Tony Dickinson

Email: tony at


University of Edinburgh, PhD.
University of Edinburgh, Pre-Clinical Veterinary Sciences. (Dip.Neurosci)
University of Sussex, Neuroethology. B.Sc.(Hons)
British Psychological Society: Chartered Psychologist. (C.Psychol)

Visiting research fellow to the Snyder Lab of the McDonnell Centre for Higher Brain Function at Washington University School of Medicine. Principle researches include investigating electrophysiological correlates of hand-eye coordination behaviour in posterior parietal regions of the brain.
As lecturer in Psychology and Medicine, courses taught include those concerned with Comparative Animal Cognition and the Biological Basis of Behaviour.

1991-1999: Faculty professor in Comparative Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.
Master (Warden) of Salisbury Green Halls of Residence, University of Edinburgh.
Teaching duties included Comparative Animal Cognition, Neuropsychology, Psychopathology, Experimental Psychology & Research Methods, Philosophy of Psychology and Philosophy of Science.
Administrative duties included intake selection, schools liaison, special needs tutor and student grants administration.
Concurrent research was conducted within the Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience and Intelligent Systems (dir: Dr. Brendan McGonigle) and included cognitive aspects of comparative intellectual development with Cebus apella monkeys, birds, human children and clinical outpatients. Other research under Tony's supervision has involved the study of a wide variety of naturalistic behaviours of exotic animal species, both in captivity (largely involving the extensive collection of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland) and wild populations of various primate species in Kenya, Gabon, Bolivia and Costa Rica. Other supervised student projects have recruited both human and non-human primates, cetaceae, ungulates, birds and insects covering a broad range of comparative topics including sex behaviour, social dynamics and organisation, feeding and communication behaviours.


McDonnell-Pew CNS Investigator-Initiated Grant (PI) 2000-2003.
British Psychological Society: Chartered Psychologist (C.Psychol.), 2000.
ASAB Research Grant Award (PI) 1997,1998.
UFAW Research Grants (PI x4) 1997, 1998.
R(D)SVS Visiting Research Fellowship 1990.
MRC Advanced Studentship 1987-88.


American Association for the Advancement of Science
British Psychological Society
British Brain Research Association
International Brain Research Organisation
International Primatological Society
New York Academy of Sciences
Primate Society of Great Britain
Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
Society for Neuroscience
Scottish Primate Group
Vision Sciences Society.


People Impact Consulting (Asia) Ltd.
Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
Brighton Dolphinarium and Aquaria
Paraphysics Laboratories, Downton, Wilts.
International Social Sciences Institute, Edinburgh.
Reviewer/editor for var. Intl. Journals/Publishers.


When not in the lab, Tony is usually to be found either wandering urban neighbourhoods in search of wildlife, or out in the Mountains, Lakes & other Wilderness areas of the World with his wife Diane, two rucksacks and a towel. Often hiking long distances for charity, they have walked more than 1200 miles over the last 12 months, in aid of epilepsy research and help fund mentally disabled competitive athletes.
(Click here to make a donation in aid of either epilepsy sufferers Epilepsy Foundation of St. Louis or to help support local mental disabilty athletic team training Special Olympics, Missouri)
Tony is still pleased to be able to say that he neither owns, nor drives, a motor car.


TD's current research is conducted at the electrophysiological level and aims to discover the neural mechanisms underlying the higher cognitive functions involved in action planning and the decision-based execution of goal-directed movements. There is currently no clear explanation as to how the brain integrates its somatotopically organised regions to produce coherent spatial information, and the issue of its role in guiding motor action has remained even more remote. We are, however, steadily coming to know more about the how, and where, in the brain that visual information is being used and coordinated in the formation of motor plans.

