Volker Thoma 300 x 300

Professor Volker Thoma

Professor

, School of Psychology

Areas Of Interest

Dr. Volker Thoma's research topics are on fast and automatic (versus slow and controlled) mental processes in visual attention, object recognition, face recognition, implicit memory, risk perception and decision making, human factors, and behaviour change. He is using behavioural and neuroimaging techniques (EEG, fMRI, eye-tracking, tCS).

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OVERVIEW

Professor Volker Thoma's research in cognitive psychology investigates the nature of processes underlying visual attention, recognition of objects (including consumer items), and judgment and decision making.  He is using behavioural and neuroimaging techniques to investigate the role of attention in object recognition (in collaboration with Humboldt University Berlin) and face perception (Jan de Fockert, Goldsmiths). He also investigates the role of heuristics and cognitive reflection in judgment and decision-making, its correlates with thinking styles (Prof Ulrich Ettinger, Uni Bonn), and with financial decisions, including disordered gambling (with Prof. Peter Ayton, Leeds Business School).  His research also includes the origins of the centre preference effect (with Dr Paul Rodway, Chester), as well as on risk perception. Another current project is using non-invasive brain stimulation techniques (tDCS) to investigate the judgment performance in visual recognition and decision-making (with Prof. Davide Rivolta, University of Bari, and Prof. M. Nitsche, Uni Dortmund). A further interest is in applying these findings to behaviour change interventions (including the design of digital applications).

CURRENT RESEARCH

Professor Thoma's research interests are mainly in visual cognition, attention, and judgment and decision making. 

A main line of studies concerns decision making and risk perception. One project investigates heuristics and reflective thinking in experts, such as professional traders or pension trustees. Here the results show that traders, but not bankers, show higher cognitive reflection performance, but no different risk-taking. Work with pension trustees (jointly with Professor Peter Ayton, Leeds University Business School) shows that trustees show considerable bias in decision-making. 

Another line of inquiry looks at influences on consumer choice and preference, such as spatial location of products or the familiarity of brands. Items presented centrally are preferred over other positions in certain conditions (with Dr Paul Rodway, Chester). In other research, Professor Thoma showed that the familiarity of products or objects is a major determinant of preferential choice even in the context of negative information (such as consumer star ratings).

Professor Thoma's work also used behavioural and neuroimaging techniques to investigate the role of attention in object recognition (in collaboration with Prof. John Hummel, University of Illinois; Alan Richardson-Klavehn, Magdeburg; John-Dylan Haynes & Philipp Sterzer, Humboldt University Berlin) and face perception (with Jan de Fockert, Goldsmiths). 

In particular, Volker's work found that spatially unattended objects can be processed without attention, in particular, if objects are depicted in familiar views. He also showed that the capacity for face perception is limited only by the number of other faces (not other stimuli) present in a scene. Finally, work using non-invasive brain stimulation shows that transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS) of the occipito-temporal areas can improve object and face perception (with Dr Davide Rivolta, University of Bari; and Prof. Michael Nitsche, TU Dortmund).

Professor Thoma also investigates cognitive processes in decision-making using non-invasive brain stimulation. One project showed that tDCS to the right dorsolateral pre-frontal cortex improves reflective decision-making. A related line of research shows that tDCS modulates risk-taking in gambling-like tasks.

Volker is a committee member and honorary treasurer of the British Association of Cognitive Neuroscience (BACN). He serves as the coordinator of UEL's UoA 4 (REF 2021) and committee member of the School's ethics committee. He is Review Editor for Frontiers in Psychology and Frontiers in Neuroimaging and Stimulation.

Behaviour Change and Human Factors

Human choice and preferences are susceptible to internal (thoughts, motivation) and external (instructions, environment) factors. The latter can be used in 'Choice Design', to nudge people into beneficial behaviour (e.g., eat more healthily). We are studying these factors, using research on heuristics (or mental shortcuts) and how they can be used in choice design. For example, we find that from items in an array (e.g. products on a supermarket shelf) the middle one is often preferred - but this depends on some variables, such as valence (likeability), goals, and similarity.

