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Dr Kenneth Scott-Brown

  • Role: Senior Lecturer
  • Division: Division of Psychology
  • Department: School of Social & Health Sciences
  • Telephone number: +44 (0)1382 308590
  • Email:

See also:


I am best known in Psychology for the idea of ‘Comparison Blindness’. Harry Orbach introduced me to Change Blindness, and while working in his lab I suggested that the problem of surprising difficulties in perception that became known as change blindness could be accounted for by the notion of a difficulty in the brain making explicit comparisons, rather than due to explanations of sparse coding of objects.

During my time at Abertay, I have sought to develop applications for my findings in Change Blindness. These have been most notably achieved in the domain of Policing, where I have conducted Knowledge Exchange work with Surveillance Operators in the Police, and have a collaboration with the Active Vision Laboratory at Dundee University assessing the oculomotor constraints on effective use of complex, multi-element visual displays.

Knowledge Transfer and Applications

More recently, I have been lucky enough to pursue this Change Blindness strand, along with my previous experience in the perception of motion at St Andrews University at Abertay, through my close collaboration with colleagues as the Institute for Arts Media and Computer Games. In a series of projects we are tackling the problems of change blindness that occur in computer interfaces by using animation techniques to effectively guide user attention in a complex visual array to the desired area. We argue that a combination of pictorial and animation cues is the best method to achieve this, rather than to rely on symbolic cues such as written instructions.

Research Degree Opportunities

I am keen to supervise students in any of these or related areas, and we offer the following research degrees: one-year MSc by Research, two-year MPhil or three-year PhD.  For more information please email   k.scott-brown @  (take out the spaces) or telephone +44(0)1382 308590.

Perception Lab People 


Santiago Gil Martinez (Phd) 

Neil Kirk (MSc)

Catherine Bain (MBRes)

(Whitespace Funded Studentships)

Sharon Ovenstone (Nee Pearson) (Mphil)

Robin Sloan PhD

Mark Shovman PhD

Previous Visiting Academics:

Michael Edward Edgerton

Leverhulme Composer in Residence (2006/7), University of Abertay Dundee.

Winner of the Kompositionspreis der Landeshauptstadt Stuttgart 2007!!!

Link to residency page and playable sample files:


I have teaching responsibilities for Undergraduate and Masters Level Perception and Cognitive Psychology as well as Research Methods. I also supervise postrgaduate research students, you can see some of their publications in my list below.

My public engagement work includes collaboration with Sensation at the Dundee Science Centre, based around change blindness research. Follow the link to the Visual Psychology Lab for online demos.

Knowledge Exchange

I am Academic Enterprise Leader here at Abertay University.

Please get in touch if you want to work with or find out more about the University Research and Knowledge Exchange landscape.

I coordinate the Psychology Employers Forum here at Abertay. We have a range of members from business, private sector and the voluntary sector. If you would like to join, please get in touch via my contacts tab above left.

Examples of previous collaborations with industry and the public sector include Principal Investigator projects with Police Scotland (also in collaboration with Ben Tatler and Matt Stainer at Dundee University) and NCR Financial Solutions Ltd.



Shovman, M., Szymkowiak, A. Bown, J. & Scott-Brown, K. C. (2015) Twist and Learn:Interface Learning in 3DOF Exploration of 3D Scatterplots. CHI 2015 ID No: pn433   Monday 20th Room 402  Interaction in 3D Space 14:30

Fernandez-Gutierrez, F., Martinez, S., Rube, M. A., Cox B. F., Fatahi, M., Scott-Brown, K. C., Houston, J. G., McLeod, H., White, R. D., French, K., Gueorguieva, M., Immel, E., Melzer, A. (2015) Comparative ergonomic workflow and user experience analysis of MRI versus fluoroscopy guided vascular interventions: an iliac angioplasty exemplar case study. International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery. Oct;10(10):1639-50. doi: 10.1007/s11548-015-1152-y. Epub 2015 Feb 21.

Hibbard PB, Scott-Brown KC, Haigh EC, Adrain M (2014) Depth Perception Not Found in Human Observers for Static or Dynamic Anti-Correlated Random Dot Stereograms. PLoS ONE 9(1): e84087. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084087

Scott-Brown, K. C., Harris, J., Simmers, A., Thurston, M., Abbas, M. deMajo, T., Reynolds, I. Robinson, G. Mitchell, I, Gilmour, D. Martinez, S., & Isaacs, J. (2014) ‘Tapology: A game-based platform to facilitate e-health and e-inclusion’. In Stephanidis, C. & Antona, M. (Eds) Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Aging and Assistive Environments Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 8515, 2014, pp 368-377

Neil W. Kirk, Linda Fiala, Kenneth C. Scott-Brown & Vera Kempe (2014): No evidence for reduced Simon cost in elderly bilinguals and bidialectals, Journal of Cognitive Psychology, Aug 18; 26(6): 640–648. DOI:10.1080/20445911.2014.929580

Stainer M.J., Scott-Brown K.C. and Tatler B.W. (2013) Looking for trouble: a description of oculomotor search strategies during live CCTV operation. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7:615. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00615 Special Issue on Neuroscience perspectives on Security: Technology, Detection and Decision Making.

