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1985 …2023

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Personal profile


I'm an Associate Professor in the School of Psychological Sciences and was one of the founding members of the first cognitive science research centre, the Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science/MACCS, later ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders/CCD) at Macquarie University.  My research uses experimental methods to study the workings of the mind, particularly the automatic processes that are hard to introspect on, such as visual word recognition and letter processing.  I have published extensively on these topics in premier journals, including Psychological Review, Journal of Experimental Psychology (General; Learning, Memory and Cognition; Human Perception and Performance), and Journal of Memory and Language.   I currently serve as an associate editor on Psychological Science, and have served as an associate editor, and as a member of the editorial boards of these journals.

Research interests

I have always been interested in the workings of the mind, and since being introduced to the experimental psychological approaches, I have used these methods – particularly masked priming - to study the hard-to-introspect processes like recognition of words and letters, across different languages and writing systems (e.g., Japanese kanji and kana; Chinese, Arabic).  With my collaborator Dennis Norris at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at Cambridge, we have developed the Bayesian Reader account of masked priming - how words presented so briefly that the reader is not consciously aware of its identity impact on the processing of subsequently presented words.  The Bayesian Reader explains nicely, for example, why readers are tolerant of distortions of letter order - the so-called "Cmabridge" email phenomenon (Norris & Kinoshita, Psychological Review, 2012; Kinoshita & Norris, 2009, JEP:LMC), when and why masked priming effects are/are not impacted by the visual similarity (Norris & Kinoshita, 2008; Kinoshita, et al., 2014, 2015), how expert readers process letters with and without diacritic marks (e.g., accent marks).  The Bayesian Reader approach also explains why masked priming effects are task-dependent, contrary to the widely held view that "activation" of semantics is automatic.  I have also investigated attentional control processes involved in managing conflict tasks, most notably the Stroop task (in which people are instructed to respond to the colour presented in a incongruent colour word, e.g., RED presented in blue). 


I currently teach cognitive psychology at all (first, second, and third year) undergraduate levels, and have also taught research methods and statsitics.  I have supervised numerous Honours projects on various topics in cognitive psychology - e.g., adult developmental dyslexia, recognition of Japanese kana in adult beginning learners of Japanese, the involvement of phonology in reading, whether the "LEET" (reading of visual symbols as letters, e.g., M4T3R14L) phenomenon reflects a "top-down" influence of word knowledge, the processing of "mirror letters" like b/d, p/q, how diacritics (like accent marks) are processed by expert and novice readers.  All of these honours theses have subsequently been published in international journals (Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology; Memory & Cognition; Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition; Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance). 

Research student supervision

I have supervised PhD topics mainly on reading and visual word recognition - e.g., the role of semantics in reading aloud; the role of speech production in reading aloud; attentional control of semantic priming (challenging the widely held idea that semantic priming is "automatic").  I am currently supervising a PhD on the topic of cognitive control, using both behavioural experimental method (including the analysis of RT distribution) and electrophysiological measure (ERP).  I would be interested in supervising PhD projects on cognitive psychology that are based on sound theoretical frameworks.

Community engagement

  • Associate editor, Psychological Science (2020-current)
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition (2005-2006; 2012-2018)
  • Editorial board member, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition (2006-2011; 2018-current)
  • Editorial board member, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance (2011-current)
  • Editorial board member, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General (2005-2006)
  • Editorial board member, Journal of Memory and Language (2009-current)
  • Associate editor, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology (2005-2011)


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