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Prof. Alastair G Gale

Professor of Applied Vision Sciences

BSc (Dunelm), PhD (Dunelm), FBPsS, CPsychol, FErgS, HonFRCR

Contact Details

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Tel: 01509 635701

Applied Vision Research Centre


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Alastair read Psychology at the University of Durham and after graduating stayed on to complete a PhD on the role of eye movements in figure perception with Prof. John Findlay. He then moved to Loughborough University to conduct applied ergonomic research in the Nottingham lace industry, examining industrial inspection processes. This was followed by a move to the Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham where he researched with the late Professor Brian Worthington FRS in the Departments of Medical Physics, Academic Radiology and Human Morphology as a Consultant Scientific Officer primarily examining radiological errors – this was the first such research conducted in this domain outside the USA.  Additionally he was an Honorary Medical Science Teacher at the University of Nottingham where he also co-established a Bio-Engineering Research Unit. He was an Honorary Visiting Reader in Psychology at the University of Surrey (1992-96). Following his appointment as Honorary Visiting Professor of Psychology at the University of Derby in 1992, he was subsequently invited to set up a new research centre (the Applied Vision Research Unit) at Derby which was accomplished in 1993, commensurate with his appointment as Professor of Applied Vision Sciences. He became Director of the Institute of Behavioural Sciences in 1998 when the Division of Psychology and the Applied Vision Research Unit merged.  He also held various management roles in the School of Health concerning research, marketing and international matters.  Subsequently he established the Applied Vision Research Institute and was a member of various University-wide research committees and also chaired the University’s research ethics committee.  He was invited by Sir David Wallace, the then VC, to move to Loughborough University in 2005.


Research Interests

Current research interests are wide ranging and mainly revolve around; saccadic eye movements, applied visual search, human performance and performance errors - particularly in medical and security imaging interpretation and road transportation domains, as well as ergonomics. For many years he has been very involved with improving radiological diagnostic performance and developed the first computer aided diagnostic system for breast cancer, based on mammographic feature identification, as well as establishing the first radiological self-assessment scheme in breast cancer screening (‘PERFORMS’). He established the international conference series on Vision In Vehicles in 1985 which runs biannually. Current research concentrates on performance in breast cancer screening (human, CAD, machine, ergonomics), cervical cancer screening (human, ergonomics, machine), teleradiology, PACS, medical imaging, eye movement recording technology, applied visual search, aviation security, communication and control aids for the disabled, CCTV interpretation, medication errors, gun crime, marketing, advertising, driving (driver-related technology/performance developments). Research under development concerns virtual colonoscopy and breast tomosynthesis.  He collaborates widely with other research groups and industries.  He is the editor of 14 books concerning vision in applied situations, author of over 210 articles in edited books and international scientific journals.  He is also the Organiser and Chair of 28 International Scientific Conferences and has presented over 60 invited and over 270 other presentations at international scientific conferences.


Current Research (externally funded current and recently completed work)

  • Security research (MoD COI )
  • ARTIFICE (EPSRC funded)
  • EPAULETS (EPSRC funded)
  • MEDUSA (EPSRC funded)
  • PERFORMS (NHS Screening programmes)
  • GIMI (DTI)
  • LBC Cytology ergonomics
  • Mammography ergonomics
  • Legacy analogue and digital mammography
  • LBC colour cytology

 (please see Applied Vision's Research & Projects pages for further details)



  • Awarded Honorary Fellowship (2006) of the Royal College of Radiologists for significant contributions to radiological research
  • Awarded the Ergonomics Society Otto Edholm award (2007) for significant contributions to ergonomics in applied research
  • Awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal College of Radiology (1997) for major contributions to radiological research
  • Three times the co-recipient of the ‘Cum Laude’ award for best research at the SPIE Medical Imaging: Image Perception, Observer Performance, and Technology Assessment Conference (San Diego) in 2007, 2005 and 2004.
  • Co-recipient of the ‘Highly Recommended’ award at the SPIE Medical Imaging: Image Perception, Observer Performance, and Technology Assessment Conference (San Diego) 2004.


Selected Publications

Manning D.J., Gale A.G. & Krupinski E.A.: Perception research in medical imaging. British Journal of Radiology, 2005, 78, 683-685

Scott H.J. & Gale A.G.: Breast screening: PERFORMS identifies key mammographic training needs. British Journal of Radiology, 2006, 79: S127-S133

Filik, R., Purdy, K. J., Gale, A. G., & Gerrett, D.: Drug name confusion: Evaluating the effectiveness of capital ("Tall Man") letters using eye movement data. Social Science and Medicine. 2004, 59(12), 2597-2601.

Gale A.G.: PERFORMS – a self assessment scheme for radiologists in breast screening. In Seminars in Breast Disease: Improving and monitoring mammographic interpretative skills, 2003, 6(3), 148-152. 

Ball, L.J., Lucas, E.J., Miles, J.N.V., & Gale, A.G.: Inspection times and the selection task: What do eye-movements reveal about relevance effects? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 2003, 56A, 1053-1077.

