Lab Director

SteveMostSteve Most

Senior Lecturer in Psychology
Ph.D., Harvard University, 2002

Steve’s research is grounded in cognitive psychology, with strong links to social psychology, clinical psychology, and neuroscience. He specialises in relationships between motivation, emotion, and attentional control. Topics include mechanisms of emotion-driven attentional bias, how attention and emotion shape our awareness of the world, impacts of physical and emotional stress on cognition, and emotion regulation. He also specialises in understanding the implications of these processes for real-world safety, including on the roadways.

Steve is also passionate about fostering understanding of psychology outside the university. Please feel free to contact him if you would like to arrange an educational workshop or presentation to your school or organisation.

If you are a student interested in working in our lab, please contact Steve about possible openings. Students and research staff from our lab have gone on to graduate school, postdoctoral positions, internships, and research positions at many high-profile institutions.

Postdoctoral Researcher

poppywatsonPoppy Watson

Ph.D., University of Amsterdam, 2016

Originally from New Zealand, Poppy completed her Masters and PhD at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, under the supervision of Dr Sanne de Wit, Prof. Reinout Wiers, and Prof. Bernhard Hommel. There, she investigated reward-seeking behaviours and how these could be triggered by stimuli in the environment. At UNSW, Poppy’s work brings together our lab and Mike Le Pelley’s lab in order to investigate the capture of attention by reward-related stimuli, as well as possible strategies that might minimize such distraction. In her spare time, Poppy loves traveling, cooking, and swimming.

Curriculum Vita
Email: Poppy Watson

 PhD Students

VeraNewmanVera Newman

B. Sci (Hons.) / B. Arts, UNSW, 2014

Vera is currently investigating the relationship between stress, executive functions and emotion regulation, and the ways in which individual differences influence these relationships. In her time away from the lab, she enjoys playing field hockey, running, learning about German history, photography and travelling.

Email: Vera Newman

SandyOnieSandy Onie

B. PsychSci (Hons.), UNSW, 2015

Sandersan (Sandy) Onie is interested in the clinical applications of the interaction between emotion, attention and perception, especially in the area of modifying attentional biases. He enjoys listening to classical music, experimenting in the kitchen, and a nice quiet evening at home.

Email: Sandy Onie

Personal website:

JennaZhaoJenna Zhao

B. Psychol (Hons.), UNSW, 2014

Jenna is interested in ways that emotion-induced impairments to perception may be attenuated. She is also broadly interested in interactions between emotion, attention and visual perception and how these may be applied socially and clinically. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and reviewing books, watching TV and trivia game shows, and immersing herself in Japanese culture.

Email: Jenna Zhao

Honours Students


Clara De Torres

Clara is currently a research assistant in the lab interested in investigating the effects of hormones on emotional distraction. In her spare time, she likes to play her saxophone, finish word search booklets, and discover new places.

Veronica Smith_DSC5282 finalVeronica Smith

Veronica is a personal trainer in the morning, a psychology student by day, and a group exercise instructor by night. She is interested in exploring the link between exercise and cognition, and has the overall goal to contribute to Australian research addressing the current global obesity epidemic. In her spare time she runs, trains and reads.

Wing_PortraitWing See Yuen

Wing is interested in how emotionally salient distractors  capture attention and linger in memory. Outside of work and university, she enjoys spending time with friends, playing board games, and giving cuddles to dogs.

Undergraduate Researchers

DavidSuttonDavid Sutton

Recently, David has been using eye-tracking equipment to investigate spatially localised patterns of emotion-induced blindness. He enjoys cycling to uni but dislikes falling off his bike, which he does embarrassingly often.

DebMisraDebdutta Misra

Recently, Deb has been using eye-tracking equipment to investigate gaze-contingent cuing and how high and low reward values affect the extent to which people learn about these contingencies. Deb enjoys playing the drums, travelling and watching the cricket.

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Shelley Weiner

Shelley is currently participating in the Psychology Research Internship course. Shelley enjoys spending time with friends, reading fiction novels, and solving Killer Sudoku puzzles.

Visiting & Affiliated Students


Puck Imants

Puck is currently visiting from the VU University Amsterdam, where she is pursuing her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Jan Theeuwes. Her research investigates the impact of various information resources on road users’ route choice behavior.


Amy Walsh

Amy is currently visiting from Victoria University in Wellington, NZ, where she is pursuing her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Gina Grimshaw. Her research investigates how people can impose cognitive control over emotional distraction.