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Duncan Guest

Duncan Guest

Head of Academy

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)


Dr Duncan Guest is Associate Professor in Psychology. Since 2019 he has been Management Lead for the Department of Psychology, leading the management team that oversee all aspects of teaching and learning in the department. The Psychology Department at NTU Psychology is the largest psychology department in the UK in terms of full-time undergraduate students and has developed a reputation for the high standard of its teaching and learning. As Management Lead Duncan’s role is to ensure the continued quality, innovation and strategic development of the teaching and learning experience provided by the staff and experienced by our students.

Duncan's research spans a variety of topics, mostly in cognition, but also consumer behaviour and disaster management (see below). Within the School of Social Sciences he is the Lead for Research Centres (currently four) and Research Groups (currently 23), where his role is to build networks of research across the school to support the research environment and enhance research quality. In the department he is an active member of a number of research groups, and previously led the Cognitive Research Group for several years.

Duncan teaches mainly cognitive psychology, research methods and statistics. He supervises a number of PhD students as well as a number of undergraduate and postgraduate research projects typically on topics in cognitive psychology (particularly visual perception) or consumer behaviour.

Career overview

Duncan completed his PhD at the University of Warwick in 2007 and held subsequent postdoctoral research positions in Psychology departments (University of Warwick and Oxford Brookes University) and Marketing departments (Universita Bocconi, Italy and Università della Svizzera Italiana, Switzerland). Duncan joined Nottingham Trent University as a Lecturer in 2011, moving to Senior Lecturer in 2013, Principal Lecturer in 2016 (where he held the portfolio of Delivery Lead for the Undergraduate courses), Associate Professor in 2018 and Management Lead in 2019.

Duncan’s research focuses mainly on visual cognition and cognition in consumer behaviour. IN reent years he has also developed a research focus on emergency services, in particular in disaster management. He has published in a range of international journals, and his work has been written about in the national press and presented at national and international conferences.  He is currently Chair of the British Psychology Society (BPS) Cognitive Psychology Section and a member of the BPS Research Board. Previously he has been Editor for the Cognitive Psychology Bulletin. He has organised three international conferences; the 2011 Thought Leaders Conference in Brand Management held in Lugano, the 2014 British Psychological Society Cognitive Section conference, and the 2019 CogDev conference. He is hosting an Experimental Psychology Society meeting at NTU in 2021.

Recently he has been the principal Investigator on a 2-year project funded by the Road Safety Trust on Hazard Perception in Mobility Scooter Users at Road Crossings and principal investigator on a year-long funded project on Analysing Inter-agency Communication within a Strategic Coordination Group when Managing Response to a Disaster.

Research areas

As a cognitive psychologist Duncan is interested in a broad range of cognitive phenomenon (e.g. visual perception, categorisation, attention, memory). His research spans a number of fields including;

Object/word processing in categorisation and Identification

Current Projects

  • Mouse-tracking in visual cognition tasks
  • Emotional processing of words
  • Statistical learning in language

Representative Publications and recent Conference Presentations

Guest, D., Kent , C., & Adelman, J, S (2018). The relative importance of perceptual and memory sampling processes in determining the time course of absolute identification. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 44 (4),. 615-630.

Guest, D., Adelman, J. S., & Kent, C (2016). Relative judgement is relatively difficult: Evidence against the role of relative judgement in absolute identification. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 23 (3), 922-931.

Kent C., Guest, D., Adelman, J, A., & Lamberts, K (2014) Stochastic accumulation of feature information in perception and memory. Frontiers in Cognitive Science, 5, 412.

Turk, R., Jones, G., Guest, D., Young., A, & Andrews, M (2018). Transitional frequency is better than transitional probability in a sequence learning task. Paper presented at the 2018 Leicester meeting of the Experimental Psychology Society.

Visual Cognition - Visual information processing and ageing

Current Projects

  • Ageing and visual information processing

Representative Publications and recent Conference Presentations

Guest, D., Howard, C. J., Brown, L. A., & Gleeson, H (2015). Aging and the rate of visual information processing. Journal of Vision, 15(14):10, 1–25, doi:10.1167/15.14.10.

Guest, D., Hamilton, C., & Howard, C. J.(2017, Aug). Does the age-related positivity effect influence attention toward health information.  Paper presented at the 2017 conference of the British Psychological Society Cognitive Section, Newcastle.

Guest, D., Mackenzie, A., Howard, C. J., Badham, s., & Brown., L (2017, Jul) Number of objects and number of features influence the extent of age related differences in visual information processing.  Paper presented at the 2017 Reading meeting of the Experimental Psychology Society.

