Dr Nicole Ruta


Specialist Subject Areas



Research officer at Fovography Syntetic Vision Research Centre
PhD in 'Visual perception in far peripheral visual space and its artistic representations'
MA in Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychological Rehabilitation 
BA in Psychological Science and Techniques 


Nicole is a trained psychologist with a background in cognitive neuroscience, psychological rehabilitation and neurobiology. She joined the Fovography research team at Cardiff Metropolitan University in 2015, where she is involved in integrating scientific investigation and creative practice. She currently leads the user end technology validation and testing programme. 

Her PhD thesis studied perception in the far peripheral visual field and aesthetic judgments of artistic representations of subjective experience of visual space. During her doctoral studies, she was also involved in a successful Wellcome Trust Seed Award investigating the relationship between the artistic manipulation of images and mindfulness practice. 

Nicole’s main research interests involve aesthetic experience, space perception in virtual environments, affective connotations of abstract shapes, preference for curvature and its applications in architecture and design.

Publications, conferences, exhibitions and awards


Ruta, N., Mastandrea, S., Penacchio, O., Lamaddalena, S., Bove, G. (2019). A comparison between preference judgments of curvature and sharpness in architectural façades. Architectural Science Review, 62(2), 171-181.

Burleigh, A., Pepperell, R., Ruta, N. (2018). Natural Perspective: Mapping Visual Space with Art and Science. Vision, 2(2), 21*

Langford, T., Burleigh, A., Ruta, N., Pepperell, R. (2018, July). New immersive media to broaden attention and awareness. In Proceedings of the Conference on Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (pp. 323-330). BCS Learning & Development Ltd.

Burleigh, A., Pepperell, R., Ruta, N. (2017, December). Fovography: A naturalistic imaging media. In 2017 International Conference on 3D Immersion (IC3D) (pp. 1-5). IEEE.*

Baldwin, J., Burleigh, A., Pepperell, R. Ruta, N. (2016). The Perceived Size and Shape of Objects in Pervipheral Vision, i-Perception, July-August 2016 vol. 7 no. 4, DOI: 10.1177/2041669516661900*

Palumbo, L., Ruta, N., & Bertamini, M. (2015). Comparing angular and curved shapes in terms of implicit associations and approach/avoidance responses. PloS one, 10(10), e0140043

Pecchinenda, A., Bertamini, M., Makin, A. D. J., & Ruta, N. (2014). The pleasantness of visual symmetry: Always, never or sometimes. PloS one, 9(3), e92685


* Authors listed in alphabetical order

Selected conferences: talks

Pepperell, R. Ruta, N., Burleigh, A. & Loudon, H. (2019) Egocentric Vision in a 3D Game Using Linear Perspective and Natural Rendering, oral presentation to Applications of Egocentric Vision Workshop (EgoApp) in conjunction to BMVC, Cardiff, UK, 12th September 2019. Retrieved from URL: https://egoappworkshop.wordpress.com/informazioni/ **

Ruta, N., Burleigh, A. & Pepperell, R. (2019) People are better estimating distances in natural perspective than in linear perspective, oral presentation to Visual Science of Art Conference (VSAC), Leuven, Belgium, 21st-24th August 2019. Retrieved from URL: https://www.vsac2019.org/program

Pepperell R., Ruta N., and Burleigh A. (2019) The effects of 3D spatial geometry on image preferences, oral presentation to VPDVP, Liverpool, UK, 13th – 14th June 2019. Retrieved from URL: https://www.bertamini.org/lab/vpdvp/vpdvp2019.pdf**

Ruta, N., Burleigh, A. & Pepperell, R. (2018). Medieval representation of pictorial space? An eye-tracking study investigating an alternative hypothesis from art history, oral presentation to the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics (IAEA) Toronto, Canada, Aug 30th to Sept 2nd 2018. Retrieved from URL: https://science-of-aesthetics.org/ congresses.html [22nd May 2019]

Pepperell, R., Ruta, N. (2017) Image and imagination: How figure scale in medieval painting reflects visual perception, oral presentation to The Visual Science of Art Conference (VSAC), Berlin, Germany, 25th-27th August 2017. Retrieved from URL: https://vsac2017.org/ on [8th August 2018] **

