home page for Kielan Yarrow

Dr Kielan Yarrow

Kielan as a toddler, looking trouserless
Kielan as a small boy, looking toothy
Kielan as a post-doc, looking happy
Kielan sketched at a conference, looking worried Kielan on his stag do, looking stupid Kielan with a beard, looking beardy

This is a web page I created many years ago after taking an "introduction to html" course. As you can see, design has never been my strong point. These days, I work as a Reader at the Department of Psychology, City University. If the look of this web page upsets you, there's a more modern and tasteful one over there (but it doesn't have such funky pictures).

My office is in the Rhind building room DG23. You can contact me by phone on 020 70408530 (internal x 8530) or (preferably) email kielan.yarrow.1 "at" city.ac.uk

  1. Teaching & supervision
  2. Research interests
  3. Research methods
  4. Publications

Undergraduate & postgraduate teaching (2017/18):

My office hours are currently Tuesdays 5-6 and Fridays 12-1. I will be supervising third-year BSc projects and also MSc Clinical, Social & Cognitive Neuroscience projects (slots by arrangement; I am flexible about days/times), and will be involved in arranging supervision for MSc Research Methods with Psychology projects. I will be teaching on the following courses:

Postgraduate supervision:

I currently supervise two PhD students as primary supervisor (Paula Rowe and Marta Narkiewicz) and help out as co-superviser or second-supervisor for several others. Some of them are looking at various aspects of temporal perception (in Marta's case focussing on whether we have a single internal clock like a stopwatch). Previously I supervised Carmen Kohl, Aviad Hadar and Stergios Makris (who successfully defended their theses in 2017, 2012 and 2012 respectively). Aviad was interested in motor activation in situations of response conflict, particularly deception, and is now training for a medical degree in Israel, but keeping his experimental hand in as a post-doc (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev) and an honorary researcher at City. Some of his work prompted the grant application that funded Carmen's studentship, looking at models of speeded choice with TMS and EEG measures. She now works with me as a post-doc. Stergios was looking at the Gibsonian notion of "affordances" (the automatic activation of motor plans during object perception). This topic is now being followed up by Paula, who wants to apply it in a rehab setting. Stergios worked as a post-doc at the Universita degli Studi di Udine after his PhD, and then accepted a lectureship in the psychology department at Edge Hill University.

I welcome informal enquiries from potential PhD students. For funding, City's schemes can be found here.

Research interests:

multisensory time

Consider an exploding truck (well, why not?) Different sensory features (e.g. the truck’s colour, the motion of its various bits, and the sound of the explosion) are analysed in separate areas of the brain, which become activated at slightly different times. This seems at odds with our experience of a unitary sequence of events in time. To support temporal perception, the brain must compute both how long the truck was stalled (an interval) and when it exploded (an instant). Instants and intervals form a seamless and coherent perception of ongoing time, but the neural and computational basis of these perceptual experiences is not yet clear. I have studied how information from different modalities is combined when we decide about the timing of events (like exactly when the truck exploded) or the duration of a stimulus, and have also investigated various aspects of our multisensory temporal experience, including the way temporal perception can adapt to recent sensory and motor experiences. Much of this work has been, or is being, carried out in collaboration with Derek Arnold (University of Queensland, Brisbane); I was a partner investigator on his ARC discovery grant on distorted time perception, and am a partner once more on his current ARC grant about why time seems to drag or fly. I have also collaborated with Warrick Roseboom (University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton), Catherine Jones (Institute of Education, London) and Giacomo Koch (Fondazione Santa Lucia IRCCS, Rome) on investigations of interval and relative timing.