Visual Cognition – Visual Search and Object Tracking

Current Projects

  • Multiple Object Tracking
  • Imagination fidelity
  • Eye movements in visual search

Representative Publications and recent Conference Presentations

Howard, C., J,. Wilding, R., & Guest, D (2017) Light video game play is associated with enhanced visual processing of targets in RSVP tasks. Perception. 46, 161–177.

Howard, C., J., Guest, D., Hornsby, A., Pole, r., & Nowak, P (2016) Non-independence of spatial memory and position tracking. Journal of Vision. 16, 1259-1259

Guest, D, & Lamberts, K (2011).  The time course of similarity effects in visual search.  Journal of Experimental Psychology; Human Perception and Performance, 37, 1667–1688

Guest, D (2014, Sept). Feature processing and target representations in dual target search. Paper presented at the 2014 conference of the British Psychological Society Cognitive Section, Nottingham Trent University..

Guest, D, Scott, C, & Torrance, M (2014, Sept). The time course of eye movements in visual search. Poster presented at the 2014 conference of the British Psychological Society Cognitive Section, Nottingham Trent University..

Visual Cognition - Object Substitution Masking

Current Projects

  • Modelling substitution masking

Representative Publications and recent Conference Presentations

Pilling, M., Guest, D., & Andrews, M (2019) Perceptual Errors Support the Notion of Masking by Object Substitution. Perception 48(2) 138–161.

Guest, D, Gellatly, A, & Pilling, M (2012). Reduced OSM for long duration targets: Individuation or items loaded into VSTM? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 38, 1541-1553.

Guest, D, Gellatly, A, & Pilling, M (2011). The effect of spatial competition between object level representations of target and mask on object substitution masking. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 73, 2528-2541.

Applied Visual Cognition

Current Projects

  • Hazard Perception in mobility scooter users
  • Ageing and driving performance
  • Lifeguard visual search

Representative Publications and recent Conference Presentations

Guest, D., Butcher, A., Gous, G., Crundall, D., Guest, G., Mackenzie, A., & Young, A. (2019) Hazard perception at road crossings in mobility scooter users. Paper presented at the Older Road User Conference.

Laxton, V., Crundall, D., Howard, C, J., & Guest, D (2018). Visual search in real dynamic environments: Lifeguard expertise affects detection speed for drowning targets. Paper presented at the 2018 Leicester meeting of the Experimental Psychology Society.

Mackenzie, A, M., Howard, C, J., Guest, D., & Crundall, D (2017, Aug). Measuring visual processing speed using a Time Accuracy Function analysis and its relation to driving performance in younger adults. Poster presented at the 2017 European Conference on Visual Perception.

Cognition & Consumer Behaviour

Current Projects

  • Sensory branding
  • Psychological distance and value co-creation in services

Representative Publications and recent Conference Presentations

Guest, D., Gibbert, M., Estes, Z., Mazursky, D., & Lam, M (2016). Modulation of taxonomic (versus thematic) similarity judgments and product choices by inducing local and global processing. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 28, 1013–1025.

Guest D., Estes Z., Gibbert M., & Mazursky D (2016). Brand Suicide? Memory and Liking of Negative Brand Names. PLoS ONE, 11(3): e0151628. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0151628

Holmqvist, J., Guest, D., & Gronroos, C, (2015). The role of psychological distance in value creation. Management Decision. 53(7), 1430-1451.

Emergency Services / Disaster Management

Current Projects

  • Post-traumatic growth in the fire service.
  • Inter-agency Communication within a Strategic Coordination Group when Managing Response to a Disaster.


Hill, R., Betts, L., Guest, D., Rennoldson, M., Andrews, S., Groeger, J., Baguley, T., Goodwin, T., & Thew, P (2018) Psychological Advice for the Trent Catchment Area when Managing Active Flooding Incidents. Trent Catchment Area Flood Framework.

External activity

Duncan is Chair of the BPS Cognitive Section. He reviews articles for numerous journals and funding bodies and has ongoing collaborative research projects in a number of national and international institutions (see sponsors and collaborators tab).

Sponsors and collaborators

Duncan has recently been awarded a 2 year £89k research grant from the Road Safety Trust on “Mobility scooter user behaviour and hazard perception at road crossings”

Current external collaborators include:

  • Professor Michael Gibbert (Università della Svizzera italiana)
  • Dr Zachary Estes (Bocconi University)
  • Dr Jonas Holmqvist (KEDGE Business School)
  • Dr Michael Pilling (Oxford Brookes University)
  • Dr James Adelman (Warwick University)
  • Dr Chris Kent (Bristol University)
  • Dr Louise Brown (University of Strathclyde)

Press expertise

  • Attention and memory
  • Visual processing of older people
  • Cognition and consumer behaviour