Dr Clayton Hickey MA, PhD

Dr Clayton Hickey

School of Psychology
Associate Professor
BSc Neuroscience Programme Lead

Contact details

School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Hickey uses tools from cognitive neuroscience – fMRI, EEG, MEG, TES, eye-tracking, and drug challenge – to study how our prior experience of the world dictates the manner in which we sense and perceive it.


  • MA (Simon Fraser University, Canada)
  • PhD (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands)


Dr Hickey’s graduate training was completed under the supervision of John McDonald and Vince Di Lollo at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, and Jan Theeuwes at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. After receiving a PhD in 2011 he worked as assistant professor at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (2011 – 2013) and the University of Trento, Italy (2013 – 2018), before beginning as senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham in September of 2018.

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Hickey is always interested in talking to potential students and postdoctoral fellows. Please do not hesitate to contact him via email.


Research Interests:

Perception, Attention, Decision making, Reinforcement learning, Incentive salience, Dopamine, Plasticity, Naturalistic vision, Crossmodal integration

Current website: 



Recent publications


Grignolio, D, Acunzo, DJ & Hickey, C 2024, 'Object-based attention is accentuated by object reward association', Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, vol. 50, no. 3, pp. 280-294. https://doi.org/10.1037/xhp0001177

Ferrante, O, Zhigalov, A, Hickey, C & Jensen, O 2023, 'Statistical Learning of Distractor Suppression Downregulates Prestimulus Neural Excitability in Early Visual Cortex', The Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 43, no. 12, pp. 2190-2198. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1703-22.2022

Hickey, C, Acunzo, D & Dell, J 2023, 'Suppressive Control of Incentive Salience in Real-World Human Vision', The Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 43, no. 37, pp. 6415-6429. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0766-23.2023

Acunzo, DJ, Terhune, DB, Sharma, A & Hickey, CM 2022, 'Absorption and dissociation mediate the relationship between direct verbal suggestibility and impulsivity/compulsivity', Acta Psychologica, vol. 231, 103793. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2022.103793

Wu, B, Bagshaw, A, Hickey, C, Kühn, S & Wilson, M 2022, 'Evidence for distinct neuro-metabolic phenotypes in humans', NeuroImage, vol. 249, 118902. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2022.118902

Sharp, P, Gutteling, T, Melcher, D & Hickey, C 2022, 'Spatial attention tunes temporal processing in early visual cortex by speeding and slowing alpha oscillations', The Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 42, no. 41, pp. 7824-7832. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0509-22.2022

Hickey, C & van Zoest, W 2021, 'Foxes, hedgehogs, and attentional capture', Visual Cognition, vol. 29, no. 9, pp. 596-599. https://doi.org/10.1080/13506285.2021.1918812

Van Zoest, W, Huber-Huber, C, Weaver, MD & Hickey, C 2021, 'Strategic distractor suppression improves selective control in human vision', Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 41, no. 33, pp. 7120-7135. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0553-21.2021

Battistoni, E, Kaiser, D, Hickey, C & Peelen, MV 2020, 'The time course of spatial attention during naturalistic visual search', Cortex, vol. 122, pp. 225-234. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2018.11.018

Sharp, P, Melcher, D & Hickey, C 2019, 'Different effects of spatial and temporal attention on the integration and segregation of stimuli in time', Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, vol. 81, no. 2, pp. 433-441. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-018-1623-7

Schneider, D, Göddertz, A, Haase, H, Hickey, C & Wascher, E 2019, 'Hemispheric asymmetries in EEG alpha oscillations indicate active inhibition during attentional orienting within working memory', Behavioural Brain Research, vol. 359, pp. 38-46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2018.10.020

Huber-Huber, C, Buonocore, A, Dimigen, O, Hickey, C & Melcher, D 2019, 'The peripheral preview effect with faces: combined EEG and eye-tracking suggests multiple stages of trans-saccadic predictive and non-predictive processing', NeuroImage, vol. 200, pp. 344-362. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.06.059

Hickey, C, Pollicino, D, Bertazzoli, G & Barbaro, L 2019, 'Ultrafast object detection in naturalistic vision relies on ultrafast distractor suppression', Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, vol. 31, no. 10, pp. 1563-1572. https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_01437

Sharp, P, Melcher, D & Hickey, C 2018, 'Endogenous attention modulates the temporal window of integration', Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, vol. 80, no. 5, pp. 1214-1228. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-018-1506-y

Schneider, D, Bonmassar, C & Hickey, C 2018, 'Motivation and short-term memory in visual search: Attention's accelerator revisited', Cortex, vol. 102, pp. 45-56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2017.06.022

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