Professor Jan de Fockert

Jan is an expert in selective attention, studying how we prioritise the processing of relevant information in our environment.

Staff details

Professor Jan de Fockert





Email (


Jan is a Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths, where he is Co-Head of Department. His main research interest is human visual selective attention.

He uses a range of selective attention paradigms to investigate to what extent the attention system of the human brain is capable of selective processing of to-be-attended information.

He is specifically interested in the control of selective attention by frontal areas of the human brain, which he investigates using behavioural measures, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Electro-encephalography (EEG).

His research also looks at individual differences in selective attention, including between groups of different ages and cultures.

Grants and Awards

Jan has received external grant funding from a variety of organisations to support his work including: ESRC, Wellcome Trust, and the British Academy.

Public Engagement and Knowledge Exchange

Jan has frequently engaged with the news media to communicate his research or to provide expert commentary on developments in psychological science, and regularly gives seminars and lectures in schools.

Publications and research outputs


Hein, Thomas; De Fockert, J. W. and Herrojo Ruiz, Maria. 2021. State anxiety biases estimates of uncertainty and impairs reward learning in volatile environments. NeuroImage, 224, 117424. ISSN 1053-8119

Job, Xavier; Brady, Daniel; De Fockert, J. W.; Di Bernardi Luft, Caroline; Hill, Elisabeth L. and Van Velzen, Jose L.. 2019. Adults with probable Developmental Coordination Disorder selectively process early visual, but not tactile information during action preparation. An electrophysiological study. Human Movement Science, 66, pp. 631-644. ISSN 0167-9457

Job, Xavier; Golemme, Mara; Bhattacharya, Joydeep; Cappelletti, Marinella; De Fockert, J. W. and Van Velzen, Jose L.. 2019. The influence of motor preparation on the processing of action-relevant visual features. Scientific Reports, 9, 11084. ISSN 2045-2322

Research Interests

Jan’s main themes of research are human selective attention, cognitive control, and individual differences in visual cognition.

He has used behavioural and neuroimaging methods to study these themes.

He is a member of our Cognition and Neuroscience Group. Key areas of interest are listed below.

• Selective attention
• Cognitive control of attention
• Role of working memory in attention
• Individual differences in attention
• Local and global visual processing
• Visual averaging