Rodway, P., Schepman, A., & Thoma, V. (2016). Reachability does not explain the middle preference: a comment on Bar-Hillel (2015; Position Effects in Choice From Simultaneous Displays: A Conundrum Solved. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(4): 419-433). i-Perception. 1-5

Kreplin, U., Thoma, V., Rodway, P. (2014). Looking behaviour and preference for artworks: the role of emotional valence and location. Acta Psychologica, 152, 00-108.

Decision Making

Human decision making relies on different processes that are yet not fully understood. In our lab we study heuristics (mental shortcuts) in decision-making, and whether their use is determined by instructions, attention, or neural stimulation. We use eye-tracking and brain stimulation (tDCS) to study judgment and decision-making.

Relevant publications:

Thoma, V. & Williams, A. (2013). The devil you know: The effect of brand recognition and product ratings on consumer choice. Judgment and Decision Making. Vol. 8, 34 – 44.

 Thoma, V. White, E., Panigrahi, A., Strowger, V., Anderson, A. (2015). Good thinking or gut feeling?  Cognitive reflection and intuition in traders, bankers and financial non-experts. PLoS ONE 10(4):e0123202. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123202

Face and Non-Face Object Processing Under Perceptual Load

How does our brain pick out the visual information it needs or wants from the environment and ignore what is irrelevant? Volker Thoma's research found that when perceptual load is high (e.g., many objects in a visual scene make it difficult to find an object, like your car in a full parking lot) then irrelevant information (e.g., a shopping trolley) is easy to ignore because your attentional capacity is used up by scanning many cars. If perceptual load is low, you will find your car quickly, but it will be hard to ignore irrelevant objects. Surprisingly, this is not the case for faces - no matter how many cars in the parking lot, you will always process the face of someone there. It seems that face-capacity is category-specific - only if you look for a face among many faces will your visual system ignore another face.

Thoma, V., & de Fockert, J.W. (2018). Three-quarter views of depth-rotated faces induce face-specific capacity limits in visual search. Experimental Psychology, 65(6), 360–369https://doi.org/10.1027/1618-3169/a000421

Thoma, V., & Lavie, N. (2013). Perceptual load effects on processing distractor faces indicate face-specific capacity limits. Visual Cognition, 21(8), 1053–1076.doi:10.1080/13506285.2013.853717

Lavie, N., Zokaei, N., Zhicheng, L., & Thoma, V. (2009). The role of perceptual load in object recognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 35(5), 1346–1358. doi:10.1037/a0016454

Attention and Object Recognition

A long-standing project in Volker Thoma's research is the role of attention in object perception, and he found evidence that an object's recognition is mediated by a hybrid representation (view-dependent and part-based) depending on whether a seen object receives visual attention or not. Brain imaging data (with Dr Rik Henson) indicate that while view-based representation components are found in ventral and dorsal object processing streams, part-based representations (depending on attention) appear to be limited to ventral processing areas in the brain. Crucially, both behavioural and imaging data find evidence for processing of objects without attention. Recent collaborations are with Prof John Dylan Haynes (Humboldt University, Berlin) and Prof. Alan Richardson-Klavehn (University of Magdeburg).

Wakui, E., Thoma, V., De Fockert, J.W. (2016). View-sensitive ERP repetition effects indicate automatic holistic processing of spatially unattended objects. Neuropsychologia, 89, 426–436

Guggenmos, M., Thoma V., Cichy, R.M., Haynes J-D., Sterzer P., Richardson-Klavehn, A. (2015). Non-holistic coding of objects in lateral occipital complex with and without attention. NeuroImage, 107, p. 356-363

Thoma, V., & Henson, R.N. (2011). Object representations in ventral and dorsal visual streams: fMRI repetition effects depend on attention and part–whole configuration. NeuroImage, 57(2), 513–525. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.04.035

