I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Exeter, in the Sensory Ecology research group.

I am interested in how humans and other animals perceive the world and how they use this information to make decisions.




Motion dazzle

Dazzle bug

My PhD research was on how camouflage patterns interfere with motion perception, and in particular whether certain types of high contrast patterning (such as stripes or zigzags) can affect speed or direction perception. This idea has been termed ‘motion dazzle’ and it has been hypothesised that it may explain some of the striking patterning seen in many animals, including zebras and many snakes, fish and insects. The interaction of patterning and motion also has implications for human camouflage design & our general understanding of how we perceive moving objects. I have conducted experiments using human participants and a variety of psychophysical techniques, including eye tracking and modelling.


My PhD was carried out under the supervision of Dr David Tolhurst (University of Cambridge) and Dr Martin Stevens (University of Exeter) and was funded by a CASE studentship from BBSRC/Dstl.

In collaboration with Dr Laura Kelley and Foam Kernow, I have been involved in setting up The Dazzle Bug Game, an online citizen science game aimed at finding out what makes a moving target difficult to catch.

Find out more about the project on its website.



Šulc M., Troscianko J., Štětková G. Hughes, A.E, Jelínek, V., Capek, M., Honza, M. 2019. Mimicry cannot explain rejection type in a host- brood parasite system. Animal Behaviour. 155:111-118. 

Hughes, A.E., Liggins, E., Stevens, M. 2019. Imperfect camouflage: how to hide in a variable world? Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Griffiths, A.G.F., Modinou, I., Heslop, C., Brand, C., Weatherill, A., Baker, K., Hughes, A.E., Lewis, J., de Mora, L., Mynott, S., Roberts, K.E., Griffiths, D.J. 2019. AccessLab: Workshops to broaden access to scientific research. PLOS Biology. 


Hughes, A.E., Greenwood, J.A., Finlayson, N.J. & Schwarzkopf, D.S. 2019. Population receptive field estimates for motion defined stimuli. NeuroImage.


Hughes, A.E. 2018. Dissociation between perception and smooth pursuit eye movements in speed judgments of moving Gabor targets. Journal of Vision. 18:4. (Data available here).


Hughes, A.E., Jones, C. Joshi, K. & Tolhurst, DJ. 2017. Diverted by dazzle: perceived movement direction is biased by target pattern orientation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 284:1850.


Hughes, A.E*., Southwell, R.V*., Gilchrist, I.D. & Tolhurst, D.J. 2016. Quantifying peripheral and foveal perceived differences in natural image patches to predict visual search performance. Journal of Vision. 16:18.


Hughes, A.E., Magor-Elliott, R.S., & Stevens M. 2015. The role of stripe orientation in target capture success. Frontiers in Zoology. 12:17.

Hughes, A.E. Troscianko, J. & Stevens, M. 2014. Motion dazzle and the effects of target patterning on capture success. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 14:201.

Troscianko, J., Lown, A.E., Hughes, A.E. & Stevens, M. 2013. Defeating crypsis: detection and learning of camouflage strategies. PLoS ONE. 8: e73733.



Email: a dot hughes2 at exeter dot ac dot uk

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