Dr Tim Holmes

Supervised by

Research interests

Former PhD student, Post-doc Researcher and Teaching Fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London - now working fulltime at Acuity Intelligence Ltd (but still collaborating significantly with members of the Psychology Department at RHUL and doing a bit of lecturing too!).

Check out my eye-tracking (and more) blog here!


My research interests include:

  • Eye movements and visual attention
  • Cognitive processes underlying decision making
  • Consumer psychology and so-called "neuro-marketing" - including all aspects of bio-informatics
  • Art and visual perception
  • Eye-tracking tools, methodologies and specifically the problems associated with analysing data captured using mobile eye-trackers
  • Assistive technology, and particularly the use of eye-movements to control software (HCI)



PhD Thesis:

Interactive Evolutionary Computation Driven by Gaze:
A New Paradigm for Experimental Aesthetics and Beyond


The ability to infer a person’s thoughts and intentions using purely physiological methods is not only one of the holy grails of modern neuroscience but at the heart of the rapidly developing field of neuro-marketing, which seeks to understand a consumer’s cognitions without reliance on self-report. The eyes and their movements are frequently described as a window to the mind, a view supported by the preferential looking paradigm which is most frequently used when self-report measures are infeasible, such as with infants or participants with learning difficulties. Evolutionary Computation is a field of computer science which applies the central concepts of Darwinian evolution, whereby an individual’s ability to survive and pass on it’s characteristics (through genetic information) to the next generation is determined by its fitness for purpose, in the form of an iterative, optimisation algorithm which can be used to search vast sets of possible solutions for the optimum. Visual Experimental Aesthetics, which attempts to understand the features of an image which directly influence a viewer’s preference for that stimulus, has always lacked an objective, external measure which can be used to explore complex, high-dimensional sets of images for such subjective preferences. By integrating the behavioural information from a preferential looking paradigm, which is used to evaluate fitness, with a real-time method for generating stimuli using a genetic representation which can be evolved over a number of generations, this thesis describes the development of a novel paradigm for use in subjective visual psychophysics and experimental aesthetics. The thesis establishes the method over a number of experiments using uni-dimensional and abstract multi-dimensional stimuli and concludes with an example of the paradigm applied to a commercial design question, using complex, high-dimensional photo-realistic stimuli. The potential for further development of this methodology in a variety of academic and real-world applications are discussed.

Upcoming events:

See-volution: A Large Scale Public Investigation of Eye-movements and Aesthetic Preferences


Getting creative with eye-tracking paradigms: An introduction the Tobii Toolbox for Matlab

Invited talk + 2 workshops at:

EyeTrackBehavior 2012 - Tobii Eye Tracking Conference on Behavioral Research




"Insight from YOUR sight" - Through the Live Science project at the London Science Museum, this will be the first large scale, public experiment investigating subjective preference using the Gaze Driven Evolutionary Algorithm.  Although the data collection part of this experiment is completed, the analysis is on going, expect updates soon!  The experiment can still be experienced however, at RHUL open and science days.  Much more info is now available online at the dedicated website insightfromyoursight 

Channel 4 - The Secret Life of Buildings (Episode 3): Commercial influences on architecture for shopping malls, explored and discussed with the aid of data captured using Tobii Glasses at Westfield, London.  See the activities section to view this segment of the programme.



Web page containing links to conference abstracts can be found here

Grab papers and/or thesis downloads from here

Enjoy some light reading here

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