Natalie Mestry

Dr Natalie Mestry

  • Senior Lecturer
  • Poole House P259, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, BH12 5BB
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I am a cognitive researcher with expertise in face processing and visual search. I graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from the University of Southampton in 2008. I was awarded a 1 + 3 ESRC studentship to continue my studies at the University of Southampton and completed my MSc Research Methods in Psychology in 2009 and my PhD in 2013. The research conducted during my PhD investigated sources of configural face processing. I was a Research Fellow within the Centre for Vision and Cognition at the University of Southampton from 2013 – 2017 working on projects about face processing and visual search. I was also a Teaching Fellow for the department from 2015 -2017. I joined Bournemouth University in 2017 as a Lecturer.


My main research interests are in the field of vision and cognition, specifically face processing and visual search. My recent research has examined the dual-target cost, guidance and capacity in visual search for multiple unfamiliar faces using eye-tracking. I am also working on projects about individual differences in face processing and relationships between face processing measures.

My research on unfamiliar face processing is applied to real world problems the criminal justice system and I am currently working on grant funded projects that address challenges for visual search tasks in security domains. One project I am involved in examines ways to train the public and security personnel to improve their search for threats in crowded environments. Another is examining how long airport security officers should spend searching X-ray images of bags between breaks.


  • Bate, S., Portch, E., Mestry, N. and Bennetts, R.J., 2019. Redefining super recognition in the real world: Skilled face or person identity recognizers? British Journal of Psychology, 110 (3), 480-482.
  • Mestry, N., Menneer, T., Cave, K.R., Godwin, H.J. and Donnelly, N., 2017. Dual-target cost in visual search for multiple unfamiliar faces. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 43 (8), 1504-1519.
  • Donnelly, N., Harland, B., Mestry, N., Thompson, N., Trawiński, T. and Liversedge, S.P., 2017. The influence of pupil alignment on spectator address in Manet's portraiture. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 11 (2), 167-178.
  • Mestry, N., Donnelly, N., Menneer, T. and McCarthy, R.A., 2012. Discriminating Thatcherised from typical faces in a case of prosopagnosia. Neuropsychologia, 50 (14), 3410-3418.

Journal Articles


  • Bate, S., Mestry, N. and Portch, E., 2021. Individual differences between observers in forensic face matching. In: Bindemann, M., ed. Forensic Face Matching: Research and Practice.. Oxford University Press.

Internet Publications


  • Donnelly, N., Hillstrom, A. and Mestry, N., 2017. Just another face in the crowd – what makes spotting unfamiliar faces difficult?. Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats. Published.

Profile of Teaching PG

  • Research Project Supervision

Profile of Teaching UG

  • Unit Leader for Face Recognition and its Disorders (FRAID)
  • Psychology Project Supervision and Teaching
  • Academic Advisor
  • Unit Leader for Research Methods and Statistics 2 (RMAS2)


  • X-ray baggage screening time on task (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, 04 Oct 2018). In Progress
  • We’re in this together: Using evidence-based visual perception to enhance crowd resilience. (Phase 2). (Defence and Security Accelerator, 01 Sep 2018). Completed
  • We’re in this together: Using evidence-based visual perception research to enhance the crowd’s ability to detect threats in the environment. (Defence and Security Accelerator, 15 Nov 2017). Completed
  • Costs in Search for More Than One Face and Detection of Repeating Faces (Experimental Psychology Society, 01 Sep 2017). Completed

Internal Responsibilities

  • Programme Leader for BSc Psychology with Forensic Investigation, Department of Psychology

Public Engagement & Outreach Activities

  • Eye tracking as a window to the mind, Festival of Learning 2018. We explained how researchers use eye movements to understand the mental processes behind tasks. Visitors took part in a Where's Wally search task while their eye movements were tracked. The display was gaze contingent so that the audience could see the eye movements during the task. We explained the retina and why it is necessary to move our eyes to bring new information into high acuity vision and that eye movements reflect the moment to moment cognitive processes that we engage in when we undertake a task.
  • Work Experience in Psychology. I coordinated and supervised work experience visits to the department for sixth form students in 2017 and 2018 and supervised students visiting students in 2019.
  • Summer Breaks 2018. I delivered a psychology subject taster session for Y12 students visiting the university as part of the 'Summer Breaks' Widening participation initiative where students get a taste of the university experience over a few days.
  • Bournemouth Air Festival 2019 - Speaking to the public about our face processing research, running an activity to demonstrate our methods. Also speaking about opportunities at BU and chances to hear more about research at other public engagement events in Bournemouth

Conference Presentations

  • Vision Sciences Society Conference, The influence of training with one or two faces on dual-target face search, 18 May 2018, St Pete Beach, Florida
  • Vision Sciences Society Conference, The Effects of Familiarity and Orientation when Correcting Spatially Distorted Faces, 19 May 2017, St Pete Beach, Florida


  • PhD in The Nature of Configural Processing (University of Southampton, 2013)
  • MSc in Research Methods in Psychology (University of Southampton, 2009)
  • BSc (Hons) in Psychology (University of Southampton, 2008)


  • Higher Education Academy, Senior Fellow (2020-),
  • Experimental Psychology Society, Member (2015-),
  • Vision Sciences Society, Member (2009-),