Art, Cognition/Creativity and Emotion Research Group (ACErg)

About us

We are an interdisciplinary team of psychologists from different areas, audio-visual artists, and neuroscientists investigating several aspects of human behaviour: from empirical aesthetics and creativity through to neuro- and cognitive processing, extending to emotion and perception in social environments. The wide range of studies we develop in our laboratories allows us to cast aside the dichotomy between internal and external factors (environmental, cultural and neurocognitive) that constrained interdisciplinary research in the past. The research group has published a wide range of multidisciplinary studies in refereed national and international journals and book chapters, has organised meetings and small art exhibitions, and has a thriving group of PhD students.

Our purpose-built laboratories employ a wide range of equipment and methodologies (Biofeedback recorders, EEG, Eye-trackers, tDCS, Observation Labs, and assorted software) and research is also conducted through an extensive network of collaborating institutions.


PhD students

  • Beren Barklam
  • Susan Cooper
  • Lara Quartel
  • Zoë McHayle
  • Sarah Geisemeyer (Viva: 2017)
  • Angela Medvedeva (Viva: 2019)
  • Wendy Ross (Viva: 2021)
  • Rose Turner (Viva: 2020)
  • Jane Trueman (Viva: 2017)

Research topics

For details of each of the topics currently being investigated in our laboratories, check the individual pages of our members.

  • Art and empirical aesthetics (e.g. visual art, music)
  • Behavioural finance, financial decisions, investments and trading
  • Cognition (memory, vision, perception)
  • Creativity, curiosity and serendipity
  • Decision making and judgements: decisions-from-experience, learning from feedback, description-experience gap.
  • Emotion and attachment (e.g. pet ownership)
  • Empathy and Theory of Mind
  • Face recognition (collaboration, trust, cheating and deception)
  • Neurocognition (e.g. hemineglect, dementia, schizophrenia)
  • Warning labels and disclaimers

Research funding

  • ongoing: Office for Product Safety and Standards, Department for Business, Energy, & Industrial Strategy: Risk-taking and responsibility attribution when using 'smart' products. L Weiss-Cohen (Co-PI)
  • ongoing: NCH-NU Research and Learning Development Initiative Grant, US$10,000: Effects of trading frequency and patterns using a simulated realistic stock market trading engine. L Weiss-Cohen (Co-PI)
  • ongoing: CResCID 2021 grant – "Individual differences affecting dynamic emotion authenticity perception". M Zloteanu (PI), F M Felisberti (PI)
  • ongoing: Senior Research Advancement Fund (SRAF 2021): Enhancing learning with educational audiobooks. F M Felisberti (co-PI)
  • British Academy Small Research Grant. G Galli (PI)
  • CResCID 2021 grant – "Individual differences affecting dynamic emotion authenticity perception". M Zloteanu (PI).
  • Covid-19 Research – "Recall of handwashing behaviour in hazardous scenarios". F M Felisberti (PI)
  • Marie Skodowska-Curie Horizon 2020 grant – "Quality of experience management in emerging multimedia services". F M Felisberti (co-PI)
  • BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant, £9500 (PI): Researching a gambling warning label's effect on betting behaviour. Manuscript under review at Lancet Public Health. L Weiss-Cohen (Co-PI)
  • ING ThinkForward Initiative, €9100 (CI): How to empower people to make better financial decisions. Published in JEP:A. L Weiss-Cohen (Co-PI)

Representative publications


  • 14/01/2020. Talk by Dr Beatriz Calvo-Merino (City University): "Embodied perception: the influence of sensorimotor expertise in action, emotion and aesthetic processing". [JG 1001]
  • 04/02/2020. Talk by Dr Fatima M Felisberti: "Emotions, mental imagery and aesthetic experiences with music and visual art". [JG 3001]
  • 11/03/2021. Talk by E Beren Barklam: FARO Series - "Pet Ownership and Well-being during the COVID-19 Pandemic" [online]
  • 2021/22 Events: TBC