Biography

John P. Spencer is a Professor of Psychology. He joined the School in 2015. Prior to arriving in the UK, he was a Professor at the University of Iowa and served as the founding Director of the DeLTA Center. He received a Sc.B. with Honors from Brown University in 1991 and a Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1998. He is the recipient of the 2003 Early Research Contributions Award from the Society for Research in Child Development, and the 2006 Robert L. Fantz Memorial Award from the American Psychological Foundation. His research has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health since 2001. His research focuses on the development of executive function including working memory, attention, and inhibitory control. He is also a pioneer in the use of dynamical systems and dynamic neural field models for understanding cognition and action.

Indicative Publications

Putt, S.S., Wijeakumar, S., Franciscus, R.G. & Spencer, J.P. (in press). The functional brain networks that underlie early stone age tool manufacture. Nature Human Behaviour.

Perone, S., Plebanek, D.J., Lorenz, M.G., Spencer, J.P. & Samuelson, L.K. (in press). Empirical tests of a brain-based model of executive function development. Child Development.

Wijeakumar, S., Huppert, T., Magnotta, V. Buss, A.T. & Spencer, J.P. (2017). Validating an image-based fNIRS approach with fMRI and a working memory task. NeuroImage, 147, 204-218.

Wijeakumar, S., Ambrose, J.P., Spencer, J.P. & Curtu, R. (2017). Model-based functional neuroimaging using dynamic neural fields: An integrative cognitive neuroscience approach. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 76, 212-235.

For a full publication list please visit ResearchGate 

All Publications

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Samuelson, L. K., Kucker, S. C., Spencer, J. P.

(2017)

Moving word learning to a novel space: A dynamic systems view of referent selection and retention,

in Cognitive Science

41

(S1)

pp. 52–72

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Wifall, T., Buss, A. T., Farmer, T. A., Spencer, J. P., Hazeltine, E.

(2017)

Reaching Into Response Selection: Stimulus and Response Similarity Influence Central Operations,

in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance

43

(3)

pp. 555-568

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Blumberg, M. S., Spencer, J. P., Shenk, D.

(2017)

Introduction to the collection ‘How We Develop-Developmental Systems and the Emergence of Complex Behaviors’: Editorial Commentary,

in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science

8

(1-2)

article no. e1413

Full Text

(Editorial)

(Published)


Wijeakumar, S., Huppert, T., Magnotta, V. A., Buss, A. T., Spencer, J. P.

(2017)

Validating an image-based fNIRS approach with fMRI and a working memory task,

in NeuroImage

147

pp. 204–218

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Wijeakumar, S., Ambrose, J. P., Spencer, J. P., Curtu, R.

(2017)

Model-based functional neuroimaging using dynamic neural fields: An integrative cognitive neuroscience approach,

in Journal of Mathematical Psychology

76

(Part B)

pp. 212–235

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Putt, S. S., Wijeakumar, S., Franciscus, R. G., Spencer, J. P.

(2017)

The functional brain networks that underlie Early Stone Age tool manufacture,

in Nature Human Behaviour

1

article no. 0102

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Johnson, J. S., Spencer, J. P.

(2016)

Testing a dynamic field account of interactions between spatial attention and spatial working memory,

in Attention, Perception & Psychophysics

78

(4)

pp. 1043-1063

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Ambrose, J., Wijeakumar, S., Buss, A., Spencer, J.

(2016)

Feature-Based Change Detection Reveals Inconsistent Individual Differences in Visual Working Memory Capacity,

in Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience

10

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Samuelson, L. K., Jenkins, G. W., Spencer, J. P.

(2015)

Grounding cognitive-level processes in behavior: the view from dynamic systems theory,

in Topics in Cognitive Science

7

(2)

pp. 191-205

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Perone, S., Molitor, S. J., Buss, A. T., Spencer, J. P., Samuelson, L. K.

(2015)

Enhancing the executive functions of 3-year-olds in the Dimensional Change Card Sort task,

in Child Development

86

(3)

pp. 812-827

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Jenkins, G. W., Samuelson, L. K., Smith, J. R., Spencer, J. P.

(2015)

Non-Bayesian noun generalization in 3- to 5-year-old children: Probing the role of prior knowledge in the suspicious coincidence effect,

in Cognitive Science

39

(2)

pp. 268-306

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Wijeakumar, S., Magnotta, V. A., Buss, A. T., Ambrose, J. P., Wifall, T. A., Hazeltine, E., Spencer, J. P.

(2015)

Response control networks are selectively modulated by attention to rare events and memory load regardless of the need for inhibition,

in NeuroImage

120

pp. 331-344

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Ross-Sheehy, S., Schneegans, S., Spencer, J. P.

(2015)

The Infant Orienting With Attention task: assessing the neural basis of spatial attention in infancy,

in Infancy

20

(5)

pp. 467-506

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Wijeakumar, S., Spencer, J. P., Bohache, K., Boas, D. A., Magnotta, V. A.

(2015)

Validating a new methodology for optical probe design and image registration in fNIRS studies,

in NeuroImage

106

pp. 86-100

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)

(Published)


Spencer, J. P. (ed.), Buss, A. T. (ed.)

(2015)

The Emergent Executive: A Dynamic Field Theory of the Development of Executive Function,

Wiley

ISBN 978-1-118-95665-6

UEA Repository

(Book)

(Published)


Buss, A. T., Spencer, J. P.

(2015)

Rule representation,

in Brain Mapping: An Encyclopedic Reference.

Elsevier

pp. 337-341

UEA Repository

(Chapter)

(Published)


Spencer, J. P.

(2015)

Reflections of a civic scientist,

in Democracy's Education: Citizenship, Public Work and the Future of Higher Education.

Vanderbilt University Press

UEA Repository

(Chapter)

(Published)


Ambrose, J., Schneegans, S., Schoner, G., Spencer, J. P.

(2015)

A ‘how-to’ guide to modeling with dynamic field theory,

in Dynamic Thinking: A Primer on Dynamic Field Theory.

Oxford University Press

UEA Repository

(Chapter)

(Published)


Schneegans, S., Lins, J., Spencer, J. P.

(2015)

Integration and selection in multi-dimensional dynamic fields,

in Dynamic Thinking: A Primer on Dynamic Field Theory.

Oxford University Press

UEA Repository

(Chapter)

(Published)


Schneegans, S., Spencer, J. P., Schoner, G.

(2015)

Integrating ‘what’ and ‘where’: Visual working memory for objects in a scene,

in Dynamic Thinking: A Primer on Dynamic Field Theory.

Oxford University Press

UEA Repository

(Chapter)

(Published)


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Key Research Interests

Prof. John Spencer’s research focuses on how neural and cognitive dynamics change over learning and development. He is currently studying developmental changes in working memory, attention, inhibitory control, executive function, word learning, and spatial cognition and language. He uses functional neuroimaging technologies including near-infrared spectroscopy and fMRI as well as eye-tracking. Prof. Spencer’s research also targets advances in theory with pioneering work using concepts of dynamical systems theory and dynamic neural field models of cognition and action.

Visit the Dynamic Field Theory Website