multisensory time

Imagine yourself driving your car one evening. As you turn a bend, a cat appears in your headlights. Should you brake hard, or perhaps swerve left or right? Successful speeded decision making of this kind has been fundamental to our survival as a species, and continues to pervade everyday life, but how do we really make these choices? Within psychology, the computational principle of continuous evidence accumulation has become the dominant account underlying models of speeded decision making. The key idea is that an internal decision variable builds up at a rate reflecting the strength of evidence for each alternative, triggering action when a threshold value is reached. Building on previous work from my lab (see below) and in collaboration with Tina Forster (at City) and Sven Bestmann (at UCL) I was PI on a Leverhulme-funded project aiming to test different models of rapid choice using both behavioural and neurometric (TMS and EEG) measures. The models we considered share the assumption of sensory evidence accumulation over time, but differ in many important details, such as the existence of one versus several decision accumulators, the stochastic versus deterministic nature of information accrual, and the presence of leakage and/or mutual inhibition in the decision process. The hard work was done by our post-doc Laure Spieser and our PhD student, then post doc, Carmen Kohl.

sports expert's decision making

How is it that experts are able to quickly and accurately discriminate sporting scenarios as they unfold? To answer this question, researchers have presented first-person video of specific scenarios (e.g. cricket bowling, from the batsman’s perspective) and asked athletes to categorise the outcome (e.g. in-swinging versus out-swinging deliveries). The video is either truncated at various points in time (temporal occlusion), e.g. before the cricket ball is released, or modified to remove specific pieces of visual information (spatial occlusion), such as the movement of the bowler’s arm. Experts, unlike novices, are able to respond at above-chance levels based on specific early visual cues. In collaboration with Josh Solomon (another researcher here at City) I was awarded BBSRC funds to assess this expertise by introducing classification-image approaches. In the variant we used, the video is greyed out, but permits observers to see some regions through translucent windows (“Bubbles”) at multiple random locations in space and time. The logic is that good performance will only be possible on trials where a bubble happens, by chance, to reveal a region that carries important information (e.g. the bowling hand prior to ball release). Hence the signal components that are guiding discrimination (e.g. informing the choice of a cricket stroke) can be discerned. This work was taken forward by our post-doc, Sepehr Jalali (now a post-doc over at UCL) helped out by our post-grad RA, Sian Martin. We have recently submitted a methods focussed paper describing our fun with bubbles - our code is here..

Sensorimotor decision making

Where and how do sensorimotor decisions get made? Cognitive psychology started out by viewing the mind like a programme running on a digital computer, with mental operations (like perceiving, deciding, and acting) happening one after another in series. However, the brain is a parallel processor, not a serial device. This raises questions about the potential for parallel motor planning, and the role of multiple brain regions in representing sensorimotor decisions as they evolve over time. My group have been looking at the way perceptual and decision processes seem to leak into the motor system, such that plans for action exist even when we have no conscious intention to act. In our experiments, we often assess motor plans by stimulating the motor cortex to evoke specific muscular responses that are tied to action preparation. These responses index plans for action, and can even reveal response tendencies we would like to keep hidden, such as when we veto an automatic response in order to lie. This work was previously taken forward by my PhD students Stergios Makris and Aviad Hadar, and followed up by Paula Rowe.

stopped clock

The chronostasis illusion was the major focus of my PhD and post-doctoral research. The term chronostasis describes an overestimation of the duration of a stimulus perceived following a movement. For example, in saccadic chronostasis, an object fixated following a saccade (a very rapid eye movement) is typically judged to have been seen for longer than is actually the case. This effect is most commonly experienced as the stopped clock illusion (the momentary impression that a clock has stopped when we first glance at it). The illusion is an interesting example of the way in which the brain constructs a coherent conscious visual experience when the temporal sequencing of events is made ambiguous by movement. Much of this work has been completed in collaboration with John Rothwell (ION, UCL) and Patrick Haggard (ICN, UCL).

the basal ganglia

The basal ganglia are a group of subcortical nuclei that are involved in the generation of movements. Parkinson's disease is thought to result from a dysfunction of the basal ganglia. When Parkinsonian patients undergo surgery for the relief of their symptoms via deep brain stimulation, a window of opportunity exists to record from the targeted subcortical structures. I have collaborated with both Peter Brown at the Institute of Neurology and Andrea Kühn at the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, helping to design and programme tasks used with these patients to investigate the functions of the basal ganglia.

a force platform

My earliest research projects investigated the human movement and balance systems. In one study I investigated a rare neurological condition called primary orthostatic tremor. Patients with this condition are unable to stand still for more than a few moments before beginning to shake with a distinctive high frequency tremor. We used a force platform to offer a new way to diagnose sufferers. This work was carried out with Adolfo Bronstein, now at Imperial College.