Esserman L., Cowley H., Eberle C., Kirkpatrick A., Chang S., Berbaum K., & Gale A.G.: Improving the Accuracy of Mammography: Volume and Outcome Relationships. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2002, Vol. 94, No. 5, 369-375, March 6.

Gale, A.G., Roebuck, E.J., Riley, P. & Worthington, B.S.: Computer aids to mammography diagnosis. British Journal of Radiology, 1987,60, 887­891.

Wooding, D.S., Mugglestone, M.D., Purdy, K.J. and Gale, A.G.: Eye movements of large populations: I. Implementation and performance of an autonomous public eye tracker. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 2002, 34(4), 509-517.

View central admin publications database entry.

External Activities

Journal Activity

  • Associate Editor: Journal of Eye Movement Research
  • Referee for various journals

Learned Societies and Professional Affiliations

British Psychological Society

  • Fellow
  • Chartered Psychologist
  • Chartered Health Psychologist
  • Cognitive Psychology Section - member
  • Division of Health Psychology  - member

Ergonomics Society

  • Fellow
  • Registered Ergonomist
  • Formerly Honorary Treasurer and a member of Council.

Royal College of Radiologists

  • Honorary Fellow – the first psychologist to be so honoured.
  • Royal College of Radiologists' Breast Group – honorary member
  • Member of the NHS Breast Screening Programme/Royal College of Radiologists Working Group on Computer Aided Detection (CAD) in Breast Screening

British Institute of Radiology

  • member

Medical Image Perception Society

  • organizing committee member

Experimental Psychology Society

  • member

European Group for Eye Movement Research

  • member

Applied Vision Association

  • member
  • former vice-chairperson

International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences (Japan)

  • Special Overseas Advisor

National Association of Cytologist

  • honorary member

Invited Lectures/Keynotes

  • 2007 Scandinavian Workshop on Applied Eye-tracking, Lund, Sweden
  • 2006 Institute of Advanced Motorists Driver Safety Conference, London
  • 2006 European Association for Vision and Eye Research, Portugal
  • 2006 International Medical Thinking Symposium, London
  • 2005 Breast Imaging Update, Royal Society, London
  • 2004 Royal College of Radiologists’ Breast Group, London
  • 2004 Patient Safety Conference, Birmingham
  • 2004 IPEM conference on ‘Seeing & Believing: Viewing the Image’, York
  • 2004 British ocular motor group meeting, London
  • 2004 UK Radiological Congress, Manchester
  • 2003 NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, Cervical Screening Open Day, Royal College of Physicians, London
  • 2001 NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, Cervical Screening Open Day, Royal College of Physicians, London
  • 2001 National Association of Cytologists meeting, Warwick
  • 2001 Clinical Management Conference, University of Keele
  • 2001 UK Radiological Congress, London 
  • 1999 International Sports Vision Conference, Manchester
  • 1999 Marie Curie Conference for Breast Cancer Screening, Cambridge
  • 1998 UCSF, San Francisco, USA
  • 1998 National Association of Cytologists meeting, Worcester
  • 1998 Royal College of Radiologists’ Breast Group
  • 1998 British Institute of Radiology meeting, Cardiff
  • 1998 Royal College of Radiologists Breast Group,  Manchester
  • 1997 Breast Imaging Group of the Royal Australasian College of Radiologists, Port Douglas, Australia ( 2 invited presentations)
  • 1997 Fifth International Marie Curie conference on Breast cancer screening,  Cambridge
  • 1997 National Association of Cytologists Conference, Warwick
  • 1997 Nottingham conference on Cytology, Nottingham 
  • 1996 Department of Transport and Child Pedestrian Accident Trust, Warwick
  • 1996 International Conference on Digital Mammography, Chicago, USA
  • 1995 Royal College of Radiologists Breast Group meeting, Winchester
  • 1995 International Road Vehicle Automation Conference, Bolton
  • 1995 Radiological Centenary Congress, Birmingham
  • 1993 British Oculomotor Group annual conference, Manchester
  • 1993 Fifth Farwest Medical Image International Conference, Newport, Rhode Island, USA
  • 1993 Harvard University – Grand Rounds, Boston, USA
  • 1993 Philadelphia Hospitals, USA
  • 1993 Third International Cambridge Conference on Breast Screening, Cambridge
  • 1992 Royal College of Radiologists' Breast Group, Harrogate
  • 1991 Mammographic image analysis Workshop, Winchester
  • 1990 BMVA: Attention in Human and Machine Vision, London
  • 1989 British Institute of Radiology Congress,  Eastbourne
  • 1989 BIR, Computer Based Methods in Mammographic Screening,  London
  • 1983 Quality  Assurance  Seminar ‑ joint meeting of the College of Radiographers  and  the Hospital Physicists Association, Nottingham
  • 1983 AVA, Visual  Search  and   Eye   Movements, Birmingham
  • 1982 Joint  radiological  meeting of the Royal College  of  Radiologists  and  the  British Institute of Radiology, Nottingham



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