Dr Stephanie Goodhew



BPsych Sc (Hons) PhD


Bachelor of Psychological Science (Hons I) with University Medal, University of Queensland (2004-2007)

PhD (with Dean’s Award for Research Higher Degree Excellence), University of Queensland (2008-2011)

Postdoctoral Fellowship (funded by Ontario Government), University of Toronto, Canada (2011-2012)

Lecturer, The Australian National University (2012-current)

Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Awardee (2014-current)



Research interests

More isn't always better: Understanding visual attention and how it works 

Visual attention is the process of selecting some stimuli from the world around us for processing at the expense of others. Such selection is a critically important process, so that our brain’s limited-capacity processing resources are not overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information that could be processed at any given point in time. A prevailing assumption to date has been that attention is universally beneficial – that is, attention facilitates all aspects of visual processing, and the greater the attentional resources applied to processing a stimulus, the more efficient and effective that processing will be. But recent evidence calls into question this assumption. This research program, in collaboration with A/Prof Mark Edwards is about developing more sophisticated models of the mechanisms of visual attention. This theorising is informed by our understanding of early visual processes in the brain, including the properties of magnocellular and parvocellular neurons, their properties, and roles in different aspects of attention. Given the pervasiveness of visual attention in everyday tasks from reading to driving, improving our understanding of the mechanisms of visual attention stands to have a strong impact on a wide range of applied areas.

Why is the sunny side always up? The link between language and attention.

Humans appear to rely on spatial mappings to represent and describe concepts. We refer to someone who is happy as up and describe someone who is condescending as looking down upon others, and we look forward to the future or back in time. Such spatial mappings have the ability to affect our visual attention. For example, after reading the word ‘sky’, people’s attention is oriented upwards, and after reading the word ‘grass’ it is oriented downwards. To date theoretical explanations for these mappings have relied on the idea of ‘perceptual simulation’ – that these terms orient attention because of our typical experiences with the spatial layout of objects in the world around us. Such explanations, however, struggle to account for why abstract words have the same ability to orient our attention – a word such as ‘happy’ orients attention upwards, and a word such as ‘bitter’ orients attention downwards. Work that I have been doing in collaboration with A/Prof Evan Kidd had led to the theory that conceptual cueing arises from language use patterns, that is, happy orients attention upward because 'happy' and 'up' co-occur in language far more often than 'happy' and 'down'. We are currently testing and developing this theory, which highlights an interesting intersection between language and attention. 

Embodied cognition: How do our hands change what we see? 

Visual perception of stimuli is altered when they occur near an observer’s own hands. That is, a physically identical stimulus or object can be perceived differently, or even not at all, depending on its proximity to one’s hands. Such effects have been well established; and there is an emerging consensus that the pattern of results reflects the fact that hand-proximity alters the relative balance of the contribution of the dorsal and ventral cortical pathways to visual perception, and that this can interact with a number of other processes such as visual attention.This research program is of fundamental interest, because it demonstrates the flexibility in the neural mechanisms underlying visual perception. It also has practical applications, such as understanding whether reading efficiency would be improved or impaired by holding a tablet device in one's hands.

Biased attention and anxiety 

An attentional bias – the tendency to selectively attend to threatening information in the environment – lies at the heart of anxiety. Growing evidence indicates that correcting this attentional bias has a therapeutic benefit for people who suffer from anxiety, implying that the attentional bias is not just a correlate, but plays a causal role in the maintenance of anxiety. This project, in collaboration with A/Prof Bruce Christensen, is about drawing on the massive accumulated knowledge from basic research about how attention works in normal cognition in order to inform our understanding and test possibilities about the nature of this bias. With an improved grasp on the nature of the bias, we can develop more targeted interventions for sufferers of anxiety.

The neural mechanisms underlying schizophrenia 

Schizophrenia is a complex disorder characterised by hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thought. This research program, in collaboration with A/Prof Bruce Christensen and A/Prof Mark Edwards, draws on knowledge about how healthy brains process visual and cognitive information in order to better inform our understanding of the mechanisms which dysfunction in patients with schizophrenia.    


New Initiative and Transdisciplinary Grant, "The Interaction Between Language and Visual Attention" awarded by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language to Evan Kidd, Stephanie C. Goodhew, and Mark Ellison, $11630 (2015-2016).

Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA), "The Temporal Dynamics of Conscious Object Perception" awarded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) to Stephanie C. Goodhew, $371220 (2014-2016). 