The mind

I also have broader interests in a number of areas of cognitive science (and indeed science more generally, now that my wonderful wife has drawn me into her strange Public Health world). For example, I have been involved with projects looking at how packaging on cigarette boxes directs eye movements, whether tactile events can yield auditory experiences, how the coordination of the fingers during complex tasks is made tractable, and what role the pre-frontal and parietal cortices play in generating shifts of visual attention and preparing motor acts.

Research methods:

Cognitive Neuroscience

I have conducted studies with both healthy participants and neurological patients, and been an author on publications using a variety of neuroscientific methods, including behavioural and psychophysical techniques, occulography, electromyography (EMG), electroencephalography (EEG), intracranial recordings of local field potentials (LFPs), mathematical modelling, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). At City, I am a member of the cognitive neuroscience research unit, and am responsible for the TMS lab.


My (reasonably) current Google Scholar H-Index is 24 (look here for details). My publications and papers in press (excluding letters to the editor, book reviews etc.) are shown below. Note that if there's no link to a free version of the paper here, you might find one at City's online repository

  1. Yarrow, K. Collecting and Interpreting Judgments about Perceived Simultaneity: A Model-Fitting Tutorial. In A. Vatakis, F. Balci, M. Di Luca, Á. Correa (Eds.) Timing and Time Perception: Procedures, Measures, and Applications.. Leiden: Brill (2018).
    • The models discussed in this chapter can be fitted in Matlab by using the .m files found here.

  2. Yarrow, K. Assessing Risk Factors for Athletic Excellence. Progress in Brain Research, 232:141-144 (2017).

  3. Ball, D.M., Arnold, D.H. & Yarrow, K. Weighted integration suggests that visual and tactile signals provide independent estimates about duration. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 43, 868-880 (2017).

  4. Rowe, P., Haenschel, C., Kosilo, M. & Yarrow, K. Objects rapidly prime the motor system when located near the dominant hand. Brain & Cognition, 113, 102-108 (2017).

  5. Hadar, A.A., Rowe, P., Di Costa, S., Jones, A., & Yarrow, K. Motor-evoked potentials reveal a motor-cortical readout of evidence accumulation for sensorimotor decisions. Psychophysiology, 53, 1721-1731 (2016).

  6. Yarrow, K., Martin, S.E., Di Costa, S., Solomon, J.A., & Arnold, D.H. A roving dual-presentation simultaneity-judgment task to estimate the point of subjective simultaneity. Frontiers in Psychology, 7:416. (2016)
    • The model described in this paper can be fitted in Matlab by using the .m files found here.

  7. Merchant, H., & Yarrow, K. How the motor system both encodes and influences our sense of time. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 8, 22-27 (2016).

  8. Yarrow, K. & Arnold, D.H. The timing of experiences: How far can we get with simple brain-time models? In B. Mölder, V. Arstila and P. Øhrstrøm (Eds.) Philosophy and Psychology of Time. Dordrecht: Springer (2016).

  9. Keane, B., Spence, M., Yarrow, K., & Arnold, D.H. Perceptual confidence demonstrates trial-by-trial insight into the precision of audio-visual timing encoding. Consciousness & Cognition, 38, 107-117 (2015).

  10. Yarrow, K., Minaei, S., & Arnold, D.H. A model-based comparison of three theories of audiovisual temporal recalibration. Cognitive Psychology, 83, 54-76 (2015).