The telencephalic areas of the brain thought to be involved in planning movement could be organized according to the body part to be moved, or to the task to be performed. This distinction is central to understanding the neural architecture of movement. Much of the previous work on early movement planning has focused almost exclusively on organization by body-part. However, there could be more at hand than meets the eye. For example, eye and hand movement signals are known to be coded in distinctly separate regions of the brain, but the way in which the brain integrates and organizes these signals to produce guided motor action through space remains to be determined. Some of the data is consistent with a task-based organization. For example, there are premotor neurons which are activated when we perform grasping movements, regardless of whether the hand or mouth is used. We test the hypothesis that movement planning in parietal cortex is organized, in part or in whole, by task. One potential candidate for study is the parietal cortex, long known to receive visual inputs from peristriate cortex and the frontal premotor areas, lesions to which in both human and monkey areas have resulted in well documented optic and visuomotor ataxias. The posterior parietal reach region (PRR) is known to code goal locations for upcoming arm but not eye movements. This could reflect body-part based organization. The critical distinction, however, may be reaching versus looking, not moving the arm versus moving the eye. To test this, we record from single neurons whilst primates plan reaches with either the arm or the leg, or plan eye movements, all to the same target. We thereby determine whether, and to what extent, activity depends on the particular task (look versus reach) compared to the body-part to be moved (eye, arm, or leg). The underlying neural circuits involved in the planning of eye, arm and leg movements may thus become characterized, and the results used to help explain the planning and execution of goal-directed movements.


2001 - Present:

Calton, J.L., Dickinson, A.R. & Snyder, L.H. (2002) Non-spatial motor-specific activation in posterior parietal cortex. Nature Neuroscience 5, No.6: pp 580-588 Nature Neuroscience

Dickinson, A.R. (2005) The Encyclopoedia of Stupidity. Metapychology Review

Dickenson, A.R. (2003) Metaphors of the human mind, if not of human memory. Theoria et Historia Scientiarum 7(2). Nicolaus Copernicus University Press. Theoria et Historia Scientiarum

Dickinson, A.R. (2003) Looking and seeing with the mind's I, and it's brain. Psych 9(11). April, 2003. Psyche

Dickinson, A.R. (2003) The evolution of intelligence and the developing Brain. Hong Kong Society for Neuroscience, SAR, People's Republic of China.

Dickinson, A.R. (2003) Phantoms of the brain, or of the mind ? Review of Ramachandran & Blakeslee (1999) MetaPsy Review

Dickinson, A.R. (2003) Why smart people can be so stupid ? Review of R.J.Sternberg (Ed). Human Nature Review 3: 158-159. Human Nature Review

Dickinson, A.R. (2002) Single unit recording in the brain during visually-guided movements of the awake, behaving monkey. Annual Neuroscience Workshop of the International Brain Research Organisation, Chinese University of Hong Kong, HK.

Dickinson, A.R., Calton, J.L. & Snyder, L.H. (2003) Non-spatial saccade-specific activation in area LIP of monkey parietal cortex. J. Neurophysiol 90: 2460-2464. J. Neurophysiology

Dickinson, T.R., Calton, J.L., Lawrence, B. & Snyder, L.H. (2002) Interactions between spatial and effector-specific information in distinct areas of monkey posterior parietal cortex (& FEF). Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, SFN, Orlando, USA. November, 2002. SFN Abstract

Dickinson, A. R. (2002). Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation by Olivia Judson. Human Nature Review 2: 411-412. Human Nature Review

Dickinson, A.R., Calton, J. & Snyder, L.S. (2002) Non-spatial motor-specific activations of two distinct regions of posterior parietal cortex. Jnl. Vision Vol. 1 No. 3. Abst. 234. Jnl. Vision: 1(3)

McGonigle, B., Chalmers, M. & Dickinson, A. (2003) Concurrent disjoint and reciprocal classification by Cebus apella in seriation tasks: evidence for hierarchical organization. Animal Cognition 6: epub pdf ahead of print

McGonigle, B.O, McGonigle, M. & Dickinson, T.R. (2001) Assessing the adaptive value of cognitive organisation in monkeys : the growth of classification and seriation in Cebus apella. Special symposium contribution 'Monkeys in cyberspace'. Abstracts of the XVIIIth Congress of the International Primatological Society. Adelaide, Australia. January 2001. Symposia abstract

Snyder, L.H., Calton, J.L., Dickinson, A.R. & Lawrence, B.M. (2002) Eye-hand coordination: Saccades are faster when accompanied by a coordinated arm movement. Journal of Neurophysiology 87: pp 2279-2286. J. Neurophysiology


Dickinson, A.R. (2000) Still in Search of the Engram ? PSYCOLOQUY 11(037) Psycoloquy Review (

Dickinson, A.R. (1999) Optimising the laboratory environment for studying Animal Cognition. (Invited contribution) Laboratory Primate Newsletter 38, No.3. pp 5-8.LPN Online

Dickinson, A.R. (1997) Hierarchical Organisation in Serial Search Tasks by Cebus apella monkeys. Unpublished PhD Thesis. University of Edinburgh.

