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Professor Ute Leonards

Professor Ute Leonards

Professor Ute Leonards
Dipl.Biol., Dr rer nat (Mainz)

Professor of Neuropsychology

Area of research

Visual Perception, Attention and Action

Office 3D2
The Priory Road Complex,
Priory Road, Clifton BS8 1TU
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 928 8571


My work falls into two areas: cognitive neurosciences and humanoid robotics. What unifies my work is its focus on human vision. Why vision? Because what we see guides our movements, shapes our experiences and thoughts, influences how we interact with others, and ultimately defines who we are. Who we are defines what we see and how we see it.

I have a long history of working with neurologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists and roboticists to explore the mechanisms underlying visual perception, action and interaction in the context of a person’s individual characteristics and the environment they live in. 

More recently, and my main research area, I have been collaborating closely with colleagues in biomechanics, computer vision, civil engineering and humanities to understand how patterns in the visual environment impact our movements, health and wellbeing.

Links within Bristol

Collaborations outside Bristol

  • Professor Hiroshi Ashida (Kyoto University, Japan)
  • Professor Todd Handy (University of British Columbia, Canada)
  • Professor Klaus Oberauer (University of Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Dr Alex Shepherd (Birkbeck, UK)
  • Professor Arnold Wilkins (University of Essex, UK)
  • Professor Johannes Zanker (Royal Holloway University of London, UK)
  • Professor Daniele Zavagno (Università di Milano-Bicocca, Italy)


After a degree in biology (Dipl. Biol.) at the University of Mainz, Germany (1985-1991), I worked in research at the Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany (1991-1997). I completed a PhD (Dr.rer.nat.) on the interaction of temporal and textural cues in visual perceptual grouping at the University of Mainz in 1994, followed by two post-doctoral periods at the College-de-France in Paris, France (1997-1998), and at the Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven, Belgium (1998-1999), studying the neuronal basis of visual attention and of oculomotor functions with functional magnetic resonance imaging. Between 1999 and 2003, I held a tenured research position at the Neuroimaging Unit within the Department of Psychiatry, University Hospitals of Geneva, Switzerland. In April 2003, I joined the School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol.


Psychological Science:

  • Postgraduate Research Director
  • Year 3 Neuropsychiatry
  • MSc Applied Neuropsychology Research Projects
  • Final year BSc Research Projects



  • visual perception
  • visual attention
  • vision and action
  • locomotion
  • joint attention and action
  • eye movements
  • neuropsychology
  • ageing
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • schizophrenia
  • traumatic brain injury in children
  • visual psychophysics
  • human - robot interaction
  • functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • EEG


My main research interests lie in the Cognitive Neurosciences, in particular the investigation of the neural mechanisms underpinning visual perception and attention, and their dependence on context. The definition of context ranges from visual environment over action, memory (and other executive functions) to personality traits and social interaction. My work covers the investigation of perceptual and attentional changes over the entire life span in healthy volunteers and various groups of neurological and psychiatric patients.

  • visual perception and action
  • visual attention
  • joint attention and action
  • ageing and dementia
  • eye movements
  • human-robot interaction
  • neuropsychology
  • Recent publications

    View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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