Skip to main content

Dr Will Curran

Photo of Will Curran

Senior Lecturer



Room 0G.441, David Keir Building
School of Psychology
Queen's University Belfast
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland, UK


+44 (0)28 9097 4337


I completed a BSc in Psychology (1991) and a PhD in Psychology (1994) at University College London. Between 1994 and 2000 I held three post-doctoral research positions with Alan Johnston (UCL), Andy Smith (Royal Holloway), and Oliver Braddick & Jan Atkinson (Visual Development Unit, UCL). In 2000 I was appointed as a lecturer in the School of Psychology, Queen’s University Belfast.

School of Psychology Administrative Roles

  • Director of Postgraduate Studies
  • Thesis Convenor
  • PSY2050 Cognition and Perception
  • PSY3087 Neuropsychology of Perception in Action

Member of the EPIC (Emotion, Perception, and Individual Characteristics) Research Cluster

  • My research is in the field of human visual perception
  • Attention in perception of motion-defined transparency
  • Mechanisms underlying the phenomenon of motion direction repulsion
  • Perception of shape-from-shading
  • Infant vision
  • Perception of motion-defined transparency

My interests have spanned a number of areas in visual perception. During my PhD and early post-doc days at UCL my research focused on shape-from-shading and depth cue combination. This was followed by a number of years exploring the processes underlying our perception of motion transparency, as well as investigating perceptual development in early infancy (in particular, illusory contour perception and form coherence). My research is currently in the area of motion transparency, interactions between direction sensitive mechanisms, neural mechanisms underlying adaptation in the human visual system, and local & global motion processing.

Journal Articles

Curran, W., & Benton, C.P. (2012). The many directions of time. Cognition, 122, 252-257

Lynn, C. & Curran, W. (2010). A comparison of monkey and human motion processing mechanisms. Vision Research, 50, 2137-2141.

Curran, W., & Lynn C. (2009). Monkey and humans exhibit similar motion-processing mechanisms. Biology Letters, 5, 743-745.

Benton, C.P., & Curran, W. (2009). The dependence of perceived speed upon signal intensity. Vision Research, 49, 284-286.

Curran, W., Clifford, C.W.G., & Benton, C.P. (2009). The hierarchy of directional interactions in visual motion processing. Proceedings of The Royal Society of London B, 276, 263-268.

Benton, C.P., O?Brien, J.M.D., & Curran, W. (2007). Fractal rotation isolates mechanisms for form-dependent motion in human vision. Biology Letters, 3, 306-308.

Curran, W., Hibbard, P. B., & Johnston, A. (2007). The visual processing of motion-defined transparency. Proceedings of The Royal Society of London B, 274, 1049-1056.

Curran, W., Clifford, W.G., & Benton, C.P. (2006). New binary direction aftereffect does not add up. Journal of Vision, 6, 1451-1458.

Curran, W., Clifford, W.G., & Benton, C.P. (2006). The direction aftereffect is driven by adaptation of local motion detectors. Vision Research, 46, 4270-4278

Curran, W., & Benton, C.P. (2006). Test stimulus characteristics determine the perceived speed of the dynamic motion aftereffect. Vision Research, 46, 3284-3290.

Breslin, G., Hodges, N.J., Williams, A.M., Kremer, J., & Curran, W. (2006). A comparison of intra- and inter-limb relative motion information in modelling a novel motor skill. Human Movement Science, 25, 753-766

Breslin, G., Hodges, N.J., Williams, A.M., Curran, W., & Kremer, J. (2005). Modelling relative motion to facilitate intra-limb coordination. Human Movement Science, 24, 446-463

Curran, W., & Benton, C.P. (2003) "Speed tuning of direction repulsion describes an inverted U-function." Vision Research, 43, 1847-1853.

Benton, C.P., & Curran, W. (2003) "Direction repulsion goes global." Current Biology, 13, 767-771.

Atkinson, J., Braddick, O.J., Anker, S., Curran, W., Andrew, R., & Braddick, F. (2003). Neurobiological model of visuo-spatial cognition in young Williams Syndrome children measures of dorsal-stream and frontal function." Developmental Neuropsychology, 23 (1/2), 139-172.

Braddick, O.J., Wishart, K.A., & Curran, W. (2002). "Directional performance in motion transparency." Vision Research, 42, 1237-1248.

Curran, W. & Braddick, O.J. (2000) "Perceived motion direction and speed of locally-paired stimuli". Vision Research, 40, 2115-2124.

Smith A. T. & Curran W. (2000). "Continuity - based and discontinuity - based segmentation in transparent and spatially segregated global motion", Vision Research, 40(9), 1115-1123.

Curran W., Braddick O.J., Atkinson J, Wattam-Bell J., & Andrew R., (1999) "Development of Illusory contour perception in infants", Perception, 28, 527-538.

Smith A. T., Curran W., & Braddick O. J. (1999). "What motion distributions yield global transparency and spatial segmentation?", Vision Research, 39, 1121-1132.

Curran W. & Johnston A. (1996), "3D Curvature Contrast - geometric or brightness illusion?", Vision Research, 36, 3641-3653.

Johnston A. & Curran W. (1996). "Investigating shape-from-shading illusions using solid objects.", Vision Research, 36, 2827-2835.

Curran W. & Johnston A. (1996), "The Effect of Illuminant Position on Perceived Curvature." Vision Research, 36, 1399-1410.

Curran W. & Johnston A. (1994), "Integration of shading and texture cues: testing the linear model", Vision Research, 34, 1863-1874.


My current research in motion transparency is in collaboration with Alan Johnston (UCL) and Paul Hibbard (University of Saint Andrews). Work on both motion adaptation and interaction between direction sensitive mechanisms is carried out in conjunction with Chris Benton (University of Bristol) and Colin Clifford (University of Sydney).