Dr Aline Bompas


Research group:
Cognitive Science
029 208 70709
Tower Building, Park Place

Research summary

My research focuses on visuo-motor processes, such as rapidly responding with eye or hand movements to changes in visual signals. My aim is to uncover how the human brain takes these rapid decisions, and for this I rely on sophisticated analysis of behaviour, computational modelling and electrophysiology (EEG, MEG). I apply this research to better understand fluctuations in performance within individuals, as well as individual differences in the healthy population and clinical conditions such Alzheimer’s disease.

Teaching summary

I am coordinating the MSc “Brain Imaging of Perception and Action” module and deliver one year 2 Perception and Action practical. I am also a coordinator of the Placement Scheme and organises the international departmental talk series (Colloquia).

Selected publications (2014 onwards)


Full list of publications


Research topics and related papers

My team uses a combination of techniques to better understand visuo-motor performance, its physiological underpinning and how it may differ within and across people:

Here are some of my main projects and most relevant related papers:

Computational modelling of visuo-motor decisions. My team uses a range of models (linear accumulators, diffusion, neural field models) to offer quantitative approaches to behaviour and explicitly links to brain activity.

Bompas, A. E. D., Hedge, C. and Sumner, P. 2017. Speeded saccadic and manual visuo-motor decisions: distinct processes but same principles. Cognitive Psychology 94, pp. 26-52. (10.1016/j.cogpsych.2017.02.002df

Bompas, A. E. D. and Sumner, P. 2015. Saccadic inhibition and the remote distractor effect: One mechanism or two?. Journal of Vision 15(6), article number: 15. (10.1167/15.6.15)

Bompas, A. E. D. and Sumner, P. 2011. Saccadic inhibition reveals the timing of automatic and voluntary signals in the human brain. The Journal of Neuroscience 31(35), pp. 12501-12512. (10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2234-11.2011df

Neural basis of variability in visuo-motor behaviours and the effect of age and Alzheimer’s disease. We use behavioural tasks and MEG recordings to better understand why performance varies across time, and how these fluctuations are affected with age and dementia.

Bompas, A.et al. 2015. The contribution of pre-stimulus neural oscillatory activity to spontaneous response time variability. NeuroImage 107, pp. 34-45. (10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.11.057df

Bayer, A.et al. 2014. Abnormal inhibition of return in mild cognitive impairment: is it specific to the presence of prodromal dementia?. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease 40(1), pp. 177-189. (10.3233/JAD-131934)

Tales, A.et al. 2012. Intra-individual reaction time variability in aMCI: A precursor to dementia?. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease 32(2), pp. 457-466. (10.3233/JAD-2012-120505)

Visual Perception: How do we learn to perceive? How do we distinguish the real from the illusory?

Powell, G.et al. 2016. Interaction between contours and eye movements in the perception of afterimages: A test of the signal ambiguity theory. Journal of Vision 16(7), article number: 16. (10.1167/16.7.16df

Powell, G., Sumner, P. and Bompas, A. E. D. 2015. The effect of eye movements and blinks on afterimage appearance and duration. Journal of Vision 15(3), pp. 1-15, article number: 20. (10.1167/15.3.20df

Bompas, A. E. D., Powell, G. and Sumner, P. 2013. Systematic biases in adult color perception persist despite lifelong information sufficient to calibrate them. Journal of Vision 13(1), article number: 19. (10.1167/13.1.19)

Powell, G., Bompas, A. E. D. and Sumner, P. 2012. Making the incredible credible: Afterimages are modulated by contextual edges more than real stimuli. Journal of Vision 12(10), article number: 17. (10.1167/12.10.17)

Bompas, A. E. D. and O'Regan, J. K. 2006. More evidence for sensorimotor adaptation in color perception. Journal of Vision 6(2), article number: 5. (10.1167/6.2.5)

Bompas, A. E. D. and O'Regan, J. K. 2006. Evidence for a role of action in colour perception. Perception -London- 35(1), pp. 65-78. (10.1068/p5356df

Which neuronal pathways contribute to visuo-oculomotor control?

