Robert P. O'Shea

Discipline of Psychology
School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Murdoch University
South Street

Office:    Social Sciences (440) 2.023
Phone:    +61 (8) 9360 7284
Fax:        +61 (8) 9360 6878
E-mail:    r.oshea[you know what]murdoch.edu.au

Current position


I was awarded BSc and PhD degrees in Psychology from the University of Queensland. My doctoral dissertation on binocular rivalry was supervised by Boris Crassini. In 1983, I left Australia's fair shores for a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship with Peter Dodwell in the Department of Psychology at Queen's University. There followed two years of another Postdoctoral Fellowship with Randolph Blake at Northwestern University, and a year with Don Mitchell at Dalhousie University. In 1988, I took up a Lectureship (= Assistant Professorship) in the Department of Psychology at University of Otago. In 1996, I was promoted to Senior Lecturer (= Associate Professor). In May 2009, I was appointed Professor of Psychology at Southern Cross University. At the end of May 2015, I moved to my current position at Murdoch University. In July 2015, I accepted an Adjunct Professorship in the School of Health and Human Sciences at Southern Cross University.

I  have had five study leaves, one at Center for Visual Science at University of Rochester working with David Williams, one at the Vision Sciences Laboratory of Harvard University working with Patrick Cavanagh, one at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Dartmouth College working with Paul Corballis, and two at University of Leipzig working with Erich Schröger. For all of 2014, I reduced my commitment to 0.2 to enable me to go to University of Leipzig for a year to support my partner, Urte Roeber, who resumed her Assistant Professorship at University of Leipzig.

See also my entry in Neurotree.

Curriculum Vitae

You can download a PDF of my curriculum vitae from https://sites.google.com/site/oshearobertp/research/cv.


I am interested in how our brains produce the experiences of the things we see. I conduct laboratory experiments in which I either measure the electrical activity of the brain non-invasively with scalp electrodes (electroencehpalography, EEG) or ask people very simple questions about what they see (psychophysics), usually when they are viewing something in which the experiences they have change without any change in the information coming into the eyes (multistable phenomena including binocular rivalry and monocular rivalry). I also conduct experiments on depth perception, colour perception, and motion perception. I am interested in visual perception in the real world outside the laboratory, in the early history of vision research, in meteorological optics, in size and depth perception over large distances, and in colour contingent aftereffects.


Please click here for my publications.


I am currently a Unit Coordinator and lecturer for Murdoch University's PSY501 Psychology Honours Seminar.

In 2015, I wrote, coordinated, and taught Murdoch University's PSY396 Cognitive and Developmental Neuroscience.

I have managed and taught units at all levels, from introductory units to third- year and fourth-year Honours units. Areas include introductory psychology, statistics (from introductory to advanced, including multivariate statistics), research methods, history and philosophy of psychology, and sensation and perception.

Click here for my hours for student consultation.

I am passionate about teaching good writing, possibly because I find it so hard to write well myself. I have published a book on the subject:

O’Shea, R. P., & McKenzie, W. (2013).  Writing for psychology (6th ed.). Melbourne: Cengage.

Click here for writing resources: https://sites.google.com/site/oshearobertp/home/teaching/writing-for-psychology

I have dabbled in research into the meaning of student ratings.

Professional Affiliations

Advisory Editor for Scholarpedia, 2014–
Member of  Australasian Society for Psychophysiology, 2009–
Member of  The Australasian Society for Experimental Psychology, 1998–
Member of  Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, 2014
Editor of Vision section, Scholarpedia, 2008-2011
Organiser of 31st Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference (EPC'04), 2004
Member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2003
Co-organizer of the University of Otago symposium How the brain constructs reality, 2000
Member of  Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, 1984–2000
Associate Editor of Perception & Psychophysics, 1995 – 1998
Programme Chair for Conference on Neural Information Processing (ICONIP'97), 1997

Information for Prospective Researchers

If you are enrolled as a Murdoch University student, you may be able to do a research project with me for your Honours thesis or a PhD. I also welcome students who want to volunteer to work in the laboratory. To find out about possible topics, check my Reseach Interests, or send me an e-mail. If you are not enrolled, because, for example, you are from overseas, it may be possible to arrange for you to visit for enough time to work on a project, but you must bring your own funding. If you want to visit to work on a project (e.g., during a sabbatical leave), please let me know.

Laboratory facilities

I have access to  the Cognitive Neuroscience EEG Research Laboratory at Murdoch University, containing an EGI 128-channel EEG system, and to the EEG Research Laboratory at Southern Cross University, containing a Brain Products 64-channel EEG system.


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This page was last updated on 15 Aug 2017.

© Robert P. O'Shea, 2017