PUBLICATIONS

Publicly available research outputs are available to download from UEL's Research Open Access Repository

Peer-Reviewed Publications (since 2004)

  • Weiss-Cohen, L., Ayton, P., Clacher, I., & Thoma, V. (in press). Pension scheme trustees as surrogate decision makers. Financial Research Letters.
  • Thoma, V., Weiss-Cohen, L., Filkukova, P., & Ayton, P. (2021). Cognitive predictors of precautionary behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 325.
  • Anderson, I. and Thoma, V. (2020). The edge of reason: A thematic analysis of how professional financial traders understand analytical decision making. European Management Journal. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emj.2020.08.006 
  • Gonzalez-Perez, M., Wakui, E., Thoma, V., Nitsche, M. A., & Rivolta, D. (2019). Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) at 40 Hz enhances face and object perception. Neuropsychologia, 107237. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31655161 
  • Gomis‐Vicent, E., Thoma, V., Turner, J. J., Hill, K. P., & Pascual‐Leone, A. (2019). Non‐invasive brain stimulation in behavioral addictions: insights from direct comparisons with substance use disorders. The American journal on addictions. https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/8707w 
  • Spiller, M., Harkry, L., McCullagh, F., Thoma, V., & Jones, C. (2019). Exploring the relationship between grapheme colour-picking consistency and mental imagery. Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences, In-Press. https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/843q3 
  • Weiss-Cohen, L., Ayton, P., Clacher, I., Thoma, V. (2019). Behavioral biases in pension fund trustees' decision making. Review of Behavioral Finance. https://doi.org/10.1108/RBF-05-2018-004
  • Broyd, A., Ettinger, U., & Thoma, V. (2019). Thinking dispositions and cognitive reflection performance in schizotypy. Judgment and Decision Making, 14(1), 80-90. http://journal.sjdm.org/vol14.1.html
  • Thoma, V., & Patsalos, O. (2019). Water Supplementation after dehydration increases judgment and decision-making performance. Psychological Research. 84, 1223–1234. http://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-018-1136-y 
  • Jones, A., & Thoma, V. (2019). Determinants for successful Agile collaboration between UX designers and software developers in a large organisation. International Journal of Human Computer Interaction, 35 (20), 1914-1935. https://doi.org/10.1080/10447318.2019.1587856
  • Edgcumbe, D.R., Thoma, V., Rivolta, D., Nitsche, M.A., Fu, C.H.Y (2019). Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex enhances reflective judgment and decision-making. Brain Stimulation. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brs.2018.12.003
  • Thoma, V., & De Fockert, J.W. (2018). Three-quarter views of depth-rotated faces induce face-specific capacity limits in visual search. Experimental Psychology, 65(6), 360–369. https://doi.org/10.1027/1618-3169/a000421
  • Gosling, A.*, Thoma, V.*, De Fockert, J.W., Richardon-Klavehn, A. (2016). Event-Related Potential Effects of Object Repetition Depend on Attention and Part-Whole Configuration. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2016.00478 (*equal contribution)
  • Wakui, E., Thoma, V., De Fockert, J.W. (2016). View-sensitive ERP repetition effects indicate automatic holistic processing of spatially unattended objects. Neuropsychologia, 89, 426–436
  • Rodway, P., Schepman, A., & Thoma, V. (2016). Reachability does not explain the middle preference: a comment on Bar-Hillel (2015; Position Effects in Choice From Simultaneous Displays: A Conundrum Solved. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(4): 419-433). i-Perception. 1-5
  • Thoma, V. White, E., Panigrahi, A., Strowger, V., Anderson, I. (2015). Good thinking or gut feeling? Cognitive reflection and intuition in traders, bankers and financial non-experts. PLoS ONE 10(4):e0123202. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123202
  • Guggenmos, M., Thoma V., Haynes J-D., Richardson-Klavehn, A., Cichy, R.M., Sterzer P., (2015). Spatial attention enhances object coding in local and distributed representations of the lateral occipital complex. NeuroImage, 149–157. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.04.004. 
  • Stein, T.*, Thoma, V.*, Sterzer, P. (2015). Priming of object detection under continuous flash suppression depends on attention but not on part-whole configuration. Journal of Vision. 15(3):15, 1-11. (*equal contribution)
  • Guggenmos, M., Thoma V., Cichy, R.M., Haynes J-D., Sterzer P., Richardson-Klavehn, A. (2015). Non-holistic coding of objects in lateral occipital complex with and without attention. NeuroImage, 107, 356-363.
  • Kreplin, U., Thoma, V., Rodway, P. (2014). Looking behaviour and preference for artworks: the role of emotional valence and location. Acta Psychologica, 152, 00-108.
  • Thoma, V. (2014). Face-specific capacity limits under perceptual load do not depend on holistic processing. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. 21(6), 1473-1480.
  • Thoma, V. & Williams, A. (2013). The devil you know: The effect of brand recognition and product ratings on consumer choice. Judgment and Decision Making. Vol. 8, 34 - 44.
  • Thoma, V., & Lavie, N. (2013). Perceptual load effects on processing distractor faces indicate face specific capacity limits. Visual Cognition, 21(8), 1053-1076.
  • Thoma, V., Henson, R.N. (2011). Object representations in ventral and dorsal visual streams: fMRI repetition effects depend on attention and part-whole Configuration. NeuroImage, 57, 513-525. 
  • Thoma, V., White, E.P. (2011). In two minds about usability? Rationality and intuition in usability evaluation. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 6946, pp. 544-547. 
  • Lavie, N., Zokai, N., Zhicheng, L., Thoma, V. (2009). The role of perceptual load in object recognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 35 (5), 1346-1358.
  • Thoma, V., Williams, B. (2009). Developing and validating personas in e-commerce: A heuristic approach. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 5727, pp. 524-527.
  • Thoma, V., Davidoff, J., & Hummel, J.E. (2007). Priming of plane-rotated objects depends on attention and view familiarity. Visual Cognition, 15(2), 179-210.
  • Thoma, V., & Davidoff, J. (2006). Priming of depth-rotated objects depends on attention and part changes. Experimental Psychology, 53(1), 31-47.
  • Schott, B.H., Henson, R., Richardson-Klavehn, A., Becker, C., Thoma, V., Rotte, M., Heinze, H.J., & Düzel, E. (2005). Neuroanatomical dissociation of intention and awareness in implicit and explicit memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102, 1257-1262.
  • Thoma, V., Hummel, J.E., & Davidoff, J. (2004). Evidence for holistic representation of ignored images and analytic representation of attended images. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 30 (2), 257-267.

