Dr Vicky McGowan

Lecturer in psychology

School/Department: Psychology, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 373 6862



After completing my undergraduate degree at Aston University I became a research assistant at the University of Leicester. I liked it here so much that I have been here ever since! I did my PhD and postdoctoral fellowship before moving into my current lecturer role.


I am interested in understanding how we read why some people struggle to read and how we can improve reading. I am particularly interested in the impact of visual difficulties (e.g. due to older age disease) on reading. I use eye tracking and meta-analysis in my research.



Paterson, K.B., McGowan, V.A., Warrington, K.L., Li, L., Li, S., Xie, F., Chang, M., Zhao, S., Pagan, A., White, S.J., Wang, J. (2020). Effects of normative aging on eye movements during reading.  Vision, 4(1), 7.

Li, S., Oliver-Mighten, L., Li, L., White, S.J., Paterson, K.B., Wang, J., Warrington, K.L., & McGowan, V.A. (2019). Adult Age Differences in Effects of Text Spacing on Eye Movements during Reading. Frontiers in Psychology, 9:2700. 

Wilson, R., Paterson, K.B., McGowan, V.A., & Hutchinson, C.H. (2018). Visual aspects of reading performance in Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). Frontiers in Psychology, 9:1468.  

Warrington, K.L., McGowan, V.A., Paterson, K.B., & White, S.J. (2018). Effects of Aging, Word Frequency and Text Stimulus Quality on Reading across the Adult Lifespan: Evidence from eye movements. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 44(11), 1714-1729.  

Wang, J., Li, L., Li, S., Xie, F., Chang, M., Paterson, K.B., White, S.J., & McGowan, V.A. (2018). Adult age differences in eye movements during reading: The evidence from Chinese. Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 73(4), 584-593.   

McGowan, V.A., & Reichle, E.D. (2018). The 'Risky' Reading Strategy Revisited: New Simulations Using E-Z Reader. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 71(1), 189-189.   

McGowan, V.A., White, S.J., & Paterson, K.B. (2015). The effects of interword spacing on the eye movements of young and older readers. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 27(5), 609-621.  

White, S.J., Warrington, K.L., McGowan, V.A., & Paterson, K.B. (2015). Eye movements during reading and topic scanning: Effects of word frequency. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 41(1), 233-248.  

Paterson, K.B., Read, J., McGowan, V.A., & Jordan, T.R. (2015). Children and adults both see "Pirates" in "Parties": Letter-position effects for developing readers and skilled adult readers. Developmental Science, 18(2), 335-343. 

McGowan, V.A., White, S.J., Jordan, T.R., & Paterson, K.B. (2014). Aging and the use of inter-word spaces during reading: Evidence from eye movements. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21, 740-747. 



I would be keen to supervise a project examining reading. This would include examining:

• The cognitive mechanisms underpinning reading

• How reading differs between different populations

• How reading is affected by eye disease/disorders

• Differences between languages

• Reading in applied contexts (e.g. the reading of health information)


I primarily teach on the undergraduate psychology courses.

Press and media

I would be happy to talk about reading research.
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