Universiteit Leiden

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Francesco Walker

Assistant Professor

Dr. F. Walker
+31 71 527 2727

Francesco Walker has a Masters Degree in cognitive neuropsychology from VU Amsterdam. In 2015, he developed a proposal to study the link between eye-movement behaviour and visitor perceptions of art in a museum setting. The resulting collaboration with the Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam produced the first ever analysis of the very different attentional strategies used by adults and children, when viewing paintings in an actual museum. Francesco conducted his PhD studies at University of Twente. Here, he investigated human interactions with automated vehicles, with a focus on how these interactions affect driver trust and how this can be measured objectively and improved. Francesco defended his PhD in 2021, with a dissertation titled “To trust or not to trust? Assessment and calibration of driver trust in automated vehicles”. Before joining the Cognitive Psychology Unit of Leiden University in 2021, Francesco worked briefly as a lecturer in the department of Cognitive Psychology and Ergonomics of the University of Twente.

More information about Francesco Walker


Francesco’s research focuses on Human Factors challenges in the design of automated vehicles. Key themes include trust in automation, vehicle interactions with vulnerable road users and new solutions for Human-Machine-Interfaces. In parallel with this work, he maintains a deep interest in art perception and neuroaesthetics.


In the Cognitive Psychology Unit of Leiden University, Francesco coordinates the Applied Cognitive Psychology Master track, and the Bachelor’s course in Applied Cognitive Psychology. He also teaches several courses related to applied cognition and Human Factors, at the bachelor’s and master’s level.


  • Award for Best Poster 2018 (6th BMW Summer School: Emotion Aware Vehicle Assistants, Raitenhaslach, Germany).   
  • Award for Best Presenter 2018 (6th Humanist Conference, Den Haag, The Netherlands).   
  • The Robert Francès Award: Most Outstanding Student Research Contribution 2016 (24th IAEA Congress of Empirical Aesthetics, Vienna, Austria).
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Research Fellowship 2014/2015, awarded by Prof. Jan Theeuwes: 10000 euro. 

Working days

Monday to Friday.

Assistant Professor

  • Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
  • Instituut Psychologie
  • Cognitieve Psychologie

Work address

Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room number 2B12



  • No relevant ancillary activities
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