Natalie Butcher

Natalie Butcher

Dr

Personal profile

Academic Biography

Dr Natalie Butcher is a Lecturer in Psychology in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Law. She studied her first degree in Psychology at the University of Manchester where she stayed on to complete an EPSRC funded PhD within the Cognitive and Cognitive Neuroscience Research Group. Her PhD, completed in 2009, investigated the effect of facial motion information on the recognition of same and other race faces.

Prior to commencing her current post in 2014, Natalie worked as a post-doctoral research associate here at Teesside University funded by the ESRC and then as a Lecturer in Psychology at York St John University. Natalie has experience in teaching a variety of modules at undergraduate level and has experience of PhD supervision. Currently she is module leader for the Current Issues in Neurodevelopmental Disorders module, whilst also teaching on the Psychlogy Dissertation and Development, Cognitive Processes and Disorders modules. 

Summary of Research Interests

Natalie's research focusses on understanding the factors that impact on our ability to recognise a face. Her research has a strong focus on the importance of dynamic (motion) information and race in the recognition of familiar and unfamiliar faces. Her research investigates the effect of these factors in both typical and developmental prosopagnosia (faceblind) populations, often using eye-tracking methods.

Natalie is currently working on several research projects including both theoretical and applied work. An example theoretical project is the investigation of eye-movement differences when processing static and moving faces in collaboration with Dr Karen Lander  (University of Manchester), Dr Rachel Bennetts (Brunel University) and Dr Laura Sexton (University of Sunderland). An example of her applied work is a project investigating the effect distinctive features (e.g., tattoos) have on eyewitnesses’ identification decisions and confidence in collaboration with the Consortium for High Powered Eyewitness Research (CHiPer).

Natalie has been invited to deliver talks on her research at several public engagement events: Pint of Science at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (May, 2016), In Your Face at the National Media Museum (September, 2016), Spoonful of Knowledge (February, 2017) as well as a TEDx Talk at Oldham Library which can be viewed online: 'What's in a Face?' (February, 2016).

PhD and Research Opportunities

Natalie welcomes applications from prospective PhD students with an interest in the area of face perception and face recognition, including both identity and expression recognition.

Doctoral Completions:

Laura Sexton (2022). Examining Individual Differences in the Recognition of Static and Dynamic Faces. PhD, Teesside University.

Andrew Weightman (2022). The impact of a webcam-based facial reflection-gazing task on body image in a non-clinical male sample, and the moderating role of ‘proximity to reflection’: An experimental study. DClinPsy, Teesside University

Jonathan Emerson (2021). Motor simulation and the impact of depression. PhD, Teesside University.

Research Projects & External Funding

2021: Science and Art Face Off. British Science Association – Community Buddy Grant Scheme, £3649

External Roles and Professional Activities

Natalie was an elected committee member of the Cognitive Psychology Section of the British Psychology Society (from Sept 2013 - Sept 2023). During her committee membership she held the following roles: Research Board Representative,  Editor of the section's annual publication The Cognitive Psychology Bulletin, Social Media Officer, and Honourary Treasurer.

Natalie is a member of the Cognitive Section of the British Psychological Society and the Experimental Psychlogy Society.

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