Sumner, P.et al. 2010. More GABA, less distraction: a neurochemical predictor of motor decision speed. Nature Neuroscience 13(7), pp. 825-827. (10.1038/nn.2559)

Bompas, A. E. D. and Sumner, P. 2009. Oculomotor Distraction by Signals Invisible to the Retinotectal and Magnocellular Pathways. Journal of Neurophysiology 102(4), pp. 2387-2395. (10.1152/jn.00359.2009)

Bompas, A. E. D. and Sumner, P. 2009. Temporal dynamics of saccadic distraction. Journal of Vision 9(9), article number: 17. (10.1167/9.9.17)

Bompas, A.et al. 2008. Naso-temporal asymmetry for signals invisible to the retinotectal pathway. Journal of Neurophysiology 100(1), pp. 412-421. (10.1152/jn.90312.2008)

Bompas, A. E. D. and Sumner, P. 2008. Sensory sluggishness dissociates saccadic, manual, and perceptual responses: An S-cone study. Journal of Vision 8(8), pp. 1-13. (10.1167/8.8.10)


2013-2016: ESRC grant (£633,613) “A framework and toolkit for understanding impulsive action”, co-written with Petroc Sumner (PI), Chris Chambers, Casimir Ludwig, Frederick Verbruggen and Fred Boy.

Research group

Action Control Group: Pr Petroc Sumner, Dr Geoffrey Mégardon, Marlou Perquin, Dr Georgie Powell, Dr Craig Hedge, Dr Jiaxiang Zhang, Maciej Szul, Solveiga Vivian-Griffith

Research collaborators

Internal: School of Psychology: Petroc Sumner, Geoffrey Mégardon, Marlou Perquin, Georgie Powell, Craig Hedge, Jiaxiang Zhang, Christoph Teufel, Krish Singh, Loes Koelewijn, Diana Dima

Psychology Department, Bristol University: Pr Iain Gilchrist, Dr Casimir Ludwig
Lyon Neuroscience Research Center: Dr Jérémie Mattout, Jean-Philippe Lachaux, Vania Herbillon, Denis Pélisson, Alessandro Farnè, Judith Nicolas
Dr Andrea Tales (Swansea University), Pr Tony Bayer (Cardiff University)

Postgraduate research interests

All action decisions are subject to spontaneous fluctuations, resulting in large variability in speed and accuracy across time. My approach focuses on fast visuo-motor decisions and I am specifically interested in the following questions:

  • What is the balance of stochasticity and determinism in simple decisions, including free-choice?
  • What is the temporal structure and electrophysiological correlates of endogenous variance?
  • To what extent future decisions can be predicted from recent behaviour and brain activity?
  • What are the metacognitive correlates of poor performance?
  • What underlies hypervariability in attention disorders, hyperactivity or dementia?

If you are interested in applying for a PhD, or for further information regarding my postgraduate research, please contact me directly (contact details available on the 'Overview' page), or submit a formal application here.

Current students

Marlou Perquin

Previous students

Georgie Powell

Undergraduate education

1995-1998: Scientifique Baccalauréat and preparatory school in biology, mathematics, physics and chemistry at Lycée Chaptal (Paris).

1998-2001: master degree in biology from the Institut National Agronomique de Paris.

Postgraduate education

2000-2001: advanced master degree in cognitive sciences (DEA de sciences cognitives de Paris).

2001-2005: PhD student at the Laboratoire de Psychologie Expérimentale, CNRS, Université Paris 5 (UMR8581), supervised by Kevin O’Regan and Joelle Proust (Institut Jean Nicod). Grant from the French Research and Technology Ministry. Thesis on “The application of the sensorimotor approach to colour perception”.


2015-present: Lecturer at the School of Psychology, Cardiff University

2012-2015: Research Associate at the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, in the DYCOG team, “EEG monitoring for the anticipation of performance”, funded by the French ministry of defence

2006-2012: Research Associate at the School of Psychology, Cardiff University

2005-2006: research fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Department of Computational Psychophysics, Tübingen, Germany, award from the Fyssen Fondation.