Dr Mel McKendrick

Assistant Professor in Psychology, Heriot-Watt University

Dr Mel McKendrick is a Chartered Experimental Psychologist and Assistant Professor in Psychology at Heriot-Watt University. She is also CEO of Optomize Ltd., a medical training research and software company, which uses eye-tracking technology along with a range of cognitive measures to provide medical training packages based on objective assessment and feedback. She draws upon 15 years’ experience of eye tracking to provide psychological and cognitive behavioural measures and has extensive experience of experimental design and analysis in clinical contexts and in real world testing. She works across disciplines with clinicians, academics, SMEs and wider industry to develop problem-based solutions for social and performance processing. She is the Founding Director of SPECTRA Labs (Simulation, Performance, Evaluation, Cognition, Translational Research, Anxiety), which includes several subject specific labs.

• The Social Training and Anxiety Research (STAR) Lab investigates cognitive biases in social perception using video, eye movements and other sensory metrics, verbal reports and experimental procedures to identify cognitive mechanisms associated with social anxiety and confidence.

• The Mental Illness & Neurodiverse Digital (MIND) Lab aims to facilitate early diagnosis and more personalised treatment of mental health difficulties by establishing illness patterns across the lifespan from developmental disorders, child and adolescent mental illness, adult mental illness and neurodegenerative diseases.

• The Face perception, Affect, Cognition & Emotion (FACE) Lab aims to investigate cognitive and attentional biases in the way in which we process faces.

• The Medical Education Lab (MEL) works across disciplines bringing together clinicians, academics and SMEs to develop problem-based solutions for medical training. Technologies include digital tools for Med x (Virtual, augmented and mixed realities); haptics; eye-tracking; 3D object recognition; data capture systems; robotics; gaming and visualisation technologies.