Peer-reviewed full conference papers

  •  
  • Jones, A., Thoma, V., & Newell, G. (2016). Collaboration constraints for designers and developers in an agile environment. British HCI, Bournemouth, UK. https://doi.org/10.14236/ewic/HCI2016.37
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Review articles

  • Thoma, V. (2010). Review of 'On the origins of cognitive science': The mechanization of mind by Jean-Pierre Dupuys. History & Philosophy of Psychology, Vol. 12(1), 78-81.

Manuscripts

  • Weiss-Cohen, L., Ayton, P., Clacher, I., & Thoma, V. (under review). Professional investors make better mutual fund selections.
  • Weiss-Cohen, L., Ayton, P., Clacher, I., & Thoma, V. (under review). UK's pension trustees project their own (misaligned) preferences when deciding on behalf of beneficiaries.
  • Thoma, V., Khesani, I., Spiller, M. (under review). The link between synesthesia and executive functions in decision-making tasks. Acta Psychologica.
  • Thoma, V., Tamlyn, G., & Rodway, P. (under review). Central preference for consumer items and eye-tracking: Evidence for a central preference heuristic but not gaze cascade effects.
  • Edgcumbe, D., Thoma, V., Fu, C (in preparation). Anodal tDCS to the DLFPC decreases heuristic thinking.
  • Edgcumbe, D., Thoma, V., Mutz, J., Fu, C. (in preparation). The effect of brain stimulation in judgment and decision-making: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Brain Stimulation.
  • Gosling, A., Thoma V., De Fockert, J., Richardson-Klavehn, A. (in preparation). Object recognition and attention: ERP correlates of object priming after view changes.

