Professor Alan Kennedy

Portrait photo of Alan Kennedy
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I worked for many years on the notion that spatial representation plays a role in the processing of text, the mediating mechanism being the control of eye movements. Much of the published work on this topic was carried out in collaboration with Dr J. Pynte, Laboratoire de Psychologie et Neurosciences Cognitives, Boulogne-Billancourt, France. I was a Chercheur Associé in that laboratory from 2007 to 2010.

In 2003, in collaboration with Joel Pynte, I developed what is probably the largest available corpus of eye movement data in English and French (using newspaper articles from The Independent and Le Monde). Numerous publications from laboratories around the world have made use of the Dundee Corpus. 

I worked for several years with Ben Tatler and Yoriko Hirose on spatial representation in film examining how people maintain a stable representation of the “imaged space” when looking at movies, particularly when there is a change in camera viewpoint. Viewers of movies are not very good at coding precisely where particular objects are located in the imaginary space they create. Videos of some of our materials can be downloaded from the Journal of Vision site.

Since 2010 the majority of my published work has been fiction (with a psychological touch) in a variety of genres. In particular, a series of six novels (forming a kind of “literary fugue”) concerned with persistence of identity. More information about this project can be found on the Lasserrade Press site.

In 1965 I held the post of Lecturer in Psychology in the University of St Andrews: thirty years prior to that Oscar Oeser held exactly the same post. Oeser worked in Germany with Erich Jaensch, Adolf Hitler's favourite psychologist, studied at Cambridge alongside some notorious spies, headed Hut 6 at Bletchley Park, worked with Ian Fleming to organise a raid on Hitler's Berghof and ran the post-war de-Nazification programme in Germany. He played a significant role in the development of psychology in Dundee, carrying out pioneering work in the 1930s on the psychological effects of social deprivation and unemployment. My biography of Oeser (entitled Oscar & Lucy, 2015) is an attempt to bring the achievements this extraordinary psychologist to a wider public.

Media availability

I am available for media commentary on my research.

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Areas of expertise

  • Psychology