Dr Deborah Apthorp

Dr. Deborah Apthorp
NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow
Building 39, Room 134
 612 59631



BPsyc (Hons 1, Medal) Macquarie University; PhD University of Sydney


Deborah was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and emigrated to Australia at the age of four. She grew up in various cities around Australia, finally settling in Sydney. Her first career was as a classical viola player; she then ran her own business making and selling children’s wear at the markets in Sydney. Going back to Macquarie University as a mature age student, she enrolled in a Bachelor of Psychology, finishing with first-class honours. A PhD at the University of Sydney with Prof. David Alais followed, and then a post doctorate at the University of Wollongong working with Associate Prof Stephen  Palmisano. Deborah has been at ANU since January 2013, and currently holds an NHMRC Early Career Fellowship.



Research awards

  • Australian Postgraduate Award, 2010
  • Postgraduate Publication Prize (School of Psychology), 2010
  • Campbell Perry International Research Scholarship (School of Psychology), 2009
  • ECVP Student Travel Award, 2009
  • Tempe Mann Scholarship, 2009
  • William & Catherine McIIraith Scholarship (Faculty of Science), 2009
  • APCV Best Student Talk Prize, 2008
  • APS Prize for Honours in Psychology, 2006
  • Macquarie University Honours Scholarship, 2006
  • Macquarie University Medal, 2006
  • Macquarie University Science and Technology Prize, 2006
  • Vice Chancellor's Commendation for Outstanding Academic Achievement, 2006

Research interests

  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Visual Neuroscience
  • Visual Attention
  • EEG
  • Postural sway
  • Motion Perception
  • Vection (self-motion illusions)
  • Bioeffects of Electromagnetic Radiation
  • Non-linear Dynamics
  • Multisensory Perception
  • Binocular Rivalry


Perpetual Impact Philanthropy Grant (2016): Tracking disease progression in Parkinson's Disease using new postural and brain imaging measures (Role: Primary Investigator)

Major Equipment Grant (2016): What lurks beneath: using electroencephalography (EEG) to study psychological processes in special populations (Role: CI)

National Health & Medical Research council (NHMRC) Early Career Research Fellowship (2013-2016)


PSYC3016: Issues in Behavioural Neuroscience (Course Co-ordinator 2015)


Current students


  • Turner, L., Jakabek, D., Wilkes, F.,; Croft, R., Churchyard, A., Walterfang, M., Velakoulis, D., Looi, J., Georgiou-Karistianis, N.,  & Apthorp, D. (in press). Striatal morphology correlates with frontostriatal electrophysiological motor processing in Huntington's Disease: An Image-HD Study. Brain  & Behavior (accepted).

  • Davis, J., McKone, E.,  Zirnsak, M., Moore, T.,  O'Kearney, R.,  Apthorp, D. & Palermo, R. (2016). Social and attention-to-detail sub-clusters of autistic traits differentially predict looking at eyes and face identity recognition ability. British Journal of Psychology, epub ahead of print

  • Turner, L.M, Croft, R.J., Churchyard, A., Looi, J., Apthorp, D., & Georgiou-Karistianis, N. (2015). Abnormal electrophysiological motor responses in Huntington's Disease: Evidence of premanifest compensation. PLoS ONE 10(9): e0138563

  • Apthorp, D., & Bell, J. (2015). Symmetry is less than meets the eye. Current Biology, 25(7), R267-8.

    Rideaux, R., Apthorp, D., & Edwards, M. (2015). Evidence for parallel consolidation of motion direction and orientation into visual working memory. Journal of Vision, 15(2):17, 1-12.

    Apthorp, D., Nagle, F., & Palmisano, S. (2014). Chaos in balance: Non-linear measures of postural control predict individual variations in visual illusions of motion. PLoS One, 9(12): e113897.

    Palmisano, S., Allison, R.S., Ash, A., Nakamura, S., & Apthorp, D. (2014). Evidence against an ecological explanation for the jitter advantage in vection. yFrontiers in Psychology, 5:1297.

    Apthorp, D., & Palmisano, S. (2014). The role of perceived speed in vection: does per- ceived speed modulate the jitter and oscillation advantages? PLoS One, 9(3): e92260.

    Palmisano, S., Apthorp, D., Seno, T., & Stapley, P.J. (2014). Spontaneous postural instability predicts susceptibility to vection in depth. Experimental Brain Research 232:1185– 1191.

  • Ash, A., Palmisano, S., Apthorp, D., & Allison, R. (2013). Vection in depth during treadmill walking. Perception, 42(5), 562–576.

  • Apthorp, D., Alais, D., & Boenke, L. (2013). Temporal illusions induced by visual, auditory and audiovisual stimuli. Journal of Vision, 13(5):3, 1- 15.
  • Apthorp, D., Schwarzkopf, D.S., Kaul, C., Bahrami, B., Alais, D., & Rees, G. (2012). Direct evidence for encoding of motion streaks in human visual cortex. Proceedings of the Royal Society (B), 280:20122339.
  • Alais, D., Apthorp, D., Karmann, A. & Cass, J. (2011). Temporal integration of movement: the time-course of motion streaks revealed by masking. PLoS One 6(12): e28675.
  • Taubert, J., Apthorp, D., Aagten-Murphy, D. & Alais, D. (2011). The role of holistic processing in face perception: Evidence from the face inversion effect. Vision Research, 51(11), 1273-1278
  • Apthorp, D., Cass, J. & Alais, D. (2011). The spatial tuning of ‘motion streak’ mechanisms revealed by masking and adaptation. Journal of Vision, 11(7):17, 1–16.
  • Dakin, S., Apthorp, D. & Alais, D. (2010). Anisotropies in judging the direction of moving natural scenes. Journal of Vision, 10(11):5, 1 - 19.
  • Apthorp, D., Cass, J. & Alais, D. (2010). Orientation tuning of contrast masking caused by motion streaks. Journal of Vision, 10(10):11, 1-13.
  • Apthorp, D., & Alais, D. (2009). Tilt aftereffects and tilt illusions induced by fast transla- tional motion: Evidence for motion streaks. Journal of Vision, 9(1):27, 1-11.
  • Apthorp, D., Wenderoth, P. & Alais, D. (2009). Motion streaks in fast motion rivalry cause orientation-selective suppression. Journal of Vision, 9(5):10,1-14.


Updated:  24 November 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RSP/Page Contact:  Web Admin, RSP