Dr Karina J Linnell

Karina studies visual cognition, attention, perception and awareness, as well as cross-cultural and individual differences in these fundamental processes.

Staff details

Dr Karina J Linnell






k.j.linnell (@gold.ac.uk)


Karina is a Reader in Psychology at Goldsmiths. She researches visual cognition, attention, perception, and awareness, and the shaping of these processes by experience, and aims to adopt a translational approach.
She has been privileged to study the profound differences in cognitive and perceptual style that exist between a remote, semi-nomadic Namibian population and their urbanised cousins.
She is fascinated by cross-cultural and individual differences - particularly those related to urbanisation, education, and socioeconomic status - and committed to the view that only by taking these differences into account will we acquire an informed understanding of human cognition and perception.

Grants and Awards

Karina has received external grant funding to support her research from a variety of bodies including: the ESRC, British Academy, Leverhulme Trust, and National Institute of Health Research (Research for Patient Benefit scheme).

Public Engagement and Knowledge Exchange

Karina’s work on the impact of urbanisation on our capacity to concentrate, and its implications for educational attainment, has attracted considerable media attention. She has been interviewed on international and national TV and radio (e.g., on BBC World News, BBC Radio 4) and her work has been cited in international and national newspapers (e.g. in the Guardian, by its Education Correspondent). Furthermore, she was selected by the ESRC national research council to prepare an impact case study on the implications of her work on processing style and urbanisation.

Publications and research outputs

Book Section

Humphreys, Glyn W.; Riddoch, M. Jane; Linnell, Karina J; Punt, D.; Edwards, M. G. and Wing, Alan M.. 2004. Attending to what you are doing. Neuropsychological and experimental evidence for interactions between perception and action. In: Glyn W. Humphreys and M. Jane Riddoch, eds. Attention in action. New York and London: Psychology Press, pp. 3-25. ISBN 978-1-84169-354-5


Kiss, Luca and Linnell, Karina J. 2024. The role of mood and arousal in the effect of background music on attentional state and performance during a sustained attention task. Scientific Reports, 14(1), 9485. ISSN 2045-2322

Kiss, Luca; Szikora, Bence and Linnell, Karina J. 2024. Music in the eye of the beholder: a pupillometric study on preferred background music, attentional state, and arousal. Psychological Research, ISSN 0340-0727

Kiss, Luca and Linnell, Karina J. 2023. Reasons for participating in musical activities and their relationship with well-being during and before Covid-19. Psychology of Music, 51(3), pp. 1013-1025. ISSN 0305-7356

Research Interests

Karina’s research focuses on visual cognition, attention, perception, and awareness, and the shaping of these fundamental processes by experience. She is a member of the Cognition and Neuroscience Group, and the Developmental and Educational Science Group. She researches both mature and developing function, and normal and abnormal function, and aims to adopt a translational approach and thus to further the complementary development of theory and its application.

Some key areas of interest are listed below:

  • Selective Attention
  • Attentional Control
  • Attentional State
  • Arousal, Sustained Attention, and Performance
  • Attention, Emotion, and Effort
  • Pupillometry
  • Eye-movements
  • Visual Perception and Local-Global Bias
  • Urbanisation, Education, SES, and Processing Style
  • Cross-cultural and Individual Differences