Professor Mark Wilson


I am a professor in performance psychology and human movement science, and a leading expert in visuomotor skill acquisition and performance under pressure. My applied research crosses discipline boundaries and has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, The Waterloo Foundation, Defence Human Capability Science and Technology Centre, Parkinson’s UK and the Football Association. As a chartered psychologist and registered practitioner with the Health and Care Professions Council, I help individuals and teams perform at their best when it matters most.


In a previous ‘life’ I was a project manager in industry before re-training as a psychologist. After teaching and research positions at Manchester Metropolitan University, I joined Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter in 2006. I am Admissions Coordinator for the department, an Academic Lead, and head-up the human movement science research group. In 2010, I was awarded a visiting fellowship to the University of Hong Kong (funded by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills) where I am still an Honorary Associate Professor.

2017 - present: Professor psychology, University of Exeter

2013 – 2017: Associate professor psychology, University of Exeter.
2010: Visiting associate professor, University of Hong Kong
2009 – 2013:    Senior lecturer psychology, University of Exeter.
2006 – 2009:    Lecturer psychology, University of Exeter.
2004 – 2006:    Research fellow motor control, Manchester Metropolitan University.
2001 – 2004:    Lecturer sport psychology, Manchester Metropolitan University.
1995 – 1999:    Project manager and production engineer, Unilever Ltd.

Broad research specialisms:

  • Optimising the skill acquisition process via (1) gaze (quiet eye) training; (2) cognitive (brain) training; (3) implicit motor learning. Much of my research has tested the efficacy of these interventions in randomized control trials in domains as varied as surgery, the military, stroke and Parkinson’s patients, children with dyspraxia, and sport.
  • Anxiety and performance. I have developed new theory (attentional control theory: sport with Michael Eysenck) and been at the forefront of measuring anxiety-related disruptions to attention in sport via mobile eye-tracking technology. An additional strand of this research has examined the role of the stress appraisal process (challenge and threat states) on attention and skilled performance.
  • Youth development and talent identification. A recent strand of research has assessed the structures supporting organised youth sport (with the RFU and FA) and the talent identification process in football academies.

My colleague Sam Vine and I have set up Eye-track Solutions – a consultancy service that offers a range of tools to explore human behavior and visual attention in real-world environments.


1995 MEng University of Manchester
2001 MSc Manchester Metropolitan University
2005 PGCE(HE) Manchester Metropolitan University
2006 PhD Manchester Metropolitan University

Contact details

Internal tel2891
Tel+44 (0) 1392 722891
AddressRichard's Building
University of Exeter
St Luke's Campus
Heavitree Road

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