Our people

Our people

Members of Centre for Elite Performance, Expertise and Training (CEPET) have a combined record of productivity that is exceptional, with complementary strengths in psychology, cognitive science, philosophy, music, sports science, methodology, applied practice, and analysis. They are distinguished by top tier publications, HDR supervisors, community engagement, and research funding success.

Core members

Professor Bill Thompson

Centre Director

Professor Bill Thompson

Department of Psychology

Professor Bill Thompson is professor in psychology at the Department of Psychology and Chief Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders. He is also the Director of the Music, Sound and Performance Lab. His research interests include music perception and cognition, music and emotion, violence and music, music and language, disorders of music, and music-based treatments.


Professor Mark Wiggins

Centre Deputy Director

Professor Mark Wiggins

Department of Psychology

Professor Mark Wiggins is a registered psychologist with an endorsed area of practice in organisational psychology. His research and teaching interests lie in the assessment and development of expert performance, particularly in the context of cognitive skills such as diagnosis and decision-making.



More core members

Professor John Sutton

Professor John Sutton

Department of Cognitive Science

John Sutton is Professor in cognitive science and Associate Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders. His research covers memory, skill, and distributed cognition, seeking to integrate philosophical, psychological, and historical ideas and methods in areas such as autobiographical and social memory, point of view in personal memory, and mindful bodies in action.


Associate Professor Barbara Griffin

Professor Barbara Griffin

Department of Psychology

Professor Barbara Griffin is an organisational psychologist and Program Director of Organisational Psychology. She has led a substantial research program investigating adaptive processes across the employee career cycle, including projects on selection, incivility, career transition, and organisational culture, with research conducted in many Australian and multinational companies across the public and private sectors.


Prof. Mark Williams

Professor Mark Williams

Department of Cognitive Science

Mark Williams is Professor in psychology and Associate Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders. Mark investigates the way the brain generates the perceptual reality we ‘see’. He uses both novel objects and more familiar stimuli such as faces and scenes to examine areas of the brain involved in perception. He implements novel analysis techniques such as multi-voxel pattern analysis to 'read-out' how the brain perceives the world.


Erik Reichle

Professor Erik Reichle

Department of Psychology

Prof. Erik D. Reichle is a cognitive psychologist with research interests in the mental processes that are involved in reading (e.g., vision, attention, language processing, eye-movement control, etc.). His research uses computational modelling to understand how these mental processes become coordinated to support skilled reading. Prof. Reichle has received fellowships from the Hanse Institute for Advanced study in Germany, the Leverhulme Trust in the United Kingdom, and in 2016 received a National 1,000-Talents Award from China. He is currently the Head of the Psychology Department at Macquarie University.


Mike Richardson

Professor Michael Richardson

Department of Psychology

Professor Richardson’s research program is directed towards understanding the lawful dynamics of human perception, action, and cognition. He has expertise in experimental and applied psychology, cognitive science, human-movement science, perception-action, joint-action and social coordination, virtual-reality, complex systems, quantitative and statistical analysis methods, and dynamical modelling.


A/Prof. Anina Rich

Associate Professor Anina Rich

Department of Cognitive Science

Anina Rich is an Associate Professor in cognitive science and Associate Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders. Anina's research focuses primarily on two different aspects of sensory processing: the mechanisms and influences of selective attention, and the way in which the brain integrates information, including unusual occurrences of integration such as Synaesthesia. An additional interest lies in the way in which the brain changes and adapts to injury or modified input.


Dr. Manolya Kavakli

Associate Professor Manolya Kavakli

Department of Computing

Associate Professor Manolya Kavakli is currently Director of the Postgraduate Coursework Program at the Department of Computing and the Director of Virtual Reality Lab at the Simulation Hub. Manolya has been working on Human Computer Interaction for 25 years. She is currently using virtual reality hardware and software, focusing on gesture recognition, and designing ubiquitous systems to improve learning outcomes, as well as motion tracking in the field of computer games and training simulations to contribute to expertise building.