Dickinson, A.R., Calton, J. & Snyder, L.S. (2001) Non-spatial motor-specific activations of two distinct regions of posterior parietal cortex. Proceedings of the 1st Annual meeting of the Vision Sciences Society, Sarasota, Florida, USA. May 2001.

Dickinson, T. (1997) The Dickinson 'So ya think ya know your Psychology, eh ?' Quiz for the new century. Dept of Psychology FinalYear Book. University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. (updated anually to 2000) Current Answer Set

Dickinson, T. (1998) The Integrator for Introductory Psychology. Newsletter of CTI Psychology 8. No.3. pp 95-99.

Dickinson, A.R. & McGonigle, B.O. (1996) The serial position effect on by Cebus apella. Abstracts of the XVIth Congress of the International Primatological Society. Madison, USA. August 1996.

Dickinson A.R. & McDonald, A.A. (1991) The Foetal Placenta of the Marmoset Monkey: Scanning Electron Microscopy. R(D)SVS Reports. University of Edinburgh.

Dickinson T. (1993) A pigeon without choice is not a pigeon. Annual proceedings of the British Psychological Society, Abstracts of the Annual Psy-Pag Conference, University of Ulster at Colleraine, Northern Ireland.

Dickinson, T. (1991) A Further Tribute to Benson Herbert. Jnl. Soc. Psychical Research 58. pp123-124.

Eastcott, A. & Dickinson, T. (1987). Underwater observations of the suckling and social behaviour of a newly born bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Aquatic Mammals 13. pp 51-56.

McGonigle B. O., De Lillo, C. & Dickinson, T. (1992) Serial order induced in Children and monkeys. Abstracts of the 5th European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Seville, Spain.

McGonigle, B.O., DeLillo, C. & Dickinson, A.R. (in prep.) Self-organised spatial search strategies in Cebus apella and children. By invitation to: Quart. Jnl. Exp. Psych. B.

McGonigle, B.O. & Dickinson, A.R. (1994) Classification to order: A comparative analysis of categorical seriation in monkey and man. Abstracts of the XVth Congress of the International Primatological Society. Bali, Indonesia. August 1994.

McGonigle, B.O. & Dickinson, A.R. (1996) Multiple classification within a seriation task by Cebus apella: evidence for cognitive heirarchical organisation. Abstracts of the XVIth Congress of the International Primatological Society. Madison, USA. August 1996.

McGonigle, B.O. & Dickinson, A.R. (1998) An Evaluation or the cognitive utility of hierarchical and linear organisation in serial learning by Cebus apella Abstracts of the XVIIth Congress of the International Primatological Society. Antananarivo, Madagascar. August 1998.

McGonigle, B.O., McGonigle, M. & Dickinson, A.R. (2003, In prep) Classification to order: A comparative analysis of categorical seriation in monkey and man.

BOOKS REVIEWED by TD: (Alpha-numeric listing by first author of volume)

Braun, J., Koch, C. & Davis, J.L. (Eds.) 2001. Visual attention and cortical circuits. MIT Press. Cambridge, MA. Psyche online

Cummins & Allen [Eds] (1998) The Evolution Of Mind. Oxford University Press. Review online

De Waal (2001) The Ape and the Sushi Master: Cultural reflections of a primatologist. Basic Books. New York, NY. Review online

Draaisma, D (2000) Metaphors of Memory: A History of Ideas About the Mind. Cambridge University Press. MetaPsy Philosophy Review

Edelman, G.& Tononi, (2000) The Universe of Consiousness: How matter becomes consciousness. Basic Books. NY. Review online

Freidberg, F. (2001) Do-It-Yourself Eye Movement Techniques for Emotional Healing. New Harbinger. Review online

Greenfield, S. (2000) The Private Life of the Brain: Emotions, Consciousness, and the Secret of the Self. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.Review online

Gould, S (2000) The Theory of Options: A New Theory of the Evolution of Human Behavior. Universal Publishers/, 2001. Metapsy Review

Hobson, J. Allan, (1999) Consciousness. W.H.Freeman. NY.Review online

Judson, O. (2002) Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation. Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt & Co., LLC. New York, NY. Human Nature Review

Kolata, G (1997) Clone: The Road to Dolly and the Path Ahead. Allen Lane, The Penguin Press. London. MetaPsy Genetics Review

