Dr Matthew Coxon

Senior Lecturer in Psychology

School of Psychological & Social Sciences

E: m.coxon@yorksj.ac.uk

T: 01904 876994

Dr Matthew Coxon, Senior Lecturer

I am a senior lecturer in psychology, specialising in the fields of cognitive psychology and psychological research methods. My research is focused on the use of head-mounted displays to experience immersive virtual environments (aka virtual reality). I have specific interests in the psychological basis of spatial presence in such simulations (the feeling of ‘being there’) and the application of virtual reality to a range of practical situations (e.g. pain management, relaxation, education).


Post Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice, York St John University, 2011

PhD, Passive interference of working memory’s visual functions, Lancaster University, 2007

BSc (Hons), Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, 2002

Further Information


BSc (Hons) Psychology

  • 1PY401 Cognition
  • 1PY403 Experimental Research Methods and Statistics
  • 2PY405 Investigating Cognition (module leader)
  • 3PY340 Dissertation
  • 3PY345 Memory Improvement (module leader)
  • MPY100 Psychological Research Methods


Virtual reality is having an increasingly positive impact on society with significant technical advances being made. However the virtual reality experience is not just a technical one, it is also a psychological one. My research is focused on the fundamental psychological science which underpins the virtual reality experience, and how this can be positively applied for the benefit of society. I have particular interests in the feeling of ‘ being there’ that the technology evokes, and applications that exploit it's attention grabbing capabilities. As the technology becomes more widely used it is important to understand the psychological aspects that underpin it. The central aim of my research is to add to this growing body of knowledge.

Professional Activities

Higher Education Academy Teaching Development Grant Reviewer (since 2013)

Academic Associate of the Higher Education Academy (since 2012)

Editorial Board Member for Psychology Teaching Review (since 2012)

External Examiner for the University of Worcester (2012-2015)

Panel Member for the OCR Psychology Consultative Panel (2011-2014)

Committee Member of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Academics, Researchers and Teachers (2011-2013)


Books and Book Chapters

Coxon, M. (2012). Cognitive Psychology. Exeter: Learning Matters.

Coxon, M. & Mania, K. (2013). Measuring memories for objects and their locations in immersive virtual environments: the subjective component of memorial experience. In: Huang, T. ed. Handbook of Human Centric Visualization, Springer: London.

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

Page, S. & Coxon, M. (in press). Preventing post-traumatic intrusions using virtual reality. Annual Review of Cybertherapy and Telemedicine.

Coxon, M., Kelly, N., & Page, S. (2016). Individual differences in virtual reality: Are spatial presence and spatial ability linked? Virtual Reality, 20(4), 203-212. doi:10.1007/s10055-016-0292-x

Johnson, S. & Coxon, M. (2016). Sound can enhance the analgesic effect of virtual reality. Royal Society Open Science, 3:150567. doi:10.1098/rsos.150567

Page, S. & Coxon, M. (2016). Virtual reality exposure therapy for anxiety disorders: Small samples and no controls? Frontiers in Psychology, 7:326. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00326

McGivern, P. and Coxon, M. (2015) Student polling software: where cognitive psychology meets educational practice? Frontiers in Psychology 6:55. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00055  

Coxon, M. (2013). Immersive virtual reality in the psychology classroom: What purpose could it serve? Psychology Teaching Review, 19(1), 21-30.

Paraskeva, C., Koulieris, G.A., Coxon, M., & Mania, K. (2012). Gender differences in spatial awareness in immersive virtual environments: A preliminary investigation. Proceedings of the 11th ACM Siggraph International Conference on Virtual Reality Continuum and its Applications in Industry. doi:10.1145/2407516.2407546

Papadakis, G., Mania, K., Coxon, M., & Koutroulis, E. (2011). The effect of tracking delay on spatial awareness states in immersive virtual environments: An initial exploration. Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Virtual Reality Continuum and its Application in Industry, 475-482. doi:10.1145/2087756.2087848

Bennett, A., Coxon, M., & Mania, K. (2010). The effect of stereo and context on memory and awareness states in immersive virtual environments. Proceedings of the 7th Symposium on Applied Perception in Graphics and Visualization, 135-140. doi: 10.1145/1836248.1836275

Mania, K., Badariah, S., Coxon, M. & Watten, P. (2010). Cognitive transfer of spatial awareness states from immersive virtual environments to reality. ACM Transactions on Applied Perception, 7(2). doi:10.1145/1670671.1670673

Mania, K., Woolridge, D., Coxon, M., & Robinson, A. (2006). The effect of visual and interaction fidelity on spatial cognition in immersive virtual environments. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 12(3), 396-404. doi:10.1109/TVCG.2006.55

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