The University of Southampton

Dr Valerie Benson BSc, PhD

Senior Lecturer, Director of Outreach

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Dr Valerie Benson is a Senior Lecturer within Psychology at the University of Southampton.

Senior Lecturer, University of Southampton

RCUK Roberts Research Fellow, University of Southampton.

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Durham, working with Professor David Milner.

Part time Ph.D student, University of Durham, working with Professor J M Findlay.

Research Associate, University of Durham, working with Professor R Walker.






Research interests

Oculomotor control and visual cognition. In everyday life the default strategy to sample the visual environment is to move our eyes in fast ballistic movements (saccades) interspersed with periods where the eye remains still (fixations). This is known as saccadic orienting, and its purpose is to re-position the high acuity area of the retina, the fovea, so that detailed inspection can be carried out at the point of fixation. I work with 'normal' and 'special' participants in an aim to understand how normal, and defective saccadic orienting impacts upon the ability to sample and percieve the 'world'.

Work in Progress

One of my main recent interests is oculomotor control in Autism and Aspergers Syndrome Disorder (ASD), for both low and higher level visual cognitive tasks. This work investigates the effects of complex versus simple information processing on eye movement patterns for many cognitive domains. I am also currently working with several other members of the CVC group in Southampton, and with other National and International collaborators, on a variety of projects that examine eye movements in normal and special participant groups. Examples include:

  • Biases in the processing of emotional stimuli in anxiety..
  • Eye movements in 'Visual Neglect' and ‘Prosopagnosia’.
  • Eye movements in ageing populations.
Other research projects

Eye movements in Autism Spectrum Disorder for simple versus complex information processing tasks

Research group

Centre for Vision and Cognition (CVC)

Research project(s)

Emotion discrimination in anxiety and prosopagnosia

Eye movements in special populations

  • Member of the Visual Cognition Group (CVC)
  • Member of Senate 2011 – 2012
  • Erasmus Co-ordinator 2011 – 2013
  • Outreach Co-ordinator 2013 to present


Book Chapter

    Benson, V. (2007). Saccadic orienting in special populations. In K. Rayner, D. Shen, X. Bai, & G. Yan (Eds.), Cognitive and Cultural Influences on Eye Movements Tianjin, China/Hove, UK.: Tianjin People's Press/ Psychology Press.
  • Supervising Ph.D students and undergraduate project students.
  • Lecturing on third year course in Eye movements.
  • Module co-ordinator for third year seminar; Cognitive Neuropsychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Tutorial leader for Thinking Psychologically Module
Dr Valerie Benson

Room Number:44/4106

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