  11. Arnold, D.H., Petrie, K., Gallagher, R. & Yarrow, K. An object-centered aftereffect of a latent material property: A squishiness visual aftereffect, not causality adaptation. Journal of Vision, 15(9):4 (2015)

  12. Shankleman, M., Sykes, C., Mandeville, K.L., Di Costa, S. & Yarrow, K. Standardised (plain) cigarette packaging increases attention to both text-based and graphical health warnings: Experimental evidence. Public Health, 129, 37-42 (2015).

  13. Narkiewicz, M., Lambrechts, A., Eichelbaum, F. & Yarrow, K. Humans don’t time sub-second intervals like a stopwatch. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 41, 249-263 (2015).

  14. Tretyak, V. & Yarrow, K. Motor plans persist to influence subsequent actions with four or more response alternatives. Acta Psychologica, 149, 9-17 (2014).

  15. Yarrow, K. & Obhi, S.S. Temporal perception in the context of action. In V. Arstila and D. Lloyd (Eds.) Subjective Time: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Temporality. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press (2014).

  16. Mandeville K.L., O’Neill S., Brighouse A., Walker A., Yarrow K., Chan K. Academics and competing interests in H1N1 influenza media reporting. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 68, 197-203 (2014).
    • There's been some press interest in this work, leading to the involvment of lead author Kate Mandeville in this Radio 4 programme (MP3 format; from BBC, August 2014).

  17. Makris, S., Hadar, A.A. & Yarrow, K. Are object affordances fully automatic? A case of covert attention. Behavioral Neuroscience, 127, 797-802 (2013).

  18. Makris, S., Grant, S., Hadar, A.A. & Yarrow, K. Binocular vision enhances a rapidly evolving affordance priming effect: behavioural and TMS evidence. Brain and Cognition, 83, 279-287 (2013).

  19. Yarrow, K., Sverdrup-Stueland, I., Roseboom, W. & Arnold, D.H. Sensorimotor temporal recalibration within and across limbs. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 39, 1678-1689 (2013).
    • A landmark paper, as it meant I had one proper publication for each of my years on the planet. Hurray! New goal: Get over the whole quantity rat race thing...

  20. Herrojo Ruiz, M, Huebl, J., Schönecker, T., Kupsch, A, Yarrow, K., Krauss, J.K., Schneider, G., & Kühn, A.A. Involvement of human internal globus pallidus in early modulation of cortical error-related activity. Cerebral Cortex, doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht002 (2013).

  21. Arnold, D.H., Nancarrow, K. & Yarrow, K. The critical events for motor-sensory temporal recalibration. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6, 235:1-6 (2012).

  22. Hadar, A.A., Makris, S., & Yarrow, K. The truth-telling motor cortex: Response competition in M1 discloses deceptive behaviour. Biological Psychology, 89, 495-502 (2012).

  23. Brücke, C., Huebl, J., Schönecker, T., Neumann, W., Yarrow, K., Kupsch, A., Blahak, C., Lütjens, G., Brown, P., Krauss, J.K., Schneider, G., & Kühn, A.A. Scaling of movement is related to pallidal gamma oscillations in patients with dystonia. Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 1008-19 (2012).

  24. Yarrow, K., Jahn, N., Durant, S., & Arnold, D.H. Shifts of criteria or neural timing? The assumptions underlying timing perception studies. Consciousness & Cognition, 20, 1518-31 (2011).
    • The model described in this paper can be fitted to simultaneity (and/or ternary) judgements in Matlab by using the .m files found here.

  25. Makris, S., Hadar, A., & Yarrow, K. Viewing objects and planning actions: On the potentiation of grasping behaviours by visual objects. Brain & Cognition, 77, 257-264 (2011).

  26. Yarrow, K., Roseboom, W. & Arnold, D.H. Spatial grouping resolves ambiguity to drive temporal recalibration. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 37, 1657-61 (2011).

  27. Huebl, J., Schoenecker, T., Siegert, S., Brücke, C., Schneider, G., Kupsch, A., Yarrow, K. & Kühn, A.A. Modulation of subthalamic alpha activity to emotional stimuli correlates with depressive symptoms in PD. Movement Disorders, 26, 477-83 (2011).