Book Chapters

  • Thoma, V., & Dodd, J. (2019). Eye-tracking in user experience research. In: U. Ettinger, C. Klein (Eds.). An introduction to the scientific foundations of eye movement research and its applications. Springer, Berlin.
  • Thoma, V. (2013). Cognitive Psychology. In Bayne, & R., Jinks, G. (eds.) Applied Psychology: Current Issues and new directions. (pp. 198 - 212). Sage, London.
  • Thoma, V. & Davidoff, J. (2007). Object Recognition: Attention and Dual Routes. In: N. Osaka, I. Rentschler & I. Biederman (eds.) Object Recognition, Attention & Action. (pp. 141-157). Springer, Tokyo
  • Nissler J., & Thoma V. (1999). Gestaltung von Software-Agenten aus Sicht des Benutzers. In: Arend, U., Eberleh, E. & Pitschke, K. (Eds.), Software Ergonomie '99 - Design von Informationswelten (pp. 215-226). Teubner Verlag, Wiesbaden, Germany.

Reports

  • Ayton , P., Clacher, I., Strong, C., Thoma, V. & Weiss-Cohen, L. (2021). Pension Trustee Decision Making. Report requested by and submitted to Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. https://bit.ly/3b2N7je
  • Sharman, S., Turner, J., Thoma, V, & Roberts, A (2018) Virtual Reality & Gambling. Report requested by and submitted to Department of Culture, Media & Sport's Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures consultation and review process.

Conference Presentations (since 2010)