Karlen, A. (1996) Plague's Progress: A Social History of Man and Disease. Putnam Berkley Group Inc., New York.Review Online

Kohn, A.J. & Kohn, W. (1999) The Integrator for Introductory Psychology, 2.0. Wadsworth Pub Co. (Cd-Rom edition)

Kohn, A.J. & Kohn, W. (1998) The Integrator for Biological Psychology' Wadsworth Pub Co. (Cd-Rom edition)

Milner, P.M. (1999) The Autonomous Brain: A Neural Theory of Attention and Learning. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. NJ. USA.Psycoloquy Review (

Mountcastle, V.B. (1998) Perceptual Neuroscience: The Cerebral Cortex. Harvard University Press Review Online

Ramachandran, V. & Blakeslee, S. (1999) Phantoms of the Brain: Probing the mysteries of the human mind. HarperCollins (Quill Edition), New York. Metapsy Review

Skoyles, J.R. & Sagan, D. (2002) Up from Dragons: The evolution of human intelligence. McGraw-Hill. New York, NY.Review Online

Sternberg, R.J. (Ed.) 2002. Why smart people can be so stupid. Yale University Press. New Haven. USA. Human Nature Review

Van Boxsel, M. (2003) The Encyclopoedia of Stupidity. Reaktion Books. Review Online

Yup Lee (2000) Man as the Prayer: The origin and nature of mankind. Trafford Publishing. Victoria, Canada. MetaPsy Genetics Review


Live at the Marquis - (TD-Jazz trumpet) - Four Aces
Danse Cosmrythm (Incl. ClockworkCosmos & LoooseFish) - Cosmrythm
Leicester Square Dances (TD - synths & var Blk Boxes) - Cosmrythm
Beyond Hawaii (+ whale, dolphin and birdsong tracks) - Cosmrythm

Some tracks from the above albums are currently available e.g., Clockwork Cosmos, Cosmic Journey, Chinese Tropical Nightmusic. Free Cosmrythm Track Downloads (as mp3 direct from


The Dickinson PSYCHOLOGY QUIZ 2000

Answer Set


1. Tricky, there was no such person
2. An aid to memory
3. An alcoholic drink
4. Diagnostic & Statistical Manual 3rd Ed.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (revised)
Computerised axial tomography
5. Attitude & decision making based within the external group's attitudes and decisions
6. Pavlov
7. To eleviate a phobia
8. In the head/brain ? - the opening of the dura mater through which the brain stem passes
9. An imbecile
10.14 - 25 Hz


1. The Ponzo illusion [F]
2. "Seashore tests" [F]
3. Stanley Millgram [F]
4. Piblokto in snow [T]
5. Adolescent mind [T]
6. John Lilly [T]
7. Cocktail party [F]
8. Hitler's 'tache [T]
9. Bearded men [F]
10.YAVIS synd. [T]
11.Pavlov claim [T]
12.Loose pants ? [T]


1. Cracker = Robbie Coltrane + bonus question: Policeman = Ecclestone
2. Sellers as Psychiat. film = What's New Pussycat + bonus question: Singer = Tom Jones
3. Hoffman's Raymond
4. Radio 4's Dr. Anthony Clair
5. BBC Scotland's drama 'Taking over the asylum'
6. Woody Allen film Zelig
7. Star Trek "empath" Dianne Troi
8. Cuckoo's nest occupant Jack Nicholson
9. Erotomaniac Carmel
10. Magazine = Cosmopolitan
11. Adventure novels of Enid Blyton
12. Dodgy therapist Brad
13. Neurologist's books -> film and an opera = Oliver Sachs + bonus questions: Awakenings, Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, Jonathan Miller
14. Richard and Judy's Raj

D. CALL MY PSYCHOLOGICAL BLUFF (some surprises here, eh?)

1 a loss of visual accomodation
2 a trauma involving an inability to cope with rapid change
3 the study of animal evolutionary taxonomy
4 another term for psychedelic drugs
5 the belief that close relatives & friends are imposters
6 a visual illusion used to prepare ectoplasmic stage effects
7 the study of death and dying
8 a movement dedicated to the study of +ve thinking
9 another term for a 'Freudian Slip'
10 a delusion in which a man believes he has become a woman
11 the study of crackpots (c/o Prof. Carberry, Brown University)
12 experiment looking at child aggression after their watching
cartoons showing violence (Ref. Bandara)