Dr Thomas McGuckian

Dr Thomas McGuckian

Lecturer (Psychology)
Centre Member, Development & Disability over the Lifespan program, Healthy Brain and Mind Research Centre

Areas of expertise: visual perception; decision-making; motor learning and development; wearable technology; ecological psychology; data analysis and visualisation

HDR Supervisor accreditation status: Provisional

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-5490-0042

Phone: +61 3 9953 8323

Email: thomas.mcguckian@acu.edu.au

Location: ACU Melbourne Campus

After completing an undergraduate double degree in Psychology and Exercise and Sport Science, I completed my PhD at the ACU Faculty of Health Sciences, Brisbane while teaching across a broad range of units within the Exercise and Sport Science degrees, including Sport and Exercise Psychology, Motor Control and Learning, Sport Coaching, and Biomechanics. My PhD made novel use of wearable technology to quantify the visual perceptual actions of football players in ecologically valid environments, which greatly extended our understanding of athlete-environment interactions and the role of technology in answering complex questions.

In addition to the key Development & Disability over the Lifespan projects within the Healthy Brain and Mind Research Centre, I have ongoing collaborations locally and internationally that investigate visual exploration, concussion, motor performance, and learning. My current projects are interested in the role of visual perception when we interact with the environment. Specifically, I focus on visual scanning and sport performance, and how visual scanning is related to motor development, skill level, fatigue, concussion, and various other contextual factors.

Select publications

Journal articles

  • Subara-Zukic, E., Cole, M. H., McGuckian, T. B., Steenbergen, B., Green, D., Smits-Engelsman, B. C., Lust, J. M., Abdollahipour, R., Domellöf, E., Deconinck, F. J. A., Blank, R., & Wilson, P. H. (2022). Behavioral and Neuroimaging Research on Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD): A Combined Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Recent Findings. Frontiers in Psychology, 13. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.809455
  • Belavy, D. L., Tagliaferri, S. D., Buntine, P., Saueressig, T., Samanna, C., McGuckian, T. B., Miller, C. T., & Owen, P. J. (2022). Reducing Low-Value Imaging for Low Back Pain: Systematic Review With Meta-analysis. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 52(4), 175-191. https://doi.org/10.2519/jospt.2022.10731
  • Wilson, P. H., Rogers, J. M., Vogel, K., Steenbergen, B., McGuckian, T. B., & Duckworth, J. (2021). Home-based (virtual) rehabilitation improves motor and cognitive function for stroke patients: a randomized controlled trial of the Elements (EDNA-22) system. Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation, 18(1), 165. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12984-021-00956-7
  • McGuckian, T. B., & Pepping, G.-J. (2021). Music can induce positive affect before football training, but is it maintained throughout training? The Journal of Sport and Exercise Science, 5(1), 39-48. https://doi.org/10.36905/jses.2021.01.06
  • McGuckian, T. B., Cole, M. H., Chalkley, D., Jordet, G., & Pepping, G.-J. (2020). Constraints on visual exploration of youth football players during 11v11 match-play: The influence of playing role, pitch position and phase of play. Journal of Sports Sciences, 38, 658-668. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2020.1723375
  • McGuckian, T. B., Beavan, A., Mayer, J., Chalkley, D., & Pepping, G.-J. (2020). The association between visual exploration and passing performance in high-level U13 and U23 football players. Science and Medicine in Football, 4(4), 278-284. https://doi.org/10.1080/24733938.2020.1769174
  • van Andel, S., McGuckian, T. B., Chalkley, D., Cole, M. H., & Pepping, G.-J. (2019). Principles of the Guidance of Exploration for Orientation and Specification of Action. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 13, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00231
  • McGuckian, T. B., Cole, M. H., Chalkley, D., Jordet, G., & Pepping, G.-J. (2019). Visual exploration when surrounded by affordances: Frequency of head movements is predictive of response speed. Ecological Psychology, 31, 30-48. https://doi.org/10.1080/10407413.2018.1495548
  • McGuckian, T. B., Cole, M. H., Jordet, G., Chalkley, D., & Pepping, G.-J. (2018). Don’t Turn Blind! The relationship between exploration before ball possession and on-ball performance in Association Football. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02520
  • McGuckian, T. B., Cole, M. H., & Pepping, G.-J. (2018). A systematic review of the technology-based assessment of visual perception and exploration behaviour in association football. Journal of Sports Sciences, 36, 861-880. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2017.1344780
  • Chalkley, D., Shepherd, J. B., McGuckian, T. B., & Pepping, G.-J. (2018). Development and validation of a sensor-based algorithm for detecting visual axploratory actions. IEEE Sensors Letters, 2, 1-4. https://doi.org/10.1109/LSENS.2018.2839703


  • 2021 - 2022. ACU Faculty of Health Sciences Project Grant. McGuckian, T. B., Pepping, G.-J., Wilson, P., Roberts, A., Kontos, A., & Connaboy, C. $3,000
  • 2016 – 2019. An examination of the visual exploratory action of association football players. McGuckian, T. B., Pepping, G.-J., Cole, M., Chalkley, D., & Jordet, G. https://doi.org/10.26199/5dcc7e93ab0e9

Accolades and awards

  • Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Doctoral Training nomination, ACU, 2020
  • Australian Postgraduate Award, 2016-2019

Appointments and affiliations

• Lecturer, School of Behavioural and Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University, 2022 – current
• Research Program Manager, Development & Disability over the Lifespan, Healthy Brain and Mind Research Centre, Australian Catholic University, 2020 – 2022
• Sessional Lecturer, School of Behavioural and Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University, 2015 - 2020

Public engagement


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