Associate Professor Greg Downey

Associate Professor Greg Downey

Department of Anthropology

Associate Professor Greg Downey is Head of Department in Anthropology and his research focuses on studying the effects of skill acquisition, especially on cognitive and sensory learning, from a biocultural and neuroanthropological perspective. He has significant secondary research projects in areas like service-based learning, human rights, and evolutionary theory.


A/Prof. Catherine McMahon

Associate Professor Catherine McMahon

Department of Linguistics

Associate Professor Catherine McMahon is a researcher, clinical audiologist, Head of Audiology and Associate Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders. Catherine's research has a strong clinical focus that aims to better understand the effects of adult-onset hearing loss and its associations (such as tinnitus) on the individual, the family and community. It focuses on older adults, where sensory disorders, such as hearing loss, and cognitive decline is highly prevalent.


Rachel Kallen

Associate Professor Rachel Kallen

Department of Psychology

Associate Professor Rachel Kallen investigates the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral consequences of living with devalued or stigmatized identities. Her applied research interests focus on broadening participation for underepresented groups at all stages of the STEM pipeline. Her teaching interests include social psychology, the psychology of stigma, and undergraduate and graduate level research methods and statistics.


Dr. Kim Curby

Dr. Kim Curby

Department of Psychology

Dr. Kim Curby focuses on questions such as: How does visual learning alter the way we see and remember? What happens to the brain when we become perceptual experts? And how can understanding such processes inform us about why people can sometimes fail to develop the kinds of perceptual expertise that most of us take for granted (for example, face recognition)?


Dr. Melanie Taylor

Dr. Melanie Taylor

Department of Psychology

Dr. Melanie Taylor has worked in the areas of psychosocial impacts of disasters and emergencies and related preparedness and response behaviour. She has also specialised in the optimization of human performance. For example, the assessment of human performance and human error in safety-critical systems, e.g. aviation, military operations, and she has experience in using a wide range of research methodologies. Many projects have investigated human performance and limitations in stressful environments, or in the presence of stressors.


Glenn WarryMr. Glenn Warry

Sports and Recreation

Mr. Glenn Warry is a specialist in Learning, Development & Wellbeing Strategies for talent within sporting organisations, corporations and learning institutes. He is contracted by Macquarie University to manage the EAFU program, supporting up to 125 elite & emerging sport scholars annually to integrate university study with their elite amateur/ professional sporting careers. In addition he facilitates national sporting organisation research partnerships for the Centre of Elite Performance, Expertise and Training. (CEPET).

Associate members

Dr. Kirk Olsen

CEPET Centre Manager: Research and Engagement

Dr. Kirk Olsen

Department of Psychology

Dr. Kirk Olsen is CEPET Centre Manager and postdoctoral researcher in psychology. Kirk's research investigates cognitive and sensory mechanisms that underpin perception of complex and dynamic real-world acoustic stimuli such as music. Recent work investigates the social, psychological, and neurological implications of violent music; auditory attention and motion perception in the context of spatial hearing; and the neuroscience of creativity through expert music performance.


Maria KangasAssociate Professor Maria Kangas

Department of Psychology

Associate Professor Maria Kangas is a clinical psychologist and the Program Director of the Master of Clinical Psychology program in the Department of Psychology at Macquarie University. Her clinical research focuses on examining the symptom profile, course and treatment of anxiety, PTSD, mood and somatic disorders in individuals experiencing traumatic life stressors, medical and benign health problems. Most recently, she is also supervising postgraduate research students who are investigating the impact of physical activity/exercise and its association with emotion regulatory processes in modulating the impact of executive functioning in healthy and clinical samples.


