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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. Finally, she is involved in research management within the Centre for Applied Psychological Science as she is the Impact Champion, Deputy REF lead, and theme lead for the Cognition and Decision Making theme.

Summary of Research Interests

Natalie is a researcher within the Social Futures Institute at Teesside University and a member of the Cognitive Section of the British Psychological Society.

Natalie's research interests focus on understanding the various 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. The first is a project looking at eye-movement differences when processing static and moving faces. This is in collaboration with Dr Karen Lander from the University of Manchester and Dr Rachel Bennetts from Queen Mary University of London. A second project in collaboration with PhD Student, Laura Sexton, is looking at individual differences when processing static and moving faces. This project involves setting up a North East Prosopagnosia Screening Centre to identify people who have this rare developmental disorder.

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.

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

Doctoral Supervision:

Andrew Weightman. 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

Research Projects & External Funding

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

External Roles and Professional Activities

Natalie is an elected committee member of the Cognitive Psychology Section of the British Psychology Society (since September 2013). She is currently the section's Research Board Representative and Assistant Editor of the section's annual publication The Cognitive Psychology Bulletin.


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