Dr Rob Summers BSc MSc PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

School of Life and Health Sciences
Aston University
Birmingham B4 7ET

Email: R.J.Summers@aston.ac.uk

Career History

Rob graduated in 1997 with a BSc in Mathematics and Psychology from Keele University. He then completed an MSc in Machine Perception and Neural Computation, also at Keele, in 1998. He studied for a PhD under the supervision of Dr Mitch Thomson at Aston University and latterly at Derby University and completed his thesis, “Human sensitivity to higher-order statistical structure in natural images”, in 2005. He worked for with Tim Meese on a Wellcome Trust grant studying the perception of depth in human vision until September 2007 before working for Brian Roberts on a 3-year EPSRC project studying the perceptual organization of speech investigating contributions of general and speech-specific factors. After a further 2 years working for Tim Meese on an EPSRC grant on spatial vision he is now working again for Brian Roberts on a 3-year ESRC project investigating the pecerceptual organization of speech.

Research interests

  • Speech perception, with particular emphasis on the properties of the speech signal that facilitate grouping (with Prof Brian Roberts). 
  • The integration of perceptual information, e.g. the combination of visual signals across space (with Prof. Tim Meese).
  • Psychophysical methods.
  • Computational analysis of retinal vascular images (with Dr Rebekka Heitmar).


  • Liberator – software for rapid (2AFC) experiment development using Cambridge Research Systems VSG and ViSaGe hardware.

Recent Publications

(Google Scholar profile)

Roberts, B., Summers, R.J. & Bailey, P.J., Formant-Frequency Variation and Its Effects on Across-Formant Grouping in Speech Perception, Basic Aspects of Hearing, 323-331

Meese, T.S. & Summers, R.J. Theory and data for area summation of contrast with and without uncertainty: Evidence for a noisy energy model. Journal of Vision 12 (11)

Heitmar, R. Summers, R.J. (2012) Assessing vascular function using dynamic retinal diameter measurements: A new insight on the endothelium, Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 107.

Summers, R.J. Bailey, P.J. Roberts, B. (2012) Effects of the Rate of Formant-Frequency Variation on the Grouping of Formants in Speech Perception, Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, 13(2), 269-280.

Roberts, B., Summers, R.J., & Bailey, P.J. (2011). The intelligibility of noise-vocoded speech: Spectral information available from across-channel comparison of amplitude envelopes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 278: 1595-1600. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2010.1554.

Summers, R.J., Roberts, B., & Bailey, P.J. (2010). Effects of differences in fundamental frequency on across-formant grouping in speech perception. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 128, 3667-3677.. [pdf]

Roberts, B., Summers, R.J., & Bailey, P.J. (2010). The perceptual organization of sine-wave speech under competitive conditions. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 128(2), 804-817. [pdf]

Meese, T. S., Challinor, K. L., Summers, R. J., & Baker, D. H. (2009). Suppression pathways saturate with contrast for parallel surrounds but not for superimposed cross-oriented masks. Vision Research, 49(24), 2927-2935.

Summers, R. J., & Meese, T. S. (2009) The influence of fixation points on contrast detection and discrimination of patches of
grating: Masking and facilitation. Vision Research, 49(14), 1894-1900, doi:10.1016/j.visres.2009.04.027

Meese, T. S., & Summers, R. J. (2009). Neuronal convergence in early contrast vision: Binocular summation is followed by response nonlinearity and area summation. Journal of Vision, 9(4):7, 1-16, http://journalofvision.org/9/4/7/, doi:10.1167/9.4.7.

Meese, T.S., Challinor, K.L. & Summers, R. J. (2008) A common contrast pooling rule for suppression within and between the eyes. Visual Neuroscience, 25, 585–601.

Recent Conference Abstracts

Summers, R.J., Baker, D.H. & Meese, T.S. (2012). Spatial integration within and between first- and second-order stimuli. Perception, 41(S): 223.

Heitmar, R., Summers, R.J. (2012) How much flicker is enough? Acta Ophthalmologica, 90(s249).

Kalitzeos, A., Summers, R.J., Heitmar, R. (2012) Retinal vascular reactivity over extended vessel segments. Acta Ophthalmologica, 90(s249).

Cubbidge, R., Summers, R.J., Heitmar, R. (2012) Retinal vessel reactivity after cigarette smoking. Acta Ophthalmologica, 90(s249).

Meese, T.S. Baker, D.H., Summers, R.J. (2012) Fake Tilt Shift Miniaturization Causes Negative D-Prime for Detecting Reality, Lulu Press.

Roberts, B., Summers, R.J., Bailey, P.J. (2011) The role of formant-frequency contours in the perceptual grouping of speech formants.The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 129,  p2424.

Stachurski, M. Summers, R.J. Roberts, B. (2011) Grouping and the verbal transformation effect: The influence of formant transitions. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 129, p2684  .

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research