Dr Richard O'Connor

Dr Richard O'Connor

Lecturer in Psychology

Faculty and Department

  • Faculty of Health Sciences
  • Department of Psychology

Summary

Dr Richard O'Connor is a cognitive developmental psychologist with research interests in cognition from infancy through to adulthood.

Particular areas of interest include theory of mind, representation of objects and actions, and word learning.

He joined the University of Hull in August 2016, after completing his PhD at the University of Cambridge and teaching positions at Royal Holloway and the University of Oxford.

Recent outputs

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Journal Article

Stroop interference is a composite phenomenon: Evidence from distinct developmental trajectories of its components

Ferrand, L., Ducrot, S., Chausse, P., Maïonchi-Pino, N., O’Connor, R. J., Parris, B. A., …Augustinova, M. (2020). Stroop interference is a composite phenomenon: Evidence from distinct developmental trajectories of its components. Developmental Science, 23(2), https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12899

Adult Fast-Mapping Memory Research Is Based on a Misinterpretation of Developmental-Word-Learning Data

O'Connor, R., & Riggs, K. (2019). Adult Fast-Mapping Memory Research Is Based on a Misinterpretation of Developmental-Word-Learning Data. Current directions in psychological science : a journal of the American Psychological Society, https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721419858426

Why would a special FM process exist in adults, when it does not appear to exist in children"

O’Connor, R. J., Lindsay, S., Mather, E., & Riggs, K. J. (2019). Why would a special FM process exist in adults, when it does not appear to exist in children?. Cognitive neuroscience, 10(4), 221-222. https://doi.org/10.1080/17588928.2019.1574260

Automatic visual-spatial perspective taking in alcohol-dependence: A study with happy emotional faces

Cox, S., Maurage, P., O'Connor, R., Chandler, C., & Riggs, K. (2018). Automatic visual-spatial perspective taking in alcohol-dependence: A study with happy emotional faces. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 190, 42-45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2018.05.025

Understanding the effects of one’s actions upon hidden objects and the development of search behaviour in 7-month-old infants

O'Connor, R. J., & Russell, J. (2015). Understanding the effects of one’s actions upon hidden objects and the development of search behaviour in 7-month-old infants. Developmental Science, 18(5), 824-831. https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12265

Research interests

Dr O'Connor's current research falls mostly into two topics: theory of mind and word learning. Within theory of mind, he is interested in the mechanisms by which we are able to infer the beliefs and visual perspectives of other people when these are different to our own. He investigates these in both children and adults, and in both typically developing populations and populations with known differences in theory of mind performance.

Within word learning, his research has focused on the phenomenon of "fast mapping" (the rapid formation of an association between a word and its referent after minimal exposure), both in children and adults. He also investigates the role of gesture in word learning, particularly in second language learning.

Across these two research areas he uses experimental, lab-based studies. In particular, his most recent research uses mouse-tracking to investigate the activation and competition between different response options when participants make a judgement, for example when judging the meaning of a word or another person's belief. He has very recently been awarded, with Prof Kevin Riggs, funding from the ESRC to investigate egocentric bias in belief processing using this methodology.

More broadly, he is interested cognitive development across the lifespan. His PhD investigated object and goal representations in infants, using search tasks, looking-time and gaze-contingent eye-tracking.

Postgraduate supervision

Dr O'Connor welcomes applications in any of the areas of cognition and cognitive development listed in his research interests, with applications to investigate theory of mind particularly welcome.

Current PhD supervision

Andrew Lucas (with Prof Kevin Riggs and Dr Shane Lindsay): word learning, lexical competition and mouse-tracking

Erin Minton-Branfoot (with Dr Henning Holle): gesture and word learning