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Department of Psychology


My work concerns human communication and choice -- that is, how people form and communicate beliefs about the world, and how they choose between different options and courses of action.

I studied Natural Science at Cambridge, specializing in Zoology. I then stayed on to take the final year course in Psychology, followed by a PhD on decision processes in picture recognition, supervised by Donald Laming.

In 2005-2006 I held a teaching job at the University of Leciester and from 2006-2009 I was a Research Fellow at the University of Warwick. From 2009-2014 I was a Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer at the University of Essex.

I joined the University of Cambridge in September 2014.


Human communication and choice behaviour


Key publications: 

(Please note: my surname changed from Matthews in late 2016)

Skylark, W.J., Farmer, G.D., & Bahemia, N. (2021). Inference and preference in intertemporal choice. Judgment and Decision Making, 16(2), 422-459.

Gheorghiu, A.I., Callan, M.J., & Skylark, W.J. (2020). A thin slice of science communication: Are people's evaluations of TED talks predicted by superficial impressions of the speakers? Social Psychology and Personality Science, 11,  117-125. link to paper

Alempaki, D., Canic, E., Mullett, T.L., Skylark, W.J., Starmer, C., Stewart, N., & Tufano, F. (2019). Re-examining how utility and weighting functions get their shapes: a quasi-adversarial collaboration providing a new interpretation. Management Science, 65, 4841-4862. link to paper

Skylark, W.J. (2018). If John is taller than Jake, where is John? Spatial inference from magnitude comparison. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 44, 1113-1129. link to paper

Gheorghiu, A.I., Callan, M.J., & Skylark, W.J. (2017). Facial appearance affects science communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114, 5970-5975. Open access.

Farmer, G.D., Baron-Cohen, S., & Skylark, W.J. (2017). People with Autism Spectrum Conditions make more consistent decisions. Psychological Science, 28, 1067-1076. Open access.

Matthews, W.J., & Meck, W.H. (2016). Temporal cognition: Connecting subjective time to perception, attention, and memory. Psychological Bulletin, 142(8), 865-907. link to paper

Matthews, W.J., & Dylman, A.S. (2014). The language of magnitude comparison. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143, 510-520. link to paper

Matthews, W.J. (2015). Time perception: The surprising effects of surprising stimuli. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 144, 172-197.  link to paper

Matthews, W.J. (2013). How does sequence structure affect the judgment of time?  Exploring a weighted sum of segments model. Cognitive Psychology, 66, 259-282. link to paper


University Associate Professor

Contact Details

Dept of Psychology
Downing Street
+44 (0)1223 (3)33572
Person keywords: 
decision making
Not available for consultancy