The University of Southampton
Psychology
Phone:
(023) 8059 2973
Email:
S.V.Stevenage@soton.ac.uk

Professor Sarah Stevenage BSc, PhD

Professor in Psychology

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Sarah Stevenage is Professor of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Southampton.

Academic qualifications

BSc Psychology, University of Exeter

PhD Psychology (Face perception), University of Exeter

Chartered Psychologist

Associate Fellow of the BPS

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Biography

My interest in Psychology began through my degree, and later my PhD at the University of Exeter, under the supervision of Dr Ian Gordon. I came to Southampton in 1993, and have stayed here ever since. With a primary interest in face perception, I was naturally drawn to the area of Cognitive Psychology, and my undergraduate and postgraduate teaching has been focussed mainly in the areas of Memory, Face Perception, and more recently Forensic Psychology. With a passion for teaching, and for making the experience of my students really enjoyable and interactive, I was awarded the VC’s Teaching Award on two occasions and all of my administrative roles have been focussed on improving the experience of our students. Most recently, these include the roles of Head of Psychology, and Associate Dean (Education) for the Faculty.

In terms of research, my main focus is on Identity and Identification, as judged through face perception, gait and most recently voice perception. These interests have culminated in my role as lead investigator on a £2m EPSRC project – SuperIdentity – across 7 institutions in the US and the UK, and my involvement in a number of government and Research Council initiatives to understand identity better within a modern and digital environment.

That's me!

Research

Responsibilities

Publications

Teaching

Contact

Research interests

My research interests are in the area of cognitive psychology. My teaching helps me maintain a broad set of interests which share a basic focus on identity and identification. Current projects include identification from the face, from the voice, and from the hand, each of which may provide evidence to support court cases (see below). Please do get in touch if you are interested in study or collaboration with me in these areas.

Face Perception

There are many remarkable skills that we have in terms of processing faces - recognising people despite changes over time; recognising people despite transient changes in expression or pose. We can also make very fine level discriminations enabling us to tell apart similar looking people - and even twins. We can remember people's faces for 50 years or more. There are also instances where we get fooled - when faces of another race look too similar for us to distinguish, or when faces are deformed or turned upside down. These patterns of performance are quite well understood, and have helped us work out how these exceptional feats are achieved and which bits of the brain are responsible. We can even simulate human performance using neural networks.

Voice Recognition

In addition to my interests in face perception, I have also recently become involved in the examination of other means for identifying people. Gait perception has emerged as a promising avenue, and a multi-disciplinary team of computer scientists and psychologists are trying to model the processes involved. Much more recently, I have become interested in the under-researched area of voice recognition with the guiding principle that surely some processes must link with face recognition to inform us that we are processing a single individual. Similar factors affect performance, however differences between face and voice processing also emerge - these are what occupy me at present.

Hand Recognition

The hand is one of the most recent types of evidence to be deemed admissible in court. Whilst looking at a hand won’t necessarily tell you who someone is, there is the potential to compare the hand of a perpetrator (say from a video image) with the hand of a suspect and determine whether there is a match (or not). I am fortunate to work with some of the UKs leading scientists in this endeavour as we track the capability, and the limits of hand processing, and as we explore the assumptions of persistence and individuality of the hand itself.

 

 

Research group

Centre for Vision and Cognition (CVC)

I'm excited by the prospect of delivering an environment where students can come to Southampton for way more than a first degree - they can come here to follow a career path.

Articles

Conferences

My main teaching interests are in the areas of higher cognitive functioning. Given administrative roles currently, my teaching consists mainly of undergraduate and masters level project and dissertation supervision, and PhD supervision.

Professor Sarah Stevenage
Building 44 Highfield Campus University of Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number:44/3010

Telephone:(023) 8059 2973
Facsimile:(023) 8059 4597
Email:S.V.Stevenage@soton.ac.uk

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