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Personal Home Page - Dr Melina Kunar

Research Interests


mammogram  baggage screener driving

Many tasks involve attention (e.g. driving, searching a web page for relevant information etc.) making it an important focus of research. My research investigates how people attend and search different types of displays and how they use this information to inform their preferences and decision making. The findings have many applications for socially important tasks, such as how to improve search for cancerous indicators in medical images, baggage screening for threats at an airport, and how distraction (for example, by talking on mobile phones) interferes with driving.


Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in studying for a PhD, becoming a Research Assistant or participating in an experiment.



For a full list of publications, including conference presentations, click here.

For pdf access to each paper click on the links below.

Phelps, E.E., Wellings, R., Kunar, M.A., Hutchinson, C. & Griffiths, F. (2021). A qualitative study exploring the experience of viewing 3D medical images during an orthopaedic outpatient consultation from the perspective of patients, healthcare professionals and lay representatives. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 27 (2), 333-343

Kunar, M. A., Taylor-Phillips, S. & Watson, D.G. (2020). Double Reading Reduces Miss Errors in Low Prevalence Search. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Advance online publication.

Gunnell, D. O. A., Kunar, M. A., & Watson, D. G. (2020). Having a phone conversation delays but does not disrupt cognitive mechanisms. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 26(2), 199–217.

Gunnell, Daniel, Kunar, Melina A., Norman, Danielle and Watson, Derrick G. (2019) The hazards of perception : evaluating a change blindness demonstration within a real-world driver education course. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications. 4:15

Kunar, M. A., Cole, L., Cox, A. & Ocampo, J. (2018). It's Not Good to Talk: Conversation Has a Fixed Interference Cost on Attention Regardless of Difficulty. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 3:33

Kunar, M. A., Watson, D.G., Taylor-Phillips, S. & Wolska, J. (2017). Low Prevalence Search for Cancers in Mammograms: Evidence using Laboratory Experiments and Computer Aided Detection. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 23, 369-385.

Kunar, M. A., Watson, D.G., Tsetsos, K. & Chater, N. (2017). The Influence of Attention on Value Integration. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 79, 1615-1627.

Kunar, M. A., Thomas, S.V. & Watson, D.G. (2017). Time-based selection in complex displays: Visual Marking does not occur in Multi-Element Asynchronous Dynamic (MAD) search. Visual Cognition, 25, 215-224.

Phelps, E. E., Wellings, R., Griffiths, F., Hutchinson, C. & Kunar, M. (2017). Do medical images aid understanding and recall of medical information? An experimental study comparing the experience of viewing no image, a 2D medical image and a 3D medical image alongside a diagnosis. Patient Education and Counseling, 6, 1120-1127.


Kunar, M. A., Ariyabandu, S. & Jami, Z. (2016). The Down Side Of Choice: Having A Choice Benefits Enjoyment But At A Cost To Efficiency and Time In Visual Search. Attention, Perception and Psychophysics, 78, 736-741.

Kunar, M. A., John, R. & Sweetman, H. (2014). A Configural Dominant Account of Contextual Cueing: Configural Cues are Stronger than Colour Cues. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 67, 1366-1382.


Kunar, M. A. & Watson, D. G. (2014). When Are Abrupt Onsets Found Efficiently in Complex Visual Search?: Evidence from Multi-Element Asynchronous Dynamic Search. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 40, 232-252.


Kunar, M. A., Watson, D. G., Cole, L. & Cox, A. (2014). Negative Emotional Stimuli Reduce Contextual Cueing but not Response Times in Inefficient Search. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 67, 377-393.


Alogna, V. K., Attaya, M. K., Aucoin, P., Bahnik, S., Birch, S., Birt, A. R., … Zwaan, R. A. (2014). Registered replication report: Schooler & Engstler-Schooler (1990). Perspectives on Psychological Science, 9, 556–578.

Russell, N. & Kunar, M.A. (2012). Color and Spatial Cueing in Low Prevalence Visual Search. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65, 1327-1344.

