About Me

I am a cognitive psychologist and neuroscientist at UNSW Sydney. I am currently working as a post-doctoral research associate on projects examining the influence of learned experience (i.e., selection history) on perception, selective attention, and cognitive control.

I am interested in understanding the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying visual cognition, with a view to applying these findings to real world contexts (e.g., designing alerts and warnings to rapidly capture attention) as well as to further our understanding of psychopathology (e.g., understanding how attention to reward-related cues interacts with substance use disorder and psychosis).

You can find the details of my recent publications and presentations below.

Research Interest


Here are a few of my recent publications. For a full list, see my Google Scholar profile.

  1. Pearson, D. & Pelley, M. L. Reward encourages reactive, goal-directed suppression of attention. PsyArXiv (2021) doi:10.31234/osf.io/prqmg.
  2. Pearson, D. & Le Pelley, M. E. Learning to avoid looking: Competing influences of reward on overt attentional selection. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review 27, 998–1005 (2020) doi:10.3758/s13423-020-01770-3.
  3. Pearson, D., Watson, P., Cheng, P. (Xin) & Le Pelley, M. E. Overt attentional capture by reward-related stimuli overcomes inhibitory suppression. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 46, 489–501 (2020) doi:10.1037/xhp0000728.
  4. Pearson, D. et al. Value-modulated oculomotor capture by task-irrelevant stimuli is a consequence of early competition on the saccade map. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics 78, 2226–2240 (2016) doi:10.3758/s13414-016-1135-2.
  5. Pearson, D., Donkin, C., Tran, S. C., Most, S. B. & Le Pelley, M. E. Cognitive control and counterproductive oculomotor capture by reward-related stimuli. Visual Cognition 23, 41–66 (2015) doi:10.1080/13506285.2014.994252.