DR Rachel Searston

DR Rachel Searston


  • Cognitive Science (cognition, memory, category learning, visual expertise)
  • Forensic Psychology (expertise, training, selection)
  • Higher Education (Concept learning, transfer)



  • I am a cognitive scientist interested in the development of expertise across a variety of applied domains (e.g., forensics, medicine, higher education). Currently, I am a McKenzie Research Fellow working with Associate Professor Jason Lodge and Professor Gregor Kennedy at the University of Melbourne, in Australia. Previously, I worked as a Research Fellow with Associate Professor Jason Tangen in the School of Psychology at The University of Queensland (UQ). I also completed my PhD in psychology at UQ on the nature and development of visual expertise in fingerprint identification.   


Selected publications


Education and training

  • Ph.D, The University of Queensland 2016
  • B.A. (Hons Class I), The University of Queensland 2012
  • B.A., The University of Queensland 2009


Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • Creating expertise with concepts and categories

    I research how people learn (and think they learn) concepts and categories, with an eye to improving educational and training practices in forensics, medicine, and the natural sciences. At the core of these seemingly diverse fields of study is the process of generalising from one instance to another: a new instance of that finger, person, disease, biological species, statistical concept, or geological structure. Projects related to the cognitive and metacognitive aspects of learning and expertise would be an excellent fit.