Department of Psychology

Dr Gustav Kuhn

Position held:
Senior Lecturer

+44 (0)20 7296 4388

g.kuhn (


Room 202/2, Whitehead Building
Department of Psychology
Goldsmiths, University of London,
New Cross,
SE14 6NW

Summary of research

The main focus of my research is attention and awareness and in particular how attention and eye movements are influenced by social factors. Related to this, I have a keen interest in the science of magic and use magic to investigate a wide range of cognitive mechanisms, such as attention, memory, illusions, and beliefs.

Academic qualifications

BSc DPhil

Areas of supervision

I welcome undergraduate as well as postgraduate projects that are interested in attention and visual cognition in general.  Moreover, I am happy to supervise projects that use eye tracking.


I also welcome projects on the science of magic.

  • Using principles in magic to explore visual cognition.
  • Using magic to investigate belief systems
  • Using magic to improve wellbeing

Research interests

Visual Cognition

I am interested in visual perception, and the factors that determine our conscious perception of the world.  In particular, what are the mechanisms that drive our attentional system to select certain events at the expense of others?  I use a wide range techniques, from laboratory based reaction time tasks to eye tracking measures, both in the lab and the real world. I am particularly interested in how attention is guided by social cues, as indicated by another persons’ gaze direction. How does our use of gaze cues in the “real world” differ from the lab? Do children and individuals with autism utilize gaze cues differently?


Science of Magic

Over the centuries, magicians have developed extensive knowledge about how to manipulate our conscious experience, knowledge that has been largely ignored by science. Outside of my academic life I am a keen magician, as a result I have developed a special interest in how the magicians’ expertise can be used to further knowledge of cognition.  I believe that steps should be taken towards utilizing this knowledge to further our understanding of human cognition and consciousness. For example, the magician’s techniques in misdirecting people’s attention may provide unique insights into attention and awareness. Many magical illusions can inform us about the nature of our visual system, and our disbelief resulting from experiencing a magic trick can tell us about human reasoning and beliefs.



For more information about my research visit

Selected publications

Number of items: 22.


Kuhn, Gustav and Martinez, L. M.. 2012. Misdirection - past, present, and the future. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 5, . [Article]

Kuhn, Gustav, Tewson, L., Morpurgo, L., Freebody, S. F., Musil, A. S. and Leekam, S. R.. 2011. Developmental changes in the control of saccadic eye movements in response to directional eye gaze and arrows. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 64(10), pp. 1919-1929. [Article]

Kuhn, Gustav and Tipples, J.. 2011. Increased gaze following for fearful faces. It depends on what you're looking for! Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18(1), pp. 89-95. [Article]

Cavina-Pratesi, C., Kuhn, Gustav, Ietswaart, M. and Milner, A. D.. 2011. The Magic Grasp: Motor Expertise in Deception. Plos One, 6(2), e16568-e16568. [Article]

Kuhn, Gustav and Tatler, Benjamin W.. 2011. Misdirected by the gap: The relationship between inattentional blindness and attentional misdirection. Consciousness and Cognition, 20(2), pp. 432-436. [Article]

Cole, Geoff G., Kuhn, Gustav and Skarratt, Paul A.. 2011. Non-transient luminance changes do not capture attention. Attention Perception & Psychophysics, 73(5), pp. 1407-1421. [Article]

Laidlaw, K. E. W., Foulsham, T., Kuhn, Gustav and Kingstone, A.. 2011. Potential social interactions are important to social attention. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(14), pp. 5548-5553. [Article]

Cole, G. G. and Kuhn, Gustav. 2010. Attentional capture by object appearance and disappearance. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63(1), pp. 147-159. [Article]

Kuhn, Gustav, Benson, V., Fletcher-Watson, S., Kovshoff, H., McCormick, C. A., Kirkby, J. and Leekam, S. R.. 2010. Eye movements affirm: automatic overt gaze and arrow cueing for typical adults and adults with autism spectrum disorder. Experimental Brain Research, 201(2), pp. 155-165. [Article]

Kuhn, Gustav, Kourkoulou, A. and Leekam, S. R.. 2010. How Magic Changes Our Expectations About Autism. Psychological Science, 21(10), pp. 1487-1493. ISSN 0956-7976 [Article]

Kuhn, Gustav and Findlay, J. M.. 2010. Misdirection, attention and awareness: Inattentional blindness reveals temporal relationship between eye movements and visual awareness. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63(1), pp. 136-146. [Article]

Cole, G. G. and Kuhn, Gustav. 2010. What the experimenter's prime tells the observer's brain. Attention Perception & Psychophysics, 72(5), pp. 1367-1376. [Article]

Cole, G. G. and Kuhn, Gustav. 2010. The role of attention in a masked-prime effect. Perception, 39, p. 81. [Article]

Parris, B. A., Kuhn, G., Mizon, G. A., Benattayallah, A. and Hodgson, T. L.. 2009. Imaging the impossible: An fMRI study of impossible causal relationships in magic tricks. Neuroimage, 45(3), pp. 1033-1039. [Article]

Kuhn, Gustav and Kingstone, A.. 2009. Look away! Eyes and arrows engage oculomotor responses automatically. Attention Perception & Psychophysics, 71(2), pp. 314-327. [Article]

Cole, G. G., Kuhn, Gustav, Heywood, C. A. and Kentridge, R. W.. 2009. The Prioritization of Feature Singletons in the Change Detection Paradigm. Experimental Psychology, 56(2), pp. 134-146. [Article]

Kuhn, Gustav and Dienes, Z.. 2008. Learning non-local dependencies. Cognition, 106(1), pp. 184-206. [Article]

Kuhn, Gustav, Amlani, A. A. and Rensink, R. A.. 2008. Towards a science of magic. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12(9), pp. 349-354. ISSN 1364-6613 [Article]

Kuhn, Gustav and Benson, V.. 2007. The influence of eye-gaze and arrow pointing distractor cues on voluntary eye movements. Perception & Psychophysics, 69(6), pp. 966-971. [Article]

Kuhn, Gustav and Dienes, Z.. 2006. Differences in the types of musical regularity learnt in incidental- and intentional-learning conditions. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 59(10), pp. 1725-1744. [Article]

Kuhn, Gustav and Dienes, Z.. 2005. Implicit learning of nonlocal musical rules: Implicitly learning more than chunks. Journal of Experimental Psychology-Learning Memory and Cognition, 31(6), pp. 1417-1432. [Article]

Kuhn, Gustav and Tatler, B. W.. 2005. Magic and fixation: Now you don't see it, now you do. Perception, 34(9), pp. 1155-1161. [Article]

This list was generated on Fri Jul 25 04:53:24 2014 BST.

Content last modified: 05 Jun 2014

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