Dr Catherine Purcell

Supervised by

  • John Wann First/primary/lead supervisor


Research interests

My research explores the link between perception and action in the context of road crossing. Current work is focussed specifically upon children with Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD). Children with DCD exhibit problems with a wide range of fine and gross motor skills, and have been shown to have specific problems in utilising motion cues to organise actions. Central to the task of road crossing are the perceptual judgments that enable pedestrians to determine the time available to complete a road crossing. Deficits in perceptual acuity, such as the failure to detect a looming vehicle, or to accurately judge the relative rate of approaching vehicles, or to select an appropriate temporal gap can have serious implications. Using a series of computer based tasks we employ a psychophysical technique called best-PEST that helps to estimate what a child’s perceptual accuracy is for the kind of judgments they might make at the roadside. If we highlight deficits in the road crossing behaviour of children with DCD, this could be beneficial to clinicians and therapists directly working with children with DCD and may help to shape advice to parents and teachers in the management and tutoring of road crossing in this group of children.

This research will form part of my PhD which I am completing under the supervision of Professor John Wann and Dr Kate Wilmut.

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