Stainer M.J., Scott-Brown, K. C. and Tatler, B.W. (2013) Behavioural biases when viewing multiplexed scenes: scene structure and frames of reference for inspection. Frontiers in Psychology 4:624. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00624

Gilford, J. Falconer, R. Wade, R. and Scott-Brown, K. (2013) Virtual Environments and artistic images for raising awareness of Soil Sustainability Issues. European Journal of Engineering Education  Published online: 01 Aug 2013 DOI: 10.1080/03043797.2013.811472

Kirk, N. W., Scott-Brown, K. & Kempe, V. (2013 ) Do older Gaelic-English bilinguals show an advantage in inhibitory control? Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. P782-787 ISBN 978-0-9768318-9-1

Isaacs, J., Martinez, S., Milne, A. Scott-Brown, K. C., Evans, A, Gilmour, D. (2013 in press) Mobile Technology and E-Inclusion. In Stephanidis, C. & Antona, M. (Eds) Lecture Notes in Computer Science: Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Applications and Services for Quality of Life 626-635 Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Martinez, S. Carrillo, A.L., Scott-Brown, K. and Falgueras, J. (2013) "AGILE Interface for 'No-Learning nor Experience required' Interaction" In Martín, E., Haya, P. A., & Carro, R. M. “User Modeling and Adaptation for Daily Routines” Human-Computer Interaction Series published by Springer. pp 119-151

Shovman, M., Scott-Brown, K., Szymkowiak, A., &  Bown, J. (2012) Shaping a view: rotation enabled structure perception in an interactive 3-D scatter plot visualisation task. Special Issue of Gestalt Theory 34, ¾ 381-398. Available now from

Scott-Brown, K. C., Robinson, B., Moore F., Cook, M., Martinez, S. & Sloan, R. J. (2012) Systematic assessment of emotional expression using facial animation techniques. Perception. Vol 41 (Suppl.). P 234

Martinez, S., Sloan, R., Szymkowiak, A. & Scott-Brown, K. (2011). Animated Virtual Agents to Cue User Attention. International Journal On Advances in Intelligent Systems, 4(3 and 4), pp.299-308.

Available now from:

Scott-Brown, K.C., et al. 2010. Making a financial time machine: a multi-touch application to enable interactive 3-D visualization of distant savings goals. In: People and Computers XXIV Games are a Serious Business. Proceedings of HCI 2010 The 24th British HCI Group Annual Conference University of Abertay, Dundee, UK. 6 - 10 September 2010.

Available from
Runner up in best paper competition.

Hibbard, P, B,, Scott-Brown K,, Haigh E,, Adrain M,, 2011, "No evidence for the perception of depth in anticorrelated random dot stereograms in a large number of observers" Perception 40 ECVP Abstract Supplement, page 146

Finnegan, S. and Scott-Brown, K. (2011) Screen selection and meta-cognitive error in a quadraplex video observation task. In: Vitu, F., Castet, E., & Goffart, L. (Eds.) (2011). Abstracts of the 16th European Conference on Eye Movements, Marseille, 21 - 25 August 2011. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 4(3) 98

Martinez, S., Sloan, R., Szymkowiak, A. & Scott-Brown, K. (2010) Using Virtual Agents to Cue Observer Attention: Assessment of the impact of agent animation. Paper presented to The Second International Conference on Creative Content Technologies CONTENT 2010. November 21-26, 2010 - Lisbon, Portugal. PP7-12. ISBN: 978-1-61208-001-7.

Available From

Sloan, R.J.S., Robinson, B., Scott-Brown, K., Moore, F. and Cook, M. (2010). Choreographing emotional facial expressions. Journal of Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds. DOI: 10.1002/cav.339

Sloan, R.J.S., Robinson, B., Scott-Brown, K., Moore F. &  Cook, M. (2010) A practice-led approach to Facial Animation Research. In Proceedings of the ACM/SSPNET 2nd International Symposium on Facial Analysis and Animation (FAA '10). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 16-16. DOI=10.1145/1924035.1924043

Shovman, M., Szymkowiak, A., Bown, J., & Scott-Brown, K. (2010). Is visual search a high-level phenomenon? Evidence from structure perception in 3-D scatterplots. Perception, 39(March), 1149-1150. doi: 10.1068/ava10am.