Watson, D. G., & Kunar, M. A. (2012). Determining the Capacity of Time-Based Selection. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 38, 350-366


Kunar, M.A. & Watson, D.G. (2011). Visual Search in a Multi-element Asynchronous Dynamic (MAD) World. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 37, 1017-1031 


Kunar, M.A. & Wolfe, J.M. (2011). Target Absent Trials in Configural Contextual Cueing. Attention, Perception and Psychophysics, 73 (7), 2077-2091.


Watson, D.G. & Kunar, M.A. (2010). Visual Marking and Change Blindness: Moving occluders and transient masks neutralize shape changes to ignored objects. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 36, 1391-1405


Kunar, M.A., Rich, A.N. & Wolfe, J.M. (2010). Spatial and temporal separation fails to counteract the effects of low prevalence in visual search. Visual Cognition, 18, 881-897.


Kunar, M.A., Carter, R., Cohen, M. & Horowitz, T. (2008). Telephone Conversation Impairs Sustained Visual Attention Via A Central Bottleneck. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 15, 1135-1140. 


Kunar, M.A., Flusberg, S.J., & Wolfe, J.M. (2008). Time to Guide: Evidence for Delayed Attentional Guidance in Contextual Cueing. Visual Cognition, 16, 804-825.


Kunar, M.A., Flusberg, S.J., & Wolfe, J.M. (2008). The role of memory and restricted context in repeated visual search. Perception & Psychophysics, 70, 314-328.


Rich, A. N., Kunar, M. A., Van Wert, M., Hidalgo-Sotelo, B., Horowitz, T. & Wolfe. J.M. (2008). Why do we miss rare targets? Exploring the boundaries of the low prevalence effect.   Journal of Vision, 8(15), 1-17.


Kunar, M.A., Flusberg, S.J., Horowitz, T.S., & Wolfe, J.M., (2007). Does contextual cueing guide the deployment of attention? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 33, 816-828


Kunar, M.A., Flusberg, S.J., & Wolfe, J.M. (2006). Contextual cueing by global features. Perception & Psychophysics, 68, 1204 – 1216


Kunar, M.A. & Humphreys, G.W. (2006). Object-based inhibitory priming in preview search: Evidence from the ‘top-up’ procedure. Memory & Cognition, 34, 459-474


Kunar, M.A., Shapiro, K.L. & Humphreys, G.W. (2006). Top-up search and the attentional blink: A two-stage account of the preview effect in search. Visual Cognition, 13, 677-699.


Wolfe, J.M., Birnkrant, R.S., Kunar, M.A., & Horowitz, T. (2005). Visual search for transparency and opacity: Attentional guidance by cue combination? Journal of Vision, 5, 257-274.


Fenske, M.J., Raymond, J.E. & Kunar, M.A. (2004). The Affective Consequences of Visual Marking. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 11, 1034-1040.


Kunar, M.A., Humphreys, G.W., & Smith, K.J. (2003). History matters: The preview benefit in search is not onset capture. Psychological Science, 14, 181-185.


Kunar, M.A., Humphreys, G.W., & Smith, K.J. (2003). Visual change with moving displays: More evidence for color feature map inhibition during preview search. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 29, 779 – 792.


Kunar, M.A., Humphreys, G.W., Smith, K.J., & Hulleman, J. (2003). What is marked in visual marking?: Evidence for effects of configuration in preview search. Perception and Psychophysics, 65, 982-996. 


Kunar, M.A., Humphreys, G.W., Smith, K.J., & Watson, D.G. (2003). When a re-appearance is old news: Visual marking survives occlusion. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 29, 185-198. 


Kunar, M.A., Braithwaite, J., & Humphreys, G.W. (2002). Endogenous inhibitory control of selection: Evidence from preview search. Psicologica, 23, 347-349.


Copyright Notice

Electronic versions of these articles are provided as a professional courtesy to allow (non-commercial) timely dissemination of the work. Copyright and all rights therein resides with the copyright holders stated within each paper. These papers may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.