Module 1 of Issues in Behavioural Neuroscience (PSYC3016)


Goodhew, S.C., & Edwards, M. (in press). Object individuation is invariant to attentional diffusion: Changes in the size of the attended region do not interact with object substitution masking. Cognition

Goodhew, S.C., & Edwards, M. (in press). Objects but not concepts modulate the size of the attended region. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2016.1183687

Goodhew, S.C. (2016). When masks reveal more than they hide. American Journal of Psychology, 129(3), 350-355. doi: 10.5406/amerjpsyc.129.3.0350

Goodhew, S.C., & Kidd, E. (2016). The conceptual cueing database: Rated items for the study of the interaction between language and attention. Behavior Research Methods, 48, 1004-1007. doi: 10.3758/s13428-015-0625-9

Goodhew, S. C., Shen, E., & Edwards, M. (2016). Selective spatial enhancement: Attentional spotlight size impacts spatial but not temporal perception. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 23(4), 1144-1149. doi: 10.3758/s13423-015-0904-6

Goodhew, S.C., Greenwood, J.A., & Edwards, M. (2016). Categorical information influences conscious perception: An interaction between object-substitution masking and repetition blindness. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 78(4), 1186-1202. doi: 10.3758/s13414-016-1073-z

Goodhew, S.C., & Clarke, R. (2016). Contributions of the parvocellular and magnocellular pathways to visual perception near the hands are not fixed, but can be dynamically altered. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 23(1), 156-162. doi: 10.3758/s13423-015-0844-1

Goodhew, S.C., Edwards, M., Ferber, S., & Pratt, J. (2015). Altered visual perception near the hands: A critical review of attentional and neurophysiological models. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 55, 223-233. doi: 10.3758/s13423-015-0844-1

Goodhew, S. C., Freire, M. R., & Edwards, M. (2015). Enhanced semantic priming in synesthetes independent of sensory binding. Consciousness and Cognition, 33, 443-456. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2015.02.019

Goodhew, S.C., Edwards, M., Boal, H.L., & Bell, J. (2015). Two objects or one? Similarity rather than complexity determines objecthood when resolving dynamic input. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 40(1), 102-110. doi: 10.1037/xhp0000022

Goodhew, S.C., Fogel, N., & Pratt, J. (2014). The nature of altered vision near the hands: Evidence for the magnocellular enhancement account from object correspondence through occlusion. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21(6), 1452-1458. doi: 10.3758/s13423-014-0622-5

Goodhew, S.C., McGaw, B., & Kidd, E. (2014). Why is the sunny side always up? Explaining the spatial mapping of concepts by language use. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21(5), 1287-1293. doi: 10.3758/s13423-014-0593-6

Goodhew, S.C., Kendall, W., Ferber, S., & Pratt, J. (2014). Setting semantics: Conceptual set can determine the physical properties that capture attention. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 76(6)1577-1589. doi: 10.3758/s13414-014-0686-3.

Goodhew, S.C., Boal, H.L., & Edwards, M. (2014). A magnocellular contribution to conscious perception via temporal object segmentation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 40(3)948-959. doi: 10.1037/a0035769

Goodhew, S.C., Pratt, J., Dux, P.E., & Ferber, S. (2013). Substituting objects from consciousness: A review of object substitution masking. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 20(5), 859-877. doi: 10.3758/s13423-013-0400-9

Gozli, D.G., Goodhew, S.C., Moskowitz, J.B., & Pratt, J. (2013). Ideomotor perception modulates visuospatial cueing. Psychological Research, 77(5),528-539. doi: 10.1007/s00426-012-0461-9

Goodhew, S.C., Gozli, D.G., Ferber, S., & Pratt, J. (2013). Reduced temporal fusion in near-hand space. Psychological Science, 24(6), 891-900. doi: 10.1177/0956797612463402

Goodhew, S.C., Dux, P.E., Lipp, O.V., & Visser, T.A.W. (2012). Understanding recovery from object substitution masking. Cognition, 122(3), 405-415. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2011.11.010

Goodhew, S.C., Visser, T.A.W., Lipp, O.V., & Dux, P.E. (2011). Competing for consciousness: Prolonged mask exposure reduces object substitution masking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 37(2), 588-596. doi: 10.1037/a0018740

Goodhew, S.C., Visser, T.A.W., Lipp, O.V., & Dux, P.E. (2011). Implicit semantic perception in object substitution masking. Cognition, 118(1), 133-137 doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2010.10.013

Dux, P.E., Visser, T.A.W., Goodhew, S.C., & Lipp, O.V. (2010). Delayed re-entrant processing impairs visual awareness: An object-substitution masking study. Psychological Science, 21(9), 1242-1247.doi:10.1177/0956797610379866


Updated:  25 October 2016/Responsible Officer:  Director, RSP/Page Contact:  Web Admin, RSP