  28. Arnold, D.H. & Yarrow, K. Temporal recalibration of vision. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 278, 535-538 (2011).

  29. Yarrow, K. Continuity of subjective temporal experience across eye movements: Temporal antedating following small, large and sequential saccades. In N. Srinivasan, B. R. Kar and J. Pandey (Eds.) Advances in Cognitive Science: Volume 2. New Delhi: Sage (2010).

  30. Yarrow, K. Temporal dilation: The chronostasis illusion and spatial attention. In A. C. Nobre and J Coull (Eds.) Attention and Time. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2010).

  31. Yarrow, K., Haggard, P. & Rothwell, J.C. Saccadic chronostasis and the continuity of subjective temporal experience across eye movements. In R. Nijhawan & B. Khurana (Eds.) Space and time in Perception and action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2010).

  32. Ley, I., Haggard, P. & Yarrow, K. Optimal integration of auditory and vibrotactile information for judgments of temporal order. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 35, 1005-1019 (2009).

  33. Yarrow, K., Brown, P. & Krakauer, J.W. Inside the brain of an elite athlete: the neural processes that support high achievement in sports Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 10, 585-596 (2009).
    • There's been some press interest in this work, for example this radio discussion (MP3 format; from KPCC radio, November 2010).
    • This review has been featured as part of a nature podcast (MP3 format; from July 2009, with my bit starting at 06:41).

  34. Sauleau, P., Eusebio, A., Thevathasan, W., Yarrow, K., Pogosyan, A., Zrinzo, L., Ashkan, K., Aziz, T., Vandenberghe, W., Nuttin, B., & Brown, P. Involvement of the Subthalamic Nucleus in engagement with behaviourally relevant stimuli. European Journal of Neuroscience, 29, 931-42 (2009).

  35. Yarrow, K., Haggard, P. & Rothwell, J.C. Vibrotactile-auditory interactions are post-perceptual. Perception, 37, 1114-1130 (2008).

  36. Brücke, C., Kempf, F., Kupsch, A., Schneider. G., Krauss, J.K., Aziz, T., Yarrow, K., Pogosyan, A., Brown, P., & Kühn, A.A. Movement-related synchronisation of gamma activity is lateralized in patients with dystonia. European Journal of Neuroscience, 27, 2322-9 (2008).

  37. Brücke, C., Kupsch, A., Schneider, G.H., Hariz, M.I., Nuttin, B., Kopp, U., Kempf, F., Trottenberg, T., Doyle, L., Chen, C.C., Yarrow, K., Brown, P., & Kühn, A.A. The subthalamic region is activated during valence-related emotional processing in patients with Parkinson's disease. European Journal of Neuroscience, 26, 767-74 (2007).

  38. Androulidakis, A.G., Doyle, L.M., Yarrow, K., Litvak, V., Gilbertson, TP, & Brown P. Anticipatory changes in beta synchrony in the human corticospinal system and associated improvements in task performance. European Journal of Neuroscience, 25, 3758-65 (2007).

  39. Rounis, E., Yarrow, K. & Rothwell, J.C. Effects of rTMS conditioning over the fronto-parietal network on motor versus visual attention. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19, 513-524 (2007).

  40. Brown, P., Chen, C.C., Wang, S., Kühn, A.,Doyle, L., Yarrow, K., Nuttin, B., Stein, J. & Aziz, T. Involvement of Human Basal Ganglia in Off-Line Feed-Back Control of Voluntary Movement. Current Biology, 16, 2129-34 (2006).

  41. Yarrow, K., Whiteley, L., Haggard, P. & Rothwell, J.C. Biases in the perceived timing of perisaccadic visual and motor events. Perception and Psychophysics, 68, 1217-26 (2006).

