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Kim Shapiro – Visual Experience Laboratory


Kim Shapiro received his BSc from the University of North Carolina (USA) in 1973, his MSc from Western Washing State University (USA; 1975) and his PhD from Dalhousie University (Canada; 1980). During his PhD he investigated biological constraints on learning using animal models but then transitioned into the study of human cognitive psychology during his postdoctoral years at the Pennsylvania State University (USA). During this time he investigated how arousal directs attention between the visual and auditory modalities.

                  In 1985 he accepted an Assistant Professor post at the University of Calgary (Canada) where he continued investigating how attention is distributed across visual space and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 1989. In 1992 he began to study how attention is distributed across time, rather than space, developing the attentional blink (AB) paradigm in 1992 with his co-authors Raymond and Arnell. Their seminal report, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance has become a citation ‘classic’ and is currently the most cited paper in the same journal, having achieved over 2500 citations. In the same year Shapiro took a sabbatical jointly at the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council Applied Psychology Unit and published a landmark report in Nature co-authored with John Duncan, putting forward the ‘dwell-time’ theory of the attentional blink. Shapiro then moved to the University of Wales (Bangor, UK) in 1995 where he was appointed as a Reader and soon after acquired Professorship and a Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience. During this period of time he acquired skills in neuroimaging and electrophysiology and published two further influential papers on the attentional blink in Nature, one with Steve Luck who has become a world-leader in the use of ERPs to study the attentional blink.

                  Shapiro continued to research the attentional blink phenomenon using functional imaging, and magnetoencephalography in various collaborations with Joachim Gross and other colleagues, leading to an important paper published in 2004 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, laying the groundwork for an oscillatory account of the AB. In the ensuing years since the mid-1990’s has published over 40 articles on this same topic, collaborating with Pieter Roelfsema on a Human Frontiers of Science Programme grant and subsequently with Simon Hanslmayr on a chapter in Brain Research Reviews laying out an alpha-based oscillatory account of the AB. More recently, he has extended his interests to visual short-term memory and its relationship to attention. In 2012 Shapiro moved to the University of Birmingham, where he is currently the Chair of Cognitive Neuroscience and Head of the School of Psychology. Shapiro citations now number over 11,000 with an h-index of 39.



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Mazaheri, A., Segaert, K., Olichney, J., Yang, J.-C., Niu, Y.-Q., Shapiro, K., & Bowman, H. (2018). EEG oscillations during word processing predict MCI conversion to Alzheimer's disease. NeuroImage: Clinical, 17, 188–197.

Clouter, A., Shapiro, K.L., Hanslmayr, S. (2017). Theta Phase Synchronization Is the Glue that Binds Human Associative Memory. Current Biology, 27, 1–6.

Shapiro, K. L., Hanslmayr, S., Enns, J. T., & Lleras, A. (2017). Alpha, beta: The rhythm of the attentional blink. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 24(6), 1862-1869.

Kerlin, J. R. & Shapiro, K. L. (2015). Multisensory integration: How sound alters sight. Current Biology, 25, R76-R77.

Zauner, A., Fellinger, R., Gross, J., Hanslmayr, S., Shapiro, K., Gruber, W., Müller, S., & Klimesch, W. (2012). Alpha entrainment is responsible for the attentional blink phenomenon. NeuroImage, 63, 674-686.

Ihssen, N., Linden, D. E. J., Miller, C. E., & Shapiro, K. L. Neural Mechanisms Underlying Visual Short-Term Memory Gain for Temporally Distinct Objects. Cerebral Cortex, e-print published in advance, Feb. 18, 2014 doi:10.1093/cercor/bhu021

Pinto, Y., Sligte, I., Shapiro, K., Lamme, V. (2013). Fragile visual short-term memory is an object-based and location-specific storage. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 20, 732-739.

Morgan, H. M., Jackson, M. C., van Koningsbruggen, M., Shapiro, K. L., & Linden, D E. J. (2013). Frontal and parietal theta burst TMS impairs working memory for visual-spatial conjunctions. Brain Stimulation, 6, 122-129.

Jackson, M. C., Morgan, H. M., Shapiro, K. L., Mohr, H. M., Linden, DEJ (2011). Strategic resource allocation in the human brain supports cognitive coordination of visual and spatial working memory. Human Brain Mapping, 32, 1330-1348.

Johnston, S., Linden, D. E. J., & Shapiro, K. L. (2011). Functional imaging reveals working memory and attention interact to produce the attentional blink. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 24, 28-38.

Hanslmayr, S., Gross, J., Klimesch, W., Shapiro, K.L. (2011) The role of alpha oscillations in temporal attention. Brain Research Reviews, 67, 331-343.

 Martin, E. W., Enns, J. T., & Shapiro, K. L. (2011). Turning the Attentional Blink On and Off: Opposing Effects of Spatial and Temporal Discontinuity. Psychonomic, Bulletin, & Review, 18, 295-301.

Gross, J., Schmitz, F., Schnitzler, I., Kessler, K., Shapiro, K., Hommel, B., & Schnitzler, A. (2004). Modulation of long-range neural synchrony reflects temporal limitations of visual attention in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 101, 13050-13055.

Husain, M., Shapiro, K. L., Martin, J., and Kennard, C. (1997).  Temporal dynamics of visual attention reveal a non-spatial abnormality in spatial neglect.  Nature, 385, 154-156.

Luck, S. J., Vogel, E. K., and Shapiro, K. L.  (1996). Word meanings can be accessed but not reported during the attentional blink.  Nature, 382, 616-618.

Duncan, J., Ward, R., and Shapiro, K. L.  (1994).  Direct measurement of attentional dwell time in human vision.  Nature, 369, 313-315.

Raymond, J. E., Shapiro, K. L., and Arnell, K. M.  (1992).  Temporary suppression of visual processing in an RSVP task:  An attentional blink?  Journal of Experimental Psychology:  Human Perception and Performance, 18, 849-860.


Prof. Kim Shapiro,

Chair Cognitive Neuroscience and Head of School
School of Psychology  
University of Birmingham

k.l.shapiro AT