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Applied cognition

An image to illustrate studying applied cognition at The Open University

The School of Psychology has a well-established reputation for its innovative approach and commitment to real-world application. This area of the School’s work is wide ranging and involves researchers undertaking both collaborative and individual projects.

Specific areas covered include face perception, visual attention, expertise, decision making, and folk understandings of psychological process. These are linked to application in areas such as forensic technology, driving behaviour, radiography, organophosphate exposure, facial disfigurement and understanding bias.

An interdisciplinary approach is often taken which has led to strong links with researchers in other departments and faculties, producing a vibrant research culture in this area of enquiry.

Qualifications available:

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) We normally expect applicants to have an appropriate masters degree, or some evidence of substantial experience in doing independent research at postgraduate level A recognised MSc (Research Methods) is required for Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) studentships.

Potential research projects

  • Application of theoretical models of practice learning to learning and using complex systems
  • The perception, recognition and recall of faces and factors that influence these processes
  • Dual-tasking capabilities e.g. when driving
  • The role of cognitive processes in deception

Current/recent research projects

We have had a number of recently and currently funded research projects, including:

  • Common sense psychological understandings, particularly for issues relating to theory of mind
  • The role of everyday reasoning in relation to scientific understandings and how they might have implications for teaching and learning
  • The role of attention and perception during dual tasking, for example, whilst driving and the car and using a phone

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

David Kaposi
+44(0)1908 652589

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.