Mayberry, L. & Scott-Brown, K. C. (2009) Looks like text messages take longer to comprehend than send. Perception, 38, p 627.

Shovman, M. M. Szymkowiak, A. Bown, J. L. & Scott-Brown, K. C. (2009) Changing the view: towards the theory of visualisation comprehension. In Information Visualisation. Ed. E. Banissi (Barcelona) pp 135-138.

Shovman, M. M., Scott-Brown, K. C. Szymkowiak, A & Bown, J. L. (2008) Use of ‘pop-out’ paradigm to test graph comprehension in a three-dimensional scatter plot. Perception Vol 37. Pp79-80.

Scott-Brown, K. C. & Cronin P. D. J. (2008) 'Detect the unexpected: A science for surveillance’ Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management 31 (3), 395-414.

Scott-Brown, K. C.  & Cronin, P. D. (2007) An instinct for detection: Psychological perspectives on CCTV surveillance. The Police Journal. 4, pp. 287-305.

Scott-Brown, K. C., & Mann, D. P. (2005). On the costs and benefits of display format in a video-based observation task. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the 2nd symposium on Applied Perception in Graphics and Visualization, A Coroña, Spain.

Scott-Brown, K. C., & Rowan, P. (2004) On the selective benefits of colour on the detection of changes in naturalistic scenes. Perception (suppl.), 101c

Heeley, D.W., Scott-Brown, K. C., & Clark, S. (2003). Expansive Micropsia Perception (suppl.), 125a

Heeley, D.W., Scott-Brown, K.C., Reid, G. & Maitland, F. (2003) Interocular orientation disparity and the stereoscopic perception of slanted surfaces. Spatial Vision, 16, 183-207

Jordan, T.R., Thomas, S.M., Patching, G.R., & Scott-Brown, K.C. (2003) Assessing the importance of letter pairs in initial, exterior, and interior positions in reading. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition 29: 883–893.

Heeley, D.W., Scott-Brown, K.S., & Reid, G. (2002). Orientation disparity and the perception of surface slant Perception (suppl.),154a

Scott-Brown, K.C. & Heeley, D.W. (2001) The effect of the spatial arrangement of target lines on perceived speed. Vision Research, 41, 1669-1682

Scott-Brown, K. C. & Jordan, T. R, (2000) A low-cost, accurate method of producing large quantities of digitally filtered images automatically. Behavior Research Methods Instruments and Computers. 32(3), 458-463.

Scott-Brown, K.C., Baker, M. & Orbach, H.S. (2000) "Comparison Blindness". Visual Cognition 7, 253-267.

Most Cited Paper: Follow the Comparison Blindness Citation Trail on Google Scholar. If you can't get hold of Visual Cognition then ask me for a pre-print.

Jordan, T. R., Thomas, S. M. & Scott-Brown, K. C. (1999) The Illusory Letters Phenomenon: An illustration of graphemic Restoration in visual word recognition. Perception. 28, 1413-1416.

Scott-Brown, K.C. & Orbach, H.S. (1998)."Contrast Discrimination, Non-Uniform Patterns and Change Blindness". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. 256(1410): 2159-2164.

Please e-mail if you require reprints or pre-prints of any articles.


Current funding from

Carnegie Corporation of New York (PI)

Leverhulme Trust (co-I)


Previous (PI) Projects generously funded by:

Interface (PI)

EU FP7 - iAge (co-I)

AHRC - (co-I)

Project for Scotland Crucible Award (PI)

Interdisciplinary Project Fund Award from Scottish Crucible (Scottish Funding Council, Royal Society of Edinburgh, NESTA). (PI)


SIPR Research Project (PI)

NCR Design Visualisation Project (PI)

AHRC (Knowledge Exchange: Improved Community Engagement through Spatial and Visualisation methods (ICE-SAV) a AHRC Connected Communities project led by Sinderby, S. and Wade, R.)

Human Intelligent Virtual Environment PhD Studentships (PI)

European Social Fund (PI)

The British Academy (PI)

The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland (Supervisor & PI)

The Wellcome Trust (Supervisor)


Cafe Science:

I am on the organising committee for Cafe Science Dundee: Conversations about Science over coffee. Talks are on the last Monday of every month at Chambers Coffee House, and in the middle Wednesday of every month at Dundee Science Centre.


I have appeared on BBC1's the One Show.



In 2011 I was inducted into the Scottish Crucible, a research leadership programme supported by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Scottish Funding Council.