Dr. Nicholas Watier

I am an experimental psychologist largely interested statistics and perception.  My teaching interests centre around the theme of the conjectural nature of knowledge. My research interests focus on the visual information that contributes to our inferences of others. For a brief biography in stanzaic form,  click on the About Me link on the sidebar.

Academic Qualifications

Ph.D – Psychology – University of Ottawa (2012)
BA(Hons) – Psychology – Laurentian University (2006)


More information about each course, including syllabi and evaluations, is under the teaching link on the sidebar.

Areas of Research Interest

Face Perception, Metacognition, Statistics Education, Mindfulness, Psychopathy

My research is largely situated in the problem space of face identification. I have used experimental (i.e. psychophysical and metamemory paradigms) and computational (i.e. artificial neural networks and ideal observers) approaches to study how faces and associated autobiographical information are encoded, monitored, and retrieved. My research in this area has led to several peer-reviewed publications, government grants, and an award from the Canadian Psychological Association.

More recently, I’ve been interested  identifying the basic visual information that underlies our social perceptions of others. For example, when judging the emotional state or facial attractiveness of others, we presumably rely on some form of visual information. The aim of my research is to precisely determine what that information is.

In addition to face identification, I also conduct research in the domain of statistics education. In particular, I am interested in how novices develop multiple conceptualizations of a single statistical concept, and how to present statistics in a meaningful and enjoyable manner to students.


Lemieux, C.L., Collin, C.A., & Watier, N. (2019). Gender differences in metacognitive judgments and performance on a goal-directed wayfinding task. Journal of Cognitive Psychology31(4), 453-456. 

Watier, N., & DeGagne, B. (2019). Spatial Frequency Thresholds for Detecting Latent Facial Signals of Threat. Perception, 48(3), 214–227.

Watier, N. (2018). The Saliency of Angular Shapes in Threatening and Nonthreatening faces. Perception, 47(3), 306-329.

Watier, N., Healy, C., &  Armstrong, H. (2017). Effects of Photo-depicted Pupil Diameter on Judgments of Others’ Attentiveness and on Facial Recognition Memory. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 124(2), 366-378.

Watier, N., & Dubois, M. (2016). The effects of a brief mindfulness exercise on executive attention and recognition memory. Mindfulness, 7(3), 745-753.

Watier, N.N, Lamontagne, C., & Chartier, S. (2014). Descriptive Statistics. In J.I Barragues, Morais, & J. Guisasola (Eds.), Probability and Statistics: Didactic Introduction. Enfield, NH: Science Publishers.

Collin, C.A., Rainville, S., Watier, N.N., & Boutet, I. (2014). Configural and Featural Discriminations Use the Same Spatial Frequencies: A Model Observer vs. Human Observer Analysis. Perception, 43(6), 509-526.

Morissette, L., Chartier, S., Vandermeulen, R., & Watier, N. (2012). Depth of treatment sensitive noise resistant dynamic artificial neural network model of recall in people with prosopagnosia. Neural Networks, 32, 46-56.

Watier, N., & Collin, C. (2012). The effects of distinctiveness on memory and metamemory for face-name associations. Memory, 20(1), 73-88.

Watier, N.N., & Collin, C.A. (2011). Metamemory for faces, names, and common nouns. Acta Psychologica, 138(1), 143-154. 

Watier, N.N., Lamontagne, C., & Chartier, S. (2011). What does the mean mean? Journal of Statistics Education, 19(2). 

Watier, N.N., Collin, C.A., & Boutet, I. (2010). Spatial-frequency thresholds for configural and featural discriminations in upright and inverted faces. Perception, 39, 502-513. 

Watier, N.N., & Collin, C.A. (2009). Effects of familiarity on spatial frequency thresholds for face matching. Perception, 38, 1497-1507.