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Dr Dennis Hay

Formerly at Lancaster University

Dennis Hay

Research Interests

My Ph.D dissertation was an investigation into cognitive cerebral asymmetries that investigated left hemisphere advantages in processing verbal stimuli and contrasted this with proposed right hemisphere advantages (RHA) in processing visuospatial stimuli. One of the most interesting findings was that faces were the class of stimuli that consistently exhibited a RHA and this sparked an interest which continues still. When I joined the Lancaster department I continued this line of research and along with Andy Young (now at York), Andy Ellis (now at York), Brenda Flude, a number of research associates and postgraduates investigated the processes underlying face processing in normal, brain damaged and psychiatric populations. One of the most fruitful associations during this period was when Any Young and myself were privileged to be invited to undertake research at the M.R.C. Neurological Unit at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford with the late Freda Newcombe.

I have recently been investigating how faces are represented in memory and how novel faces become unfamiliar. Recently I have become interested in the development of face processing, especially how the internal representations of faces change as children become more expert in processing faces.

There is a large literature and numerous models of how sequences of numbers and letter strings are committed to memory and later reproduced. However, it is unclear whether such models reflect general memory phenomena or are merely restricted to items that can be verbally encoded. Along with Mary Smyth and Graham Hitch (now at York) we are investigating serial recall phenomena using visuospatial stimuli that are difficult to verbally encode in an attempt to answer such questions.

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