy and impaired populations (e.g., stroke survivors, children with dyspraxia, and adults with depression) can improve performance in sports and activities of daily living. I test the effects of mental practice techniques, such as combined action observation and motor imagery, on brain function and movement skill development. My research in basic neuroscience using EEG, TMS and fNIRS methods has established a solid foundation for the more applied interventions I am currently undertaking.

Research Interests

  • Motor control and learning
  • Neurorehabilitation in stroke and children with dyspraxia (developmental coordination disorder)
  • Mental practice effects: combined action observation and motor imagery

PhD and Research Opportunities

Dan is currently supervising PhD students, and always welcomes expressions of interest to collaborate on research, particularly within his areas of specialism – please feel free to get in touch.

Current projects include:

  • The effects of motor imagery during action observation in chronic stroke neurorehabilitation (Jack Binks)
  • Between- and within- session reliability of a novel motion tracking device for assessing fundamental movement skills in talented youth soccer players (Mihkel Laas)

Previous PhD projects:

  • The effects of motor imagery during action observation on imitation in children with and without developmental coordination disorder (Matthew Scott)
  • Motor simulation and the impact of depression (Jonathan Emerson)
  • Determining the mechanisms by which textured insoles improve balance (Ryan Kenny)

External Research Collaborations

Dan is currently collaborating on research projects with the following academics:

  • Dr Stefan Vogt (Department of Psychology, Lancaster University, UK)
  • Dr David Wright (Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)
  • Dr Adam Bruton (The Sport and Exercise Science Research Centre, The University of Roehampton, UK)
  • Dr Cornelia Frank (Bielefeld University, Germany)
  • Dr Jennifer Cumming (School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Science, The University of Birmingham, UK)
  • Dr Lawrence Behmer (City University of New York, USA)

Dan has previously collaborated with:

  • Professor Nicola Hodges (University of British Columbia, Canada)
  • Professor A. Mark Williams (Department of Health, Kinesiology and Recreation at the University of Utah, USA)

Enterprise Interest and Activities

Dan has provided psychological support to enhance the sports performance of international-level athletes across a range of sports.

Learning and Teaching Interests and Activities

Dan is the course leader for the BSc Sport & Exercise Science, and regularly teaches at all levels within the undergraduate and postgraduate provision. He has also taught a Masters module in Motor Control and Learning at Sheffield Hallam University.

At Teesside University Dan has taught all aspects of motor control and learning across the undergraduate and postgraduate provision, including the neurophysiological bases of movement, and the theoretical accounts of movement from cognitive neuroscience and experimental psychology perspectives. Dan has also delivered modules covering all components of the Sport and Exercise Psychology curriculum across undergraduate and postgraduate levels, to sport science and sports therapy students.

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