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

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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

Full Text

(Editorial)


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

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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

(2017)

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

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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

(2016)

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

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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

(2016)

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

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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

(2015)

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

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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

(2015)

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

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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

Full Text UEA Repository

(Article)


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

(2015)

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

UEA Repository

(Book)


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

(2015)

Rule representation

UEA Repository

(Chapter)


Spencer, J. P.

(2015)

Reflections of a civic scientist

UEA Repository

(Chapter)


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

(2015)

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

UEA Repository

(Chapter)


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

(2015)

Integration and selection in multi-dimensional dynamic fields

UEA Repository

(Chapter)


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

(2015)

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

UEA Repository

(Chapter)


Schoner, G. (ed.), Spencer, J. P. (ed.), Research Group, D. (ed.)

(2015)

Dynamic Thinking: A Primer on Dynamic Field Theory

UEA Repository

(Book)


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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