Ruta, N., Burleigh, A. & Pepperell, R. (2017). Why did Medieval painters manipulate figure size? A perceptual psychology approach to art history, oral presentation to the Applied Vision Association (AVA) Christmas Meeting, Queen Mary University, London, 19th December 2017. Retrieved from URL: http://www.theava.net/perch/resources/ abstractbook2017-1-1.pdf on [8th August 2018]

Ruta, N., Burleigh, A., Vigars, R., Barratt, E. & Pepperell, R. (2016). Evaluating an artistic method for depicting human visual space, oral presentation to the Applied Vision Association (AVA) Christmas Meeting, London, 19th December 2016

Ruta, N., Burleigh, A. & Pepperell, R. (2016). Fovotec: Can new media improve well-being?, oral presentation to the New Technologies for Mindful Awareness Symposium, British Computer Society (BCS), Covent Garden, London, UK, 14th November 2016.


** Joint oral presentations with Professor Robert Pepperell

Conference proceedings and organised symposia

Pepperell, R., Burleigh, A., Ruta, N., & Langford, T. (2019). FOVO: A flexible real-time computer graphics rendering process. Proceedings of EVA London 2019, 237-238.

Ganczarek, J., & Ruta, N. (2018, September). How do we make sense of space through its artistic representation? Space and embodiment in visual art. In Cognitive processing (Vol. 19, pp. S17-S18). Tiergartenstrasse 17, d-69121 Heidelberg, Germany: Springer Heidelberg.

Bove, G. Ruta, N. Mastandrea, S. (2019) Preference Analysis of Architectural Façades by Multidimensional Scaling and Unfolding. In Statistical Learning of Complex Data, Conference proceedings of the 11th Scientific Meeting of the Classification and Data Analysis Group of the Italian Statistical Society (CLADAG 2017), Milan, Italy, 13th-15th September 2017. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-21140-0_6


Ruta, N, Burleigh, A. & Pepperell, R. (2019) Distance estimation from egocentric point of view: a comparison between natural and linear perspective, oral presentation to the Applied Vision Association (AVA) Christmas Meeting, Cardiff University, Cardiff, 16th December 2019. Retrieved from URL: http://www.theava.net/meetings.php?s=ava-xmas-meeting-16-december-cardiff [8th December 2019]

Ruta, N, Burleigh, A. & Pepperell, R. (2019) Does visual space correspond to imagined space? poster presentation to the European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP), Leuven, Belgium, 25th-30th August 2019, Retrieved from URL: https://www.conftool.pro/ecvp2019/index.php?page=browseSessions&path=adminSessions

Ruta, N, Burleigh, A., Barratt, E., Pepperell, R. (2017, August). How does image geometry affect attention? Developing a novel gamified version of spatial orienting paradigm, poster presentation to the European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP), Berlin, Germany, 27th-31st. Retrieved from URL: http://journals.sagepub.com/page/pec/collections/ ecvp-abstracts/index/ecvp-2017 on [8th August 2018]

Ruta, N., Burleigh, A. & Pepperell, R. (2017). Smaller hands, bigger head: a perceptual trend in artistic portraits, poster presentation to the Experimental Psychology Society (EPS) meeting, London, 4th-6th January 2017. Retrieved from URL: https://eps.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/ProgJan2017.pdf on [8th August 2018]

Ruta, N., Mastandrea, S., & Lamaddalena, S. (2015). Varying curvature and angularity of architectural facades can influence aesthetic judgments, poster presentation to the European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP), 2015 (No. 4, pp. 994-994) 


Guarantors of Brain Travel Grant to attend the VSAC and ECVP in Leuven (2019)
Grindley Grant award to attend EPS Meeting in London (2017).
Grindley Grant award to attend EPS Meeting in Newcastle (20014).
In 2014 I was awarded of the "Improving Scholarship Abroad" (Borsa di studio di perfezionamento all'estero) from "Sapienza" University of Rome. Thanks to this funding I spent six months at the Visual Perception Lab at Liverpool University, under the scientific supervision of Prof. M. Bertamini.