Antonio Di leva v2

Associate Professor Antonio Di Ieva

Department of Clinical Medicine

Associate Professor Antonio Di Ieva, MD, PhD, FRACS, is a Neurosurgeon and Associate Professor of Neuroanatomy and Neurosurgery at Macquarie University. Specialist in Neurosurgery since 2007, he has completed several international research and surgical fellowships worldwide, including a PhD in Clinical Neurosciences at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria, in 2011, where he also holds the title of Associate Professor of Neuroanatomy. He has published 100 peer-reviewed articles and 2 books (one in neurosurgery, “Handbook of Skull Base Surgery”, Thieme, New York, 2015, and one in computational neurosciences, “The Fractal Geometry of the Brain’”, Springer, New York, 2016). His primary research interests are in neuroanatomy, neurosurgery, neuroimaging, cognitive and computational neurosciences, focused on the application of advanced computer-based analyses in the field of the clinical neurosciences and pattern recognition.


Kath BicknellDr. Kath Bicknell

Department of Cognitive Science

Dr. Kath Bicknell’s research investigates the relationships between thinking, doing and expert performance. This work examines the ways people make sense of remarkably skilful experiences as they happen, in time sensitive and high-pressure scenarios such as racing bikes down rock gardens in the jungle or performing at height on the trapeze. Her research, and its reach, is unusually interdisciplinary in nature, bridging between the humanities and the sciences. She has worked part time in the Department of Cognitive Science at Macquarie University since 2014, developing an ethnographic methodology to investigate complex, skilled action and collaboration in studies of skill, memory and high-performance sport. She has worked as afreelance media professional since 2008 and is internationally recognised for her multiplatform work on cycling.


Amee BairdDr. Amee Baird

Department of Psychology

Dr. Amee Baird is a clinical neuropsychologist and research fellow currently funded by an NHMRC-ARC Dementia Research Development Fellowship for the project ‘Can music mend minds? Investigating the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of music in people with dementia’. Her research interests include music evoked autobiographical memory, musical expertise and the use of music in cognitive rehabilitation in people with brain injury or disease.


Monique CraneDr. Monique Crane

Department of Psychology

Dr. Monique Crane is a Lecturer at Macquarie University, a registered psychologist, member of the Australian Psychological Society, and academic member of the College of Organisational Psychologists. Dr. Crane has expertise in occupational mental health and resilience training. Crane has worked with military mental health since 2010 and specialises in military resilience. She was involved as a chief investigator in the development, administration and evaluation of the military initial resilience that is currently employed within the Australian Defence Force. Crane is also a principal investigator on a major military longitudinal study investigating resilience in the Australian Defence Force. Dr Crane has secured over $600,000 in competitive external funding and over $200,000 in competitive internal funding for resilience-related research.


Dr. Ann CarriganAnn Carrigan

Department of Psychology

Dr. Ann Carrigan is a cognitive psychologist and a medical sonographer. Her research interests lie in medical perception, specifically applied visual search, attentional processes and the trajectory from competence to expertise.  Currently, Ann is working as a postdoctoral researcher on an ARC Discovery grant with Prof. Mark Wiggins investigating cue utilisation and skill acquisition along with the vulnerability to different error types of trainee and expert radiologists, pathologists and cardiac sonographers.


Dr. Jaime AutonJaime Auton

Department of Psychology

Dr. Jaime Auton is currently a post-doctoral research fellow and registered organisational psychologist at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Her primary area of research examines the role of cue utilisation during diagnostic decision-making within high-risk, high-consequence technical environments, with a particular focus on auditory cues and their role in problematic communication. Dr. Auton has carried out this research across a variety of operational domains, including electricity transmission control, electrical rail control, medicine and hydroelectric power generation.


Dr. Lili YuLili Yu

Department of Cognitive Science

Dr. Lili Yu is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Department of Cognitive Science, and the Academic Lead of FHS (SimHub Annex) Eye Tracking Lab. Lili is interested in understanding the coordination of perceptual and cognitive processes (e.g., vision, attention, memory, language processing) underlying natural reading, especially in whether and how various writing systems influence readers’ reading behaviours differently. For example, Chinese texts are visually (and perhaps linguistically) much denser than alphabetic languages due to its complex hierarchical structure and lack of space, thus, how might our cognitive system response and adapt to Chinese reading, which needs more severe cognitive demands on early visual processing? Lili uses eye tracking, combining with other methodologies to jointly answer the aforementioned questions.