  42. Kühn, A.A., Doyle, L., Pogosyan, A., Yarrow, K., Kupsch, A., Schneider, G., Hariz, M.I., Trottenberg, T. & Brown, P. Modulation of beta oscillations in the subthalamic area during motor imagery in Parkinson's disease. Brain, 129, 695-706 (2006).

  43. Yarrow, K., Whiteley, L., Rothwell, J.C. & Haggard, P. Spatial consequences of bridging the saccadic gap. Vision Research, 46, 545-555 (2006).

  44. Kühn, A.A., Hariz, M., Silberstein, P., Tisch, S., Kupsch, A., Schneider, G., Limousin-Dowsey, P., Yarrow, K. & Brown, P. Activation of the subthalamic region during emotional processing in Parkinson’s disease. Neurology, 65, 707-713 (2005).

  45. Doyle, L.M.F., Yarrow, K. & Brown, P. Lateralization of event-related beta desynchronization in the EEG during pre-cued reaction time tasks. Clinical Neurophysiology, 116, 1879-1888 (2005).

  46. Yarrow, K., Johnson, H., Haggard, P. & Rothwell, J.C. Consistent chronostasis effects across saccade categories imply a subcortical efferent trigger. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 16, 839-847 (2004).

  47. Yarrow, K., Haggard, P. & Rothwell, J. C. E. Action, arousal, and subjective time. Consciousness and Cognition, 13, 373-390 (2004).

  48. Kühn, A.A., Williams, D., Kupsch, A., Dowsey-Limousin, P., Hariz, M., Schneider, G.H., Yarrow, K., & Brown, P. Event related beta desynchronization in human subthalamic nucleus correlates with motor performance. Brain, 127, 735-746 (2004).

  49. Williams, D., Kühn, A., Kupsch, A., Tijssen, M., van Bruggen, G., Speelman, H., Hotton, G., Yarrow, K., & Brown, P. Behavioural cues are associated with modulations of synchronous oscillations in the human subthalamic nucleus. Brain, 126, 1975-1985 (2003).

  50. Yarrow, K. & Rothwell, J.C. Manual chronostasis: Tactile perception precedes physical contact. Current Biology, 13, 1134-1139 (2003).

  51. Latash, M.L., Yarrow, K. & Rothwell, J.C. Changes in finger coordination and responses to single pulse TMS of motor cortex during practice of a multifinger force production task. Experimental Brain Research, 151, 60-71 (2003).

  52. Yarrow, K., Haggard, P., Heal, R., Brown, P. & Rothwell, J.C. Illusory perceptions of space and time preserve cross-saccadic perceptual continuity. Nature, 414, 302-305 (2001).
    • This paper received some press interest, for example this interview (MP3 format) on the Canadian science radio show Quirks and Quarks (from 17th November 2001).

  53. Yarrow, K., Brown, P., Gresty, M.A. & Bronstein, A.M. Force platform recordings in the diagnosis of primary orthostatic tremor. Gait & Posture, 13, 27-34 (2001).
    • An erratum relating to the published version of this article appeared subsequently in Gait & Posture, 14, 279 (2001).

  54. Guerraz, M., Shaollo-Hoffmann, J., Yarrow, K., Thilo, K.V., Bronstein, A.M. & Gresty, M.A. Visual control of postural orientation and equilibrium in congenital nystagmus. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 41, 3798-3804 (2000).

  55. Jauregui-Renaud, K., Yarrow, K., Oliver, T., Gresty, M.A. & Bronstein, A.M. Effects of caloric stimulation on respiratory frequency and heart rate and blood pressure variability. Brain Research Bulletin, 53, 17-23 (2000).

  56. NB to view files you may require Acrobat Reader (free software). For copyright reasons, some files are provided as final submitted manuscripts rather than press formatted articles. download acrobat reader

    Click here for Kielan's full academic CV.

    Collaborators past and present: I’ve taken down the various experiment .exe files as I’m sure you downloaded them when you needed them. I’ll save this space for the next request...

    Last updated 02/02/2018

    Page created by Kielan Yarrow © 2001. Have a nice day.