  •  
  • Thoma, V. (2019, August). Central preference of consumer items and eye-tracking: Evidence for a central preference heuristic but not gaze cascade effects. Paper presented at the Subjective Probability, Utility and Decision Making Conference SPUDM 27, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  • Thoma, V., Edgcumbe, D., Rivolta, D., Nitsche, M.A., Fu, C.H.Y. (2018, November). The effect of transcranial direct current stimulation of the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex on cognitive reflection. Poster presented at the annual conference of the Society for Judgment and Decision-making. New Orleans, USA.
  • Weiss-Cohen, L., Ayton, P., Clacher, I., Thoma, V. (2018, November).  Can we trust the trustees? Behavioral finance biases in pension trustees' decision making. Poster presented at the annual conference of the Society for Judgment and Decision-making. New Orleans, USA.
  • Thoma, V., Patsalos, O., Edmonds, C. (2017, August). Water supplementation increases performance in judgment and decision making tasks. Paper presented at the Subjective Probability, Utility and Decision Making Conference SPUDM 26, Haifa, Israel.
  • Thoma, V., Wakui, E., Gosling, A. (2017, August). EEG correlates of attention and object recognition indicate hybrid represenation of objects. Poster presented at European Conference on Visual Perception, Berlin, Germany.
  • Thoma V. (2016, May). Judging risks in different domains: The ratio bias vs construal level theory revisited. Paper presented at the International Psychonomics Conference, Granada, Spain.
  • Thoma, V. (2015, September). Face-specific capacity limits under perceptual load do not rely on holistic processing. Paper presented at the meeting of the BPS Cognitive Section, University of Kent.
  • Thoma, V. (2015, March). Face-specific capacity limits in face perception. In V. Thoma & A. Jansari (Chairs). Exploring boundaries of face recognition. Symposium conducted at the Conference for Integrative Psychological Science, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  • Thoma, V., Wakui, E. (2014, September). ERP repetition effects indicate processing of unattended objects under load. Paper presented at the meeting of the British Association of Cognitive Neuroscience. September 2014, York, UK
  • Guggenmos, M., Cichy, R., Richardson-Klavehn, A., Haynes, J. D., Sterzer, P., & Thoma, V. (2013). Neural correlates of structural and holistic object representations in dependence of attention. ECVP, Bremen, Germany / PERCEPTION, Vol. 42, p. 62.
  • Thoma, V. (2013, August). Will you still feed me? The ratio bias vs construal level theory revisited in different risk domains. Paper presented at SPUDM 24. August 2013, Barcelona, Spain.
  • Thoma, V., Wakui, E. (2013, May). ERP correlates of perceptual load and view change during the recognition of unattended objects. Paper presented at the meeting of the British Association of Cognitive Neuroscience. Nottingham, UK
  • Kreplin, U., Thoma, V., Rodway, P. (2013, April). The influence of location on preference for artworks. Paper presented at TEAP-The experimental approach to Psychology Conference. Vienna, Austria 
  • Müller, K., Thoma, V., Pawson, C. (2012, October). Live e-learning: An evaluation of online synchronous communication tools in the academic context. Paper presented at the University of East London Learning and Teaching Conference. 2012, London.
  • Thoma, V. (2012). I want that one! The influence of product ratings and location on consumer preference. Paper presented at the UEL Research & Knowledge Exchange Conference. London, UK. 
  • Thoma, V., Williams, A. (2012, April). Not the devil you know: Recognition heuristic in consumer choice. Paper presented at TEAP: The experimental approach to Psychology Conference. Mannheim, Ger. 
  • Thoma, V. (2019, August). Central preference of consumer items and eye-tracking: Evidence for a central preference heuristic but not gaze cascade effects. Paper presented at the Subjective Probability, Utility and Decision Making Conference SPUDM 27, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  • Thoma, V., Edgcumbe, D., Rivolta, D., Nitsche, M.A., Fu, C.H.Y. (2018, November). The effect of transcranial direct current stimulation of the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex on cognitive reflection. Poster presented at the annual conference of the Society for Judgment and Decision-making. New Orleans, USA.
  • Weiss-Cohen, L., Ayton, P., Clacher, I., Thoma, V. (2018, November).  Can we trust the trustees? Behavioral finance biases in pension trustees' decision making. Poster presented at the annual conference of the Society for Judgment and Decision-making. New Orleans, USA.
  • Thoma, V., Patsalos, O., Edmonds, C. (2017, August). Water supplementation increases performance in judgment and decision making tasks. Paper presented at the Subjective Probability, Utility and Decision Making Conference SPUDM 26, Haifa, Israel.
  • Thoma, V., Wakui, E., Gosling, A. (2017, August). EEG correlates of attention and object recognition indicate hybrid represenation of objects. Poster presented at European Conference on Visual Perception, Berlin, Germany.
  • Thoma V. (2016, May). Judging risks in different domains: The ratio bias vs construal level theory revisited. Paper presented at the International Psychonomics Conference, Granada, Spain.
  • Thoma, V. (2015, September). Face-specific capacity limits under perceptual load do not rely on holistic processing. Paper presented at the meeting of the BPS Cognitive Section, University of Kent.
  • Thoma, V. (2015, March). Face-specific capacity limits in face perception. In V. Thoma & A. Jansari (Chairs). Exploring boundaries of face recognition. Symposium conducted at the Conference for Integrative Psychological Science, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  • Thoma, V., Wakui, E. (2014, September). ERP repetition effects indicate processing of unattended objects under load. Paper presented at the meeting of the British Association of Cognitive Neuroscience. September 2014, York, UK
  • Guggenmos, M., Cichy, R., Richardson-Klavehn, A., Haynes, J. D., Sterzer, P., & Thoma, V. (2013). Neural correlates of structural and holistic object representations in dependence of attention. ECVP, Bremen, Germany / PERCEPTION, Vol. 42, p. 62.
  • Thoma, V. (2013, August). Will you still feed me? The ratio bias vs construal level theory revisited in different risk domains. Paper presented at SPUDM 24. August 2013, Barcelona, Spain.
  • Thoma, V., Wakui, E. (2013, May). ERP correlates of perceptual load and view change during the recognition of unattended objects. Paper presented at the meeting of the British Association of Cognitive Neuroscience. Nottingham, UK
  • Kreplin, U., Thoma, V., Rodway, P. (2013, April). The influence of location on preference for artworks. Paper presented at TEAP-The experimental approach to Psychology Conference. Vienna, Austria 
  • Müller, K., Thoma, V., Pawson, C. (2012, October). Live e-learning: An evaluation of online synchronous communication tools in the academic context. Paper presented at the University of East London Learning and Teaching Conference. 2012, London.
  • Thoma, V. (2012). I want that one! The influence of product ratings and location on consumer preference. Paper presented at the UEL Research & Knowledge Exchange Conference. London, UK. 
  • Thoma, V., Williams, A. (2012, April). Not the devil you know: Recognition heuristic in consumer choice. Paper presented at TEAP: The experimental approach to Psychology Conference. Mannheim, Ger. 
  • Lavie, N., Thoma, V. (2012, April). Perceptual Load Effect Indicate Face-Specific Capacity Limits. Poster presented at TEAP: The experimental approach to Psychology Conference. Mannheim, Germany
  • Wakui, E., Thoma, V., (2012, April). ERP repetition effects for visual objects under perceptual load. Poster at the Annual Conference of the British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience. Newcastle, UK.
  • Thoma, V., Begum, S. (2011, September). The role of affective forecasting in 3rd year students. Paper presented at UEL's 6th Learning and Teaching Conference, London, UK.
  • Thoma, V., White, E.P. (2011, August). The role of presentation mode and capacity on the “deliberation without attention” effect. Paper presented at SPUDM 23, Kingston, UK.
  • Thoma, V., Henson, RN. (2010, September). Object Representations in Ventral and Dorsal Visual Streams: fMRI Repetition Effects Depend on Attention and Part-whole Configuration. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the British Association of Cognitive Neuroscience. Bristol, UK.
  • Thoma, V., Rigato, S., and Gosling, A. (2010, September). ERP Correlates of Object Repetition And Perceptual Load. Paper presented at annual conference of the British Association of Cognitive Neuroscience. Bristol, UK.
  •  

