Dr Vicky McGowan

Lecturer in psychology

School/Department: Psychology and Vision Sciences, 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.


Zhang, J., Warrington, K. L., Li, L., Pagán, A., Paterson, K. B., White, S. J., & McGowan, V. A. (2022). Are older adults more risky readers? Evidence from meta-analysis. Psychology and Aging, 37(2), 239-259.

Maeni, Y. A., Paterson, K. B., Maltby, J., McGowan, V. A., & Hutchinson, C. V. (2022). Comparison of logarithmic reading charts for visual assessment in normally sighted participants. Optometry and Vision Science, 99(3), 292–297.

AlJassmi, M.A., Warrington, K.L., McGowan, V.A., White, S.J., & Paterson, K.B. (2022), Effects of word predictability on eye movements during Arabic reading. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 84, 10-24.

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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