Kenneth Scott-Brown
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Personal profile

Personal profile

I’m best known in Psychology for the idea of ‘Comparison Blindness’.

My work – which is interdisciplinary in nature - tackles the problem of change blindness related to computer interfaces and explores the use of animation techniques to address this.  I have applied these research techniques to the area of CCTV Surveillance.

I’m also the creator and curator of the Abertay Challenge Student Led Design Consultancy Scheme which allows companies, the public sector and the third sector to sponsor a team of students to work on a specific design challenge for interactive screen media, digital games or public engagement.

My interdisciplinary research portfolio and its focus on public engagement in science has been recognised at the national level through my induction into the Scottish Crucible - a research and development programme for Scotland’s research leaders of the future. 

Before joining the University of Abertay, I held Post-Doctoral positions at the University of Nottingham, St Andrews and Glasgow Caledonian University.

I hold a PhD and MA (Hons) from the University of St Andrews.


I have teaching responsibilities for Undergraduate and Masters Level Perception and Cognitive Psychology as well as Research Methods. I also supervise postrgaduate research students, you can see some of their publications in my list below.


Research interests

I am best known in Psychology for the idea of ‘Comparison Blindness’. Harry Orbach introduced me to Change Blindness, and while working in his lab I suggested that the problem of surprising difficulties in perception that became known as change blindness could be accounted for by the notion of a difficulty in the brain making explicit comparisons, rather than due to explanations of sparse coding of objects.

During my time at Abertay, I have sought to develop applications for my findings in Change Blindness. These have been most notably achieved in the domain of Policing, where I have conducted Knowledge Exchange work with Surveillance Operators in the Police, and have a collaboration with the Active Vision Laboratory at Dundee University assessing the oculomotor constraints on effective use of complex, multi-element visual displays.

Knowledge Transfer and Applications

More recently, I have been lucky enough to pursue this Change Blindness strand, along with my previous experience in the perception of motion at St Andrews University at Abertay, through my close collaboration with colleagues as the Institute for Arts Media and Computer Games. In a series of projects we are tackling the problems of change blindness that occur in computer interfaces by using animation techniques to effectively guide user attention in a complex visual array to the desired area. We argue that a combination of pictorial and animation cues is the best method to achieve this, rather than to rely on symbolic cues such as written instructions.

Research Degree Opportunities

I am keen to supervise students in any of these or related areas, and we offer the following research degrees: one-year MSc by Research, two-year MPhil or three-year PhD.  For more information please email   k.scott-brown @  (take out the spaces) or telephone +44(0)1382 308590.

Perception Lab People 

Lucinda McArdle (Mphil)


Santiago Gil Martinez (Phd) 

Neil Kirk (MSc)

Catherine Bain (MBRes)

(Whitespace Funded Studentships)

Sharon Ovenstone (Nee Pearson) (Mphil)

Robin Sloan PhD

Mark Shovman PhD

Previous Visiting Academics:

Michael Edward Edgerton

Leverhulme Composer in Residence (2006/7), University of Abertay Dundee.

Winner of the Kompositionspreis der Landeshauptstadt Stuttgart 2007!!!

Link to residency page and playable sample files:


Current funding from

Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (PcI)

Leverhulme Trust (PcI)

Previous (PI) Projects generously funded by:

Carnegie Corporation of New York (PI)

Interface (PI)

EU FP7 - iAge (co-I)

AHRC - (co-I)

Project for Scotland Crucible Award (PI)

Interdisciplinary Project Fund Award from Scottish Crucible (Scottish Funding Council, Royal Society of Edinburgh, NESTA). (PI)


SIPR Research Project (PI)

NCR Design Visualisation Project (PI)

AHRC (Knowledge Exchange: Improved Community Engagement through Spatial and Visualisation methods (ICE-SAV) a AHRC Connected Communities project led by Sinderby, S. and Wade, R.)

Human Intelligent Virtual Environment PhD Studentships (PI)

European Social Fund (PI)

The British Academy (PI)

The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland (Supervisor & PI)

The Wellcome Trust (Supervisor)


In 2011 I was inducted into the Scottish Crucible, a research leadership programme supported by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Scottish Funding Council.

Knowledge Exchange

I am Academic Enterprise Leader here at Abertay University.

Please get in touch if you want to work with or find out more about the University Research and Knowledge Exchange landscape.

I coordinate the Psychology Employers Forum here at Abertay. We have a range of members from business, private sector and the voluntary sector. If you would like to join, please get in touch via my contacts tab above left.

Examples of previous collaborations with industry and the public sector include Principal Investigator projects with Police Scotland (also in collaboration with Ben Tatler and Matt Stainer at Dundee University) and NCR Financial Solutions Ltd.


Cafe Science:

I am on the organising committee for Cafe Science Dundee: Conversations about Science over coffee. Talks are on the last Monday of every month at Avery and Co Coffee House, in South Tay St., Dundee.

I have appeared on BBC1's the One Show. ( and have appeared in print and audio in the scottish printed media (Scotsman, Courier).

I have also been a judge on 1st Lego League for young people.

Our collaborative dialect research has featured extensively on the BBC, the national media and social media. Kirk, N. W., Kempe, V., Scott-Brown, K. C., Philipp, A. & Declerck, M. (2017)  Can monolinguals be like bilinguals? Evidence from dialect switching Cognition. 170, p. 164-178

See the Article on BBC News; See the viral meme on facebook 1.4+Million Views (See my Publications tab for links)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Vision Science, PhD, The Perception of Motion, University of St Andrews

Award Date: 6 Jul 1996

Psychology, MA (Hons), University of St Andrews

Award Date: 6 Jul 1992


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