Personal profile



I co-direct the Body Eyes and Movement (BEAM) lab, researching sensory motor control and imitation with a particular focus on autism in adulthood. Much of my research benefits from the direct involvement of the  autistic community (autistic adults and parents of autistic children), facilitated by the network Autism@Manchester which i chair. Inititiaves include expert by experience advisory groups, newsletters, co-production of research and public events.

I teach on the BSc (Hons) Optometry degree as well as supervising Undergraduate and Masters Psychology and Neuroscience. My current administrative roles include Postgraduate tutor, member of the University Research Ethics Committee and member of the mitigation circumstances panel for Optometry and Pharmacy. 

Current and previous funding includes ESRC, MRC, The Wellcome Trust and The University of Manchester. I am a member of the following professional associations: Applied Vision Association (AVA), British Neuroscience Association (BNA), Experimental Psychological Society (EPS), Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Please visit our BEAM or Autism@Manchester website for more details on my research and recent findings:


I am a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health within the Division of Psychology, Communication and Human Neuroscience. I qualified as an Orthoptist from The University of Liverpool in 1998, following which I worked at the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and undertook an MSc in Investigative Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences at The University of Manchester. I completed my PhD with Professor Richard Abadi in 2003 at University Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST - before merger into The University of Manchester). Shortly afterwards, I joined Professor Chris Miall at the department of psychology, Birmingham University. In September 2006, I took up a Lectureship at The University of Manchester was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2014.  Together with Dr Ellen Poliakoff, I direct the Body, Eye and Movement (BEAM) lab, researching sensory motor control, imitation and autism and am Chair of Autism@Manchester.

Research interests

I am interested in how the brain uses sensory information such as vision and touch to program and control motor movements (e.g. picking up objects or balancing). Much of my research involves looking at sensory and motor control in autistic adults who are frequently troubled by sensory issues such as feeling overwhelmed by different sensory information and also tend to have poorer motor skills. One line of research focuses on imitation - the ability to observe and copy other peoples actions. Imitation is a complex process that is important for social interaction and learning and my research examines how our ability to imitate is affected by aspects such as attention to the observed movement.    For example, we have compared where autistic and non-autistic people look when imitating another persons action in order to understand whether altered viewing patterns cause the differences in imitation ability between the two groups.

I use a range of research techniques including eye tracking, motion tracking, Psychophysics, Qualtiative techniques and Electroencephalography (EEG). I follow a participatory approach where I work collaboratively with autistic people to develop research ideas, conduct experiments and write up and dissminate findings.

Please visit the BEAM lab or Autism@Manchester websites for more details about my research:




I teach Binocular Vision to Optometry students and also supervise undergraduate and Masters project students on topics relating to sensory motor control and autism.

Binocular vision A (Opto20362) (Course unit coordinator)

Evidence Based Optometry Practice (Opto31252) (Course unit coordinator)

Personal and Professional Development (Years 1-3)

Project supervisor for Undergraduate and Masters students (Psychology, Neuroscience)

UCAS interviewer

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Autism@Manchester
  • Digital Futures
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute


Dive into the research topics where Emma Gowen is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or