Dr Elena Gheorghiu

Senior Lecturer

Psychology University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Dr Elena Gheorghiu

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About me

About me

I was awarded my PhD from Utrecht University, the Netherlands working on binocular vision, in particular, on temporal aspects of stereopsis. I have held a post-doctoral research fellow position at McGill University, Canada working on contour-shape perception and a Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) Fellowship at the University of Leuven, Belgium working on texture-shape processing. I am currently a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, at the University of Stirling.

Research Interests

I am interested in human visual perception and how the brain processes visual information. Visual processing is a hierarchical process of feature extraction and combination, with features increasing in complexity as one progresses along the visual pathway from retina to primary visual cortex and then to intermediate and higher visual areas. My studies of human vision focus on the relationship between the initial stages of vision that detect simple features and the intermediate-to-higher stages of vision that connect these features to form contours, textures, surfaces and shapes. I study human vision in both perceptual and physiological terms by using psychophysics, EEG/ ERP and computational modelling.


Winner and 1st Prize of the Best Visual Illusion of the Year contest (2007) for the "Leaning Tower Illusion “, by Fred Kingdom, Ali Yoonessi and Elena Gheorghiu, awarded by the Neural Correlate Society, USA. http://illusionoftheyear.com/2007/05/the-leaning-tower-illusion/

PhD Opportunities

I am always pleased to hear from potential graduate students and postdocs. I am happy to supervise PhD studies in the area of human visual perception. There are currently two self-funded available PhD projects. If you are interested in applying for PhD studies, research fellowships or internships/ scholarships under my supervision, please contact me by email.

Research (2)

My research interests include: shape perception, texture processing, contextual effects, binocular vision and stereopsis, colour vision, motion perception, symmetry perception, spatial vision, perceptual organisation and visual illusions. To read about my recent research go to my Outputs/Publications.


  • 2024-2027 EPSRC, United Kingdom
  • 2023 MoD-DSTL, United Kingdom
  • 2016 - 2019 Leverhulme Trust research grant, United Kingdom
  • 2015 - 2019 Wellcome Trust Investigator in Science grant, United Kingdom
  • 2011 - 2012 Kredit aan Navorsers grant, Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), Belgium
  • 2009 - 2012 FWO Research Fellowship, Research Foundation Flanders, Belgium



Dr Rebecca Sharman (11/2015 - 09/2018) - currently lecturer at Abertay University;
Dr Damien Wright (01/2017 - 03/2019) - currently postdoctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh

PhD students:

Samuel Bennett (2018 - present) - co-supervisor.


Towards a better understanding of mirror-symmetry in human vision
PI: Dr Elena Gheorghiu
Funded by: The Wellcome Trust

Elucidating the role of colour in shape processing in human vision
PI: Dr Elena Gheorghiu
Funded by: The Leverhulme Trust

Outputs (61)


Book Chapter

Kingdom FAA, Yoonessi A & Gheorghiu E (2017) Leaning Tower Illusion. In: Shapiro A & Todorovic D (eds.) The Oxford Compendium of Visual Illusions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 221-226. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-oxford-compendium-of-visual-illusions-9780199794607?cc=gb〈=en&#

Meeting Abstract

Vancleef K, Putzeys T, Gheorghiu E, Machilsen B & Wagemans J (2011) Region-based texture segregation and orientation-similarity grouping. Vision Sciences Society Meeting 2011, Naples, FL, USA, 06/05/2011 - 11/05/2011. Journal of Vision, 11 (11), p. 1080. http://www.visionsciences.org/documents/VSS2011_Program.pdf; https://doi.org/10.1167/11.11.1080

Meeting Abstract

Kingdom FAA, Bell J, Malkoc G & Gheorghiu E (2010) Chromatic variations suppress supra-threshold brightness variations. Vision Sciences Society Meeting 2010, Naples, FL, USA, 07/05/2010 - 12/05/2010. Journal of Vision, 10 (7), p. 384. http://www.journalofvision.org/content/10/7/384; https://doi.org/10.1167/10.7.384

Meeting Abstract

Gheorghiu E, Kingdom FAA, Bell J & Gurnsey R (2010) Why do certain spatial after-effects increase with eccentricity?. Vision Sciences Society Meeting 2010, Naples, FL, USA, 07/05/2010 - 12/05/2010. Journal of Vision, 10 (7), p. 1168. http://www.journalofvision.org/content/10/7/1168; https://doi.org/10.1167/10.7.1168

Meeting Abstract

Gheorghiu E, Kingdom FAA & Witney E (2008) Size and shape-frequency after-effects: same or different mechanism?. Vision Sciences Society Meeting 2008, Naples, FL, USA, 09/05/2008 - 14/05/2008. Journal of Vision, 8 (6), p. 936. http://www.journalofvision.org/content/8/6/936.short; https://doi.org/10.1167/8.6.936


Kingdom FAA, Yoonessi A & Gheorghiu E (2007) Leaning Tower illusion. Scholarpedia, 2 (12), Art. No.: 5392. http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Leaning_tower_illusion; https://doi.org/10.4249/scholarpedia.5392

Meeting Abstract

Kingdom FAA & Gheorghiu E (2006) On the mechanisms for contour-shape after-effects. Vision Sciences Society Meeting 2006, 05/05/2006 - 11/05/2006. Journal of Vision, 6 (6), p. 339. http://www.journalofvision.org/content/6/6/339.short; https://doi.org/10.1167/6.6.339

Meeting Abstract

Gheorghiu E & Erkelens CJ (2003) Depth from rapidly alternating disparities. Journal of Vision, 3 (9), Art. No.: 464. http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?partnerID=yv4JPVwI&eid=2-s2.0-4243057337&md5=ce46f4e4f126e45cbc4ec6695bfd1424; https://doi.org/10.1167/3.9.464

Meeting Abstract

Gheorghiu E & Erkelens CJ (2001) Temporal processing of interocular correlation. Perception, 30 (ECVP Abstract Supplement), pp. 75-75. http://www.perceptionweb.com/abstract.cgi?id=v010095



I am Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and contribute to teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels

• PSYU9X7 – Neuropsychology of Vision
• PSYU917 – Psychology Research Project
• PRMP148 – MSc Work Placement (coordinator and placement host)
• PSYPDIP/ PSYP145 – Psychology MSc Dissertation projects
• PRMP139 – Advances in Perception and Action

Learning & Teaching Enhancement Awards

• Stirling Enhancement of Learning Fund (SELF) Award (10/2014 - 05/2015);
Project: ‘Enhancing our peer-led teaching of statistics’ ( £805 ) – Elena Gheorghiu (PI), Roger Watt (co-I)

• Stirling Enhancement of Learning Fund (SELF) Award (10/2015 - 05/2016);
Project: ‘Capitalizing on legacy for role models in student leadership’ (£1000) – Roger Watt (PI), Elena Gheorghiu (co-I), Rebecca Skinner, Francesca Worsnop, Elisabeth Collins ( co-applicants)