Dr David Harris
Research Fellow


I am a researcher in Psychology interested in skill acquisition, cognitive training and performance states (ranging from breakdowns under pressure to peak flow experiences). In particular, I am interested in the role of eye movements and visual attention in these areas. I have applied my research to a range on environments, including surgery, the military and gaming. My current work focuses on virtual reality and assessing the effectiveness of virtual environments for training cognitive skills. This work is funded by a Royal Academy of Engineering UK IC Postdoctoral Fellowship (https://www.raeng.org.uk/grants-and-prizes/support-for-research/ic-postdoctoral).

Research Specialisms

  • Virtual reality
  • Eye tracking
  • Cognitive training
  • Observational learning
  • Quiet eye
  • Flow states



PhD, Psychology, University of Exeter 2014-2017 (Thesis - The role of attentional control in flow states)

MSc, Psychological Research Methods, University of Exeter, 2011-2012 (Distinction)

PGCE, Post-Compulsory Education, Oxford Brookes University, 2008-2009

BSc(Hons), Psychology, University of Nottingham, 2005-2008



I completed my PhD in 2017 under the supervision of Prof Mark Wilson and Dr Sam Vine at Exeter, where I examined the state of flow and how visual attention contributes to peak performance states. Since then I have worked as a Research Associate with Dr Gavin Buckingham on a project examining observational learning in robotic surgery (2017) and held subsequent post-doctoral positions working on eye movement and cognitive training for the military (2018) and eye movement training for children with DCD (2018) with Prof Wilson and Dr Vine. In 2018 I was awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Post-doctoral Fellowship to examine the effectiveness of virtual reality for training cognitive skills in defence and counter-terror personnel. 


Contact details

AddressRichard's Building
University of Exeter
St Luke's Campus
Heavitree Road

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