Dr. Waldo GarridoDr. Waldo Garrido

HIGHRESAUDIO, Berlin, Germany and BMG Music

Dr. Waldo Garrido has research interests that include: music psychology (cultural memory and nostalgia), music performance (improvisation, guitar, bass and jazz), music production (digital technologies), music industry (publishing and independent musicians), and world popular music (cross-cultural music making).

Doctoral student members

T.MartinMs. Teresa Martin

Department of Psychology
Supervisor: A/Prof. Maria Kangas

Teresa Martin is a provisional psychologist and a Master of Clinical Psychology candidate. Teresa is being supervised by associate professor Maria Kangas in the area of emotion regulation and physical activity.


Aydin AnicMr. Aydin Anic

Department of Psychology
Supervisors: Prof. Bill Thompson and Dr. Kirk Olsen

Aydin Anic is a PhD candidate whose research primarily focuses on the neuroscience of creative cognition in musical improvisations. He uses transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to alter the neural activation patterns in specific parts of the brain to assess their role in creative behavioural outputs. Aydin’s research will have significant implications for the domains of expertise and creativity, and whether creativity can be induced artificially.


Ms. Sarah Pini

Department of Cognitive Science
Supervisors: Prof. John Sutton, Prof. Greg Downey, Dr. Julie-Anne Long

Sarah is PhD candidate at Macquarie University working interdisciplinary on embodied cognition. Dance as a complex human activity is a rich test case for our understanding of the role of the body in cognition. A growing number of researchers in cognitive science focus attention on dance practices. Grounded on the phenomenon of ‘stage presence’, Sarah's PhD project adopts an ethnographic approach to address skilled movement experience in three different dance forms, Contemporary Ballet, Contact Improvisation and Body Weather. Sarah's research aims to shed light on the complex dynamic nature of embodied cognition by studying the cognitive ecologies and the dimensions of variation in the enactment of stage presence across distinct dance practices and performers.


Ms. Sue Brouwers

Department of Psychology

Supervisor: Prof. Mark Wiggins

Sue Brouwers is an Organisational Psychology PhD candidate at Macquarie University. Her research has incorporated the use of EXPERTise (Driving: V. 1.0 and 2.0) to examine how cue utilisation reduces the demands on cognitive resources (cognitive load) and impacts the performance of individuals in learning-related contexts. The performance-related impacts of cue utilisation have been examined with the use of aircraft and rail control simulations.


Ms. Eva Gacasan

Department of Psychology

Supervisor: Prof. Mark Wiggins

Eva Marie Gacasan's PhD project examines sensemaking as a cognitive construct in project management, in particular, focusing on the disaster recovery context. The aim of her research is to understand how project managers make sense of complex situations by examining the key features that they acquire from the environment, and the way they acquire them, or the cue utilisation process involved. Her research methodology included cognitive task analysis/ critical incident technique, cross-sectional survey, and experimental study using EXPERTise, a diagnostic software. The outcomes of this research are intended to provide an empirical basis of cue-based training and assessment systems in both the project management and the disaster management fields.  Her research is under the supervision of Prof. Mark Wiggins.


Mr. Peter Renshaw

Department of Psychology

Supervisor: Prof. Mark Wiggins

Peter Renshaw is a Registered Psychologist and Member of the Australian Psychological Society. He also holds conventional pilot licences for fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft with various ratings and endorsements, including a helicopter flight instructor rating. He is undertaking a PhD examining technical skill acquisition and performance within the context of remotely-piloted aircraft operations. He has extensive experience as an aircraft accident investigator and airline safety manager.


Mr. Daniel Yee

Department of Psychology

Supervisor: Prof. Mark Wiggins

Previous research has focused on the role of cue utilisation in technical environments which involve highly domain-specific cues and environments. Daniel's program of research seeks to examine whether the utilisation of more broad social cues predicts performance in transient and dynamic settings, and whether social cue utilisation provides incremental validity over more traditional, technical forms of cue utilisation.

Back to the top of this page