Dr David Harris
Senior Research Fellow
Richard's Building, University of Exeter, St Luke's Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK
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 the impact that imparied, uncertain, or missing sensory information has on perception and action in virtual spaces.
- Predictive Processing theories of perception and action
- Virtual reality
- Eye tracking and computational modelling of eye movements
- Cognitive training
- Observational learning
- Quiet eye
- Flow states
Contact details and links to web pages
- I am a member of the Human Movement Science and Virtual Reality research groups.
- Google scholar
- Twitter: @David_J_Harris
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. From 2020-2022 I worked across several applied projects funded by the UK Ministry of Defence and since May 2022 I have been funded by a Leverhulme Early Career fellowship to examine the unusual perceptual effects of virtual reality and their impact on perception and action.
- CONCAWE Novel Technologies in Refinery Safety Meeting. Brussels, May 2018. The role of virtual reality technologies in safety critical training (Keynote talk).
- Meeting of Royal College of Surgeons. Exeter, March 2019. Accelerating motor skill acquisition in minimal-access surgery – lessons from eye-tracking and performance under pressure.
- University of Hertfordshire School of Psychology seminar series. Hertfordshire, April 2019. The role of attention control in flow (Keynote talk).
- Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics Flow Symposium. Frankfurt, June 2019. Examining attentional processes in flow.
- UK Immersive Computing for Defence and Security. DSTL, St Albans, June 2019. Using Virtual Reality for training cognitive skills in counter terror policing.
- University of St Mark and St John seminar series. Plymouth, October 2019. Examining attentional processes in flow.
- International Policing Association conference on virtual reality. Cologne, October, 2019. Developing and testing virtual reality training for cognitive skills (Keynote talk).
Media coverage of my research
Bayesian uncertainty in virtual environments: effects on perception and action – This 3-year fellowship award is to study the effects of virtual environments on the human perceptual system and how virtual worlds affect the brain’s ability to make predictions about our own movements and the world around us.
Serapis Maximising the Impact of Immersive Technology for Training and Education – This work has tested a variety of VR training solutions for the Ministry of Defence and developed conceptual frameworks to guide their use.
Audiences of the future - This project examined the use of mixed reality technologies to improve user experiences of museums.
- 2022 Waterloo Trust
Developing an immersive virtual reality pre-screening tool for DCD. (£60k)
- 2021 Leverhulme Trust
This 3-year fellowship award is to study the effects of virtual environments on the human perceptual system and how virtual worlds affect the brain’s ability to make predictions about our own movements and the world around us. (£421k)
- 2020 Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
This work has tested a variety of VR training solutions for the Ministry of Defence and developed conceptual frameworks to guide their use. (£222k)
- 2020 Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
This work has tested training interventions in the context of the military and policing. (£510k)
- 2019 InnovateUK
This project examines the use of mixed reality technologies to improve user experiences of museums, extending my work in VR development and validation into augmented reality. (£150k)
- 2018 Royal Academy of Engineering
-This Fellowship award from the Royal Academy of Engineering examined the effects of VR on cognition and developed evidenced based training interventions for the Metropolitan Police Counter Terror unit. (£200k)
Publications by category
Publications by year
I contribute to teaching on both undergraduate and postgradute modules in Sport and Health Science, focusing on peak performance states (flow), performance breakdowns under anxiety, and attentional processes underpinning expert performance.
- ESS2808 - Sport Psychology 2: Skill Acquisition
- ESS3808 - Sport Psychology
- SHSM023 - Current Issues in Sport and Exercise Psychology
Education Incubator Awards
Exploring the potential of 3D virtual reality (VR) as part of a blended learning approach to teaching clinical skills to student radiographers (£13,654, 08/2021)
Supervision / Group
- Barbara Halmai
- Mayowa Olonilua
- Chloe Wang
- Jiaxi Ye