Dr Lisa Jefferies

Lecturer Psychology

About me

I am a Lecturer in the School of Psychology and Exercise Science at Murdoch University, Perth, Australia and director of the Visual Cognition and Attention Laboratory. My research interests lie at the intersection of visual perception, attention, and memory.

Before joining the School of Psychology and Exercise Science at Murdoch University in January 2013, I spent two years as a post-doctoral fellow at The Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA), working with Dr. Steve Yantis.  Prior to that, I completed an M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) working with Dr. Jim Enns and Dr. Vince Di Lollo.

Please visit the Visual Cognition & Attention Lab webpage for more information about current research projects, the lab, and current lab members.

Teaching area

In semester 2 of 2014, I teach PSY353 (Cognitive Processes).  This course provides an opportunity to sample the most interesting and exciting recent findings in all areas of human cognition including memory, attention, perception, decision making, language comprehension, and cognitive neuroscience.  The lectures are complemented by labs designed specifically to allow you to experience research in cognitive psychology first-hand.  For more information, follow this link: PSY353 (Cognitive Processes)

Research areas

In the Murdoch University Visual Cognition and Attention Laboratory, we use behavioural and psychophysical techniques to investigate various aspects of perception, attention, and visual cognition.  We are interested in questions such as:  What determines how attention is deployed across space and time, and how do changes to focal attention alter how we process information?  How do attention and visual memory interact?  How do the dynamics of attention differ among individuals, across the lifespan, and in special populations?  And how do emotions and emotional processing impact attention?

Please visit our web site for more information about the members of the Visual Cognition & Attention Lab and for a description of current research projects.


Current projects

For descriptions of current projects, please follow the link:  VCA Lab Current Projects

Events and speaking engagements

  • October 17, 2013, MPS Research Conference, Murdoch University

Harnessing attention to improve visual memory

  • September 24, 2013, University of Western Australia

To be (broad) or not to be (broad): The dynamics of attentional focusing

Focused visual attention is a mechanism by which relevant visual information is selectively prioritised for further processing. Given this vital role, focused attention is essential for the efficient visual perception of a world that is not only richly varied, but also continually changing.  Great strides have been made in understanding the shifting of focused attention from one object or location to another, but relatively little is known about an independent and equally critical component of attentional control – attentional focusing.  The term attentional focusing refers to the fact that the focus of attention flexibly expands and contracts in spatial extent to encompass larger or smaller objects or regions of space.  Despite the relative lack of research on focusing, it profoundly affects many aspects of visual perception and has substantial ramifications for cognition.  In this seminar, I will present data on three inter-related aspects of attentional focusing: the spatiotemporal dynamics of focusing, object representations and their role in focusing, and the consequences of focusing on visual processing.

  • May 03 2013, Psychology Seminar, Murdoch University

Attention and Low-level Vision, or Does visual processing change when you go hiking in the mountains?

Our visual world is both richly complex and highly dynamic – without focused attention to guide and limit visual processing, we would be rapidly overwhelmed by a dizzying influx of information.  Visual attention, then, can be thought of as a window through which we perceive and interact with our world.  Attention is known to alter many aspects of visual perception.  Attended objects seem larger, brighter, and clearer than unattended objects, and their representations in memory are both richer and more durable.  It is unknown, however, whether attention also affects the very earliest stages of visual processing.  In this seminar we will consider a series of experiments exploring whether attention affects low-level vision – and find out how visual processing might change when you go hiking in the mountains.



  • Jefferies, L., Di Lollo, V., (2015), When can spatial attention be deployed in the form of an annulus?, Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 77, 2, pages -.
  • Jefferies, L., Roggeveen, A., Enns, J., Bennett, P., Sekuler, A., Di Lollo, V., (2015), On the time course of attentional focusing in older adults, Psychological Research: an international journal of perception, attention, memory and action, 79, 1, pages 28 - 41.
  • Jefferies, L., Gmeindl, L., Yantis, S., (2014), Attending to illusory differences in object size, Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 76, 5, pages 1393 - 1402.
  • Jefferies, L., Enns, J., Di Lollo, V., (2014), The Flexible Focus: Whether spatial attention is unitary or divided depends on observer goals, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 40, 2, pages 465 - 470.

Please visit the VCA lab web page for a current list of publications.

Selected publications:

Jefferies, L.N., & Di Lollo, V.  (in press).  When can attention be deployed in the form of an annulus?  Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics.

Jefferies, L.N., Gmeindl, L., & Yantis, S. (2014). Attentional focusing is triggered by illusory differences in the size of physically identical objects, Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, 76(5), 1393-1402.

Jefferies, L.N., Enns, J.T., & Di Lollo, V. (2013). The Flexible Focus: Whether spatial attention is unitary or divided depends on observer goals. Journal of Experimental Psychology Human Perception and Performance, 40(2), 465-470.

Jefferies, L.N., Roggeveen, A.B., Enns, J.T., Bennett, P.J. Sekuler, A.B., & Di Lollo, V. (2013). On the time course of attentional focusing in older adults. Psychological Research, 1-14.