Income Generation and Consultancy

  • Moneyfarm: Consultancy on survey design. 10/2019 - 12/2019
  • Amberlight/BBC: Survey of BBC i-player users. 06/2016 - 10/2016
  • Amberlight/BBC: Survey decision barriers in implementing. 12/2014 - 06/2015 Agile development process in a large media corporation
  • Empirience GmbH (BMW). Testing driver support application. 03/2013 - 05/2013 prototypes in dynamic driving simulations.
  • Samsung. Survey study: Social media use in small groups. 05/2012 - 07/2012
  • Centrica/British Gas. Evaluation of utility smart meter prototype. 12/2011 

Interviews and Media

  •  
  • The Conversation

"How the human brain can register information without conscious attention", Sep 2016 bit.ly/2cZE1XS

  • Times Higher Education

"Campus News - UEL" Apr 2015 bit.ly/1BQvMPj

  • WAMC Public Radio

"Recognizing Faces", Jan 2015 bit.ly/VolkerThoma

  • Medical Express

"Spotting a famous face in the crowd" (online article), May 2014. http://bit.ly/1Njf6qj

  • Science Nutshell

"Reflective traders", Nov 2015 http://bit.ly/2m31QAQ

  • Daily Telegraph

"Lost in the crowd: why we can only spot two faces at a time". Daily Telegraph, 5th May 2014, p.2

