Skip to content The Open University

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Lecturer in Psychology
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Psychology
  • Psychology
  • martin.thirkettle

Research interests

My research interests lie in the way perceptual information is collected, processed, and used in cognitive mechanisms to produce behaviour. I use visual psychophysics and the high level of stimulus and experimental control that provides to study what information is available to cognitive systems, and how this constrains and enables subsequent mental processes. By applying the insights of fundamental perceptual processing, my work reveals the impact of these processes on cognitive mechanisms and real world behaviour.

I am also part of the Forensic Psychology Research Group where I work closely with Prof Graham Pike, Dr Nicky Brace, Dr Catriona Havard, Dr Jim Turner, Dr Hayley Ness and Dr Gini Harrison.

A repository of research publications and other research outputs can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences


Biological movement and the encoding of its motion and orientation (2016-02-29)
Benton, Christopher P.; Thirkettle, Martin and Scott-Samuel, Nicholas E.
Scientific reports, 6 (p 22393)
No learning where to go without first knowing where you're coming from: action discovery is trajectory, not endpoint based (2013-09-18)
Thirkettle, Martin; Walton, Thomas; Redgrave, Peter; Gurney, Kevin and Stafford, Tom
Frontiers in Psychology, 4, Article 638
The path to learning: action acquisition is impaired when visual reinforcement signals must first access cortex (2013-04-15)
Thirkettle, Martin; Walton, Thomas; Shah, Ashvin; Gurney, Kevin; Redgrave, Peter and Stafford, Tom
Behavioural Brain Research, 243 (pp. 267-272)
The discovery of novel actions is affected by very brief reinforcement delays and reinforcement modality (2013)
Walton, Tom; Thirkettle, Martin; Redgrave, Pete; Gurney, Kevin N. and Stafford, Tom
Journal of Motor Behavior, 45(4) (pp. 351-360)
A novel task for the investigation of action acquisition (2012-06-04)
Stafford, Tom; Thirkettle, Martin; Walton, Tom; Vautrelle, Nicolas; Hetherington, Len; Port, Michael; Gurney, Kevin and Redgrave, Pete
PLoS ONE, 7, Article e37749(6)
Form overshadows ‘opponent motion’ information in processing of biological motion from point light walker stimuli (2010-01)
Thirkettle, M.; Scott-Samuel, N. E. and Benton, C. P.
Vision Research, 50(1) (pp. 118-126)
Contributions of form, motion and task to biological motion perception (2009)
Thirkettle, M.; Benton, C. P. and Scott-Samuel, N. E.
Journal of Vision, 9, Article 28(3)
Variability of background colour in suspect line-ups and identification accuracy (2016)
Thirkettle, Martin; Havard, Catriona and Richter, Stephanie
In : 26th Annual Conference of the European Association of Psychology and Law (EAPL) (05-08 July 2016, Toulouse, France)
How does image background colour influence facial identification? (2015-08-16)
Havard, Catriona; Thirkettle, Martin; Barrett, David and Ritcher, Stephanie
In : 38th European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP) (24 - 27 August 2015, Liverpool, UK)