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Duncan Guest

Duncan Guest

Head of Academy

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)


Dr Duncan Guest is Head of Academy within NTU Psychology, which comprises all lecturing staff and professional services staff that sit in NTU psychology (over 130 staff).  NTU Psychology is one of the largest psychology departments 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 well as research excellence.

Duncan joined NTU in 2011 as a Lecturer and subsequently was promoted to Senior Lecturer, Principal Lecturer, Associate Professor, Lead Research Co-ordinator for the School of Social Science, and then Deputy Head of Psychology.  He became Head of Academy in 2021.

During his time at NTU Duncan has held a number of significant roles managing teaching and research. In terms of teaching, he was course leader for the BSc Psychology course (one of the largest courses at NTU) for several years. Subsequently he was the Undergraduate Course Delivery Lead, with management responsibility for overseeing the delivery and development of the suite of undergraduate courses offered in Psychology. As Deputy Head he was responsible for the continued quality, innovation and strategic development of the teaching and learning experience provided by the staff and experienced by students and oversaw the departmental response towards Covid-19.

Duncan's research spans a variety of topics, mostly in cognition and its applications. Within the School of Social Science he has been the Lead for Research Centres (currently four) and Research Groups (over 20) since 2019 with responsibility for building 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. Externally, he has been an active member for the BPS Cognitive Section Committee, co-organising several conferences, initiating The Cognitive Psychology Bulletin and being Chair from 2017-2021. He is currently Deputy Chair of the BPS Research Board.

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 NTU in 2011 and held a variety of management roles before becoming Head of Academy in 2021.

Duncan’s research focuses mainly on (visual) cognition and its applications. He has published in a range of international journals, and his work has been covered a number of times in national and international media.

Recently he was the principal Investigator on a 2-year project funded by the Road Safety Trust on Hazard Perception in Mobility Scooter Users at Road Crossings – producing an evidenced based free training tool for mobility scooter users – See and Scoot. He has also been involved in disaster management research.

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 processing in categorisation and Identification

Representative Publications

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.

Visual Cognition - Visual information processing and ageing

Representative Publications

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

Representative Publications

Howard, C, J., Pole, R., Montgomery, P., Woodwars, A., Guest, D., Standon, B., Kent, C., & Crowe, E., M (2020) Visual spatial attention and spatial working memory do not draw on shared capacity-limited core processes. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 73, 799-818

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.

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

Visual Cognition - Object Substitution Masking

Representative Publications

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

Representative Publications

Mackenzie, A., Vernon, M., Cox, P., Crundall, D., Daly, R., Guest, D., Muhl-Richardson, A., & Howard, C (2021) The Multiple Object Avoidance (MOA) task measures attention for action: Evidence from driving and sport. Behaviour Research Methods (forthcoming)

Laxton, V., Guest, D., Howard, C.J. & Crundall, D. (2021). Search for a distressed swimmer in a dynamic, real-world environment. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. 27(2), 352–368.

Laxton, V., Crundall, D., Guest, D. & Howard, C. (2021). Visual search for drowning swimmers: investigating the impact of lifeguarding experience. Applied Cognitive Psychology. 35, 215-231

Guest, D., Crundall, D., Mackenzie, A., Young, A., Guest, G, Butcher, A, Gous, G (2019) Mobility scooter user behaviour and hazard perception at road crossings. Report to the Road Safety Trust

Cognition & Consumer Behaviour

Representative Publications

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


Hill, R., Guest, D., Pickford, R., Hopkinson, A., Daszkiewicz, T., Whitton, S., …Crego, J. (2020). Third interim operational review. C19 National Foresight Group

Hill, R., Guest, D., Pickford, R., Hopkinson, A., Daszkiewicz, T., Whitton, S., …Crego, J. (2020). Second interim operational review. C19 National Foresight Group

Hill, R., Guest, D., Hopkinson, A., Towler, A., Pickford, R., Crego, J., Sanderson, L. (2020). COVID-19 pandemic: national interim operational review. C-19 National Foresight Group

Hill, R., Guest, D., Price, W., Pickford, R., Towler, A., Paddock, C., Graham, E., et al (2020) Multi-Agency Information Cells. Learning from the Covid-19 Pandemic and other Major Incidents. C-19 National Foresight Group

External activity

Duncan is Deputy Chair of the BPS Research Board. 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 is currently CI on an ESRC grant evaluating the coronavirus appeal run by the National Emergencies Trust.

He has been involved in previous grants from the Road Safety Trust, DSTL and  local government.

Current external collaborators include:

  • Professor Michael Gibbert (Università della Svizzera italiana)
  • Dr Zachary Estes (City 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
  • Mobility Scooters