  • The Guardian

Research in brief. Guardian online, 13 February 2013 bit.ly/1JA3DEL

  • Absatzwirtschaft (German magazine on marketing), Feb. 2013 bit.ly/1OAIz2f
  • Deutsche Welle (International Radio station) Colour coding of social messages. June 2012. http://bit.ly/19nqqUH
  •  

FUNDING

Responsible Gambling Trust

PhD Project: Neuromodulation of cognitive distortions in problem gambling

£ 73,000 

09/16- 08/19

European Hydration Institute

Postgraduate research grant: “Decision-making and Hydration”

€ 5,000 

02/15- 07/2016

Institute of Actuaries*

Investigating Institutional Investors' Decision-Making (with City University of London)

£ 199,995 

10/2017 - 
10/2018

GambleAware (Responsible Gambling Trust)

Neuromodulation, cognitive processing and behavioural inhibition in problem gambling

£ 102,738 

09/2016 - 08/2020

Amberlight Partners Ltd. (London)

Decision-making and expertise in web development teams

£ 4,300 

02/15- 05/2015

UEL Teaching Fellowship (HEFCE)

Grant for teaching-related research and practice

£ 10,000 

03/10 - 03/2012

Eclipse Partners

Research funding: Decision making in traders

£ 20,000 

04/10 - 02/2011

Promising Researcher Award (UEL/HEFCE)

Research grant for a visit to the MRC Cognition& Brain Unit, Cambridge

£ 6,000 

03/06 - 08/2006

Economic and Social Research Council ESRC *

PhD (1+3) Grant: "Electrophysiological correlates of object recognition" (Dr Richardson-Klavehn)

£ 77,000 

09/04 - 08/2008

Central Research Fund University of London

Small Research Grant: The Role of Attention in Object recognition

£ 3,000 

05/01 - 09/2001

TEACHING

BSc (Hons) Psychology

You will develop a good knowledge of the influences on, and factors involved in, human functioning in all the core areas of psychology.

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MSc Psychology

This is a conversion course for students with a first degree in another subject area. It means you could go on and train to be a professional psychologist – for example, by studying for a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

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Prof Doc Clinical Psychology

The Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsych) course provides a comprehensive training programme comprising concurrent academic teaching (on average two days per week) and clinical work placements based mainly in the NHS (on average three days per week). The overarching purpose of the training course is to supply highly competent clinical psychologists for the NHS and related settings.

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MODULES

  • PY 6308 - Psychology of Choice - Judgment and Decision-making (Module leader)
  • PYM 7151 - Cognitive Psychology and Biopsychology (Module leader)
  • PYM 7155 - Professional Psychological Studies (project supervisor)

CONSULTANCY

Volker has experience in business consulting in the area of user experience (UX) and decision-making support. Projects include task analyses and gathering user requirements, organisational decision making, as well as decision strategies in financial traders. Volker has worked with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, user experience (UX) agencies, and the BBC.

EXTERNAL ROLES

  • External Examiner, Birkbeck College, Department of Psychology
  • Honorary Treasurer, British Association of Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Lecturer: European Summer School for Eye-Tracking (ESSEM)

MEDIA EXPERTISE

  • Times Higher Education

"Campus News - UEL" Apr 2015 bit.ly/1BQvMPj

  • WAMC Public Radio

"Recognizing Faces" Jan 2015 bit.ly/VolkerThoma

  • Medical Express

"Spotting a famous face in the crowd" (online article), May 2014. http://bit.ly/1Njf6qj

  • Daily Telegraph

"Lost in the crowd: why we can only spot two faces at a time". Daily Telegraph, 5 May 2014, p.2

  • Absatzwirtschaft

"Absatzwirtschaft" (German magazine on marketing). Feb. 2013. http://bit.ly/1OAIz2f

  • The Guardian

Research in brief. Guardian online, 13 February 2013 http://bit.ly/1JA3DEL

  • Deutsche Welle

(International Radio station) Colour coding of social messages. June 2012. http://bit.ly/19nqqUH