Posts By / Jan Wiener

ADRC presented at a BU Public Lecture Day

Last month the team from the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre (ADRC) delivered a highly successful  afternoon for the public ( With over 50 people in attendance, key research undertaken by the centre was covered  that included a range of topics affecting people living with dementia. Post Doc Dr Natalia Adamczewska presented work led by Dr Ben Hicks on Promoting inclusion through gaming technology, followed by a talk given with students from Dr Michelle Board – Dementia education and training using Virtual Reality. After the break, Prof Jan Wiener spoke on Reducing spatial disorientation in people with dementia, ending with Prof Jane Murphy talking about Providing good nutrition and hydration in people with dementia: some practical solution. Overall the participants rated the event very highly giving an amazing average score of 8.7/10  supported by  really positive comments on the event.
‘I was pleased to learn how much research was going on in the community to address the increasing problem of dementia.’
‘The varied and interesting subjects and the enthusiasm with which they were delivered. Hopefully they will play a part in the dementia care very soon.’
‘Informative and engaging presentations’
‘Congratulations on the efforts made in the field of dementia!’

Mobile eye-tracking in freely moving participants

In July, Dr. Julie Kirkby and Dr. Jan Wiener were awarded a small grant from the Research Development Fund entitled: Mobile eye-tracking in freely moving participants. The aims of the project were (i.) to develop an in-depth understanding of the potential of the state-of-the-art mobile eye-tracker system that the Psychology Group purchased earlier in the year; (ii) to develop new experimental paradigms to use alongside mobile eye-tracking; (iii) to collect first data that will be published in international peer reviewed journals and that is essential for preparing future research proposals; (iv) to establish Psychology Group’s expertise in the emerging field of mobile eye-tracking.

In order to achieve these goals two mobile eye-tracking scenarios was used:

Working memory in the classroom: Poor working memory skills are relatively common in childhood and have a substantial impact on children’s learning. We have developed a novel experimental paradigm combining the mobile eye-tracker with a large field of view virtual reality setup to test the impact of working memory skills on viewing and search behaviour. We have tested a group of young adults at BU and then moved the setup to Avonbourne School in Bournemouth to test a group of school students.


Wayfinding: In a pilot study in Poole hospital, people’s gaze behaviour was recorded while they were asked tofind their way through this complex real-world settings. This was the first experiment in which the mobile eye-tracker was used in an actual navigation experiment. The experience and expertise gained through this work has been crucial to develop follow up studies that are currently been carried out in Poole hospital.


The small grant allowed us:-

  • … to establish novel experimental paradigms with mobile eye-tracking
  • … to record first data using mobile eye-tracking. In order to publish results from the experiments carried out in this project, we are currently completing the data sets
  • … to develop in-depth knowledge about the mobile eye-tracker which has helped us to develop further mobile eye-tracking projects, for example in Poole hospital
  • … to establish close contact with Avonbourne School in Bournemouth. This contact is now also used for other projects.
  • … to establish a close and ongoing collaboration between JK and JW.
  • … to establish a formal collaboration between the Centre for Visual Cognition at Southampton University and the Psychology Research Group at BU

For further information, please contact Dr. Julie Kirkby or Dr. Jan Wiener in the Psychology Research Group.

Find out about the ‘Wayfinding & Spatial Cognition’ Lab in Psychology

Successful spatial navigating is one of the most fundamental behavioural problems and requires complex cognitive operations. To navigate in both familiar and unfamiliar environments, we need to monitor various internal and external cues, build, access, and update mental representations of space, plan and execute movements. In the Wayfinding & Spatial Cognition Lab we conduct research into the psychological processes underlying navigation and wayfinding behaviour addressing both fundamental and applied research questions. We make use of a variety of methods including behavioural navigation experiments, virtual reality techniques, static and mobile eye-tracking and cognitive modelling.

Click on image to see a short video of our virtual reality setup that we now combined with a head mounted (mobile) eye-tracker. This allows us to study visual attention across a large field of view while participants solve navigation tasks in highly controlled virtual environments that are build to exactly match the experimental demands.

The “Wayfinding & Spatial Cognition Lab” is currently involved in a number of fundamental and applied research projects:-





  • We just received funding from “Army of Angels” and the BU Foundation to start an exciting new project investigating the relationship between PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and navigation.


Dr. Jan Wiener in the Psychology Research Centre leads the “Wayfinding and Spatial Cognition” lab. For more information about our projects, the team, and our publications, please visit our lab page at You can also follow us on Twitter.

We are always eager to discuss new project ideas and collaborations, so please get in contact by dropping me an email: