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Dr Clare MacMahon

Senior Lecturer, Major Discipline Coordinator of Exercise Science (Bachelor of Health Sciences)


Dr Clare MacMahon is discipline lead for Swinburne’s exercise science major, within the Bachelor of Health Sciences. Her research interests include decision making in sport, skill development, cognitive fatigue and physical performance.

As  discipline convenor for Exercise Science at Swinburne, Dr MacMahon’s teaching practice covers areas including motor learning and skilled performance.

Dr MacMahon previously held a Postdoctoral Fellow award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in the area of cognitive psychology. She has also held the role of visiting research fellow at the University of Muenster and at the German Sports University.

Research interests

Cognitive Psychology; Sport Psychology

PhD candidate and honours supervision

Higher degrees by research

Accredited to supervise Masters & Doctoral students as Principal Supervisor.

PhD topics and outlines

Decision making in sport: While decision making is a key skill in sport, it is difficult to measure and train. This PhD topic will address paradigms and tools we use, and a number of issues in development of this skill. This research potentially involves some work in elite sport. 

How are moving and thinking related? : There are conflicting findings related to the impact of processing visual stimuli and thought speed on movement dynamics. This PhD would examine the reciprocal effects between movements and cognition/thoughts. 

The influence of cognitive fatigue on physical performance: There are inconsistencies in this growing area of research examining how a preceding cognitive task influences performance on a physical task. This PhD would examine different physical and cognitive tasks and different levels of expertise. 


Available to supervise honours students.

Honours topics and outlines

Decision making in AFL: We recently have shown that using video played at 1.5 speed is effective in training elite AFL players in sport decision making. We are looking more extensively at this effect and transfer to on-field performance. This project provides the opportunity to work with elite sport.

Movement speed and thought speed: Previous work shows that watching or reading fast moving stimuli increases thought speed and risk taking. This project explores if watching fast moving stimuli results in faster movements, or if faster movements increase thought speed - both of which are relevant to sport and exercise. 

Multidisciplinary projects in motor learning: I am available to discuss the identification of areas for honours research driven by common or overlapping interests and expertise. These include areas that can combine expertise with other supervisors, e.g., sport, movement and simulation; neuroimaging in movement processing; learning and motor performance. 

Sprint performance after cognitive fatigue:   We have shown that 3km running times are significantly slower after a cognitively demanding task. We are now looking at the influence of the level of training of the individual, and the specific tasks that are used. This project will compared performance of different physical tasks (e.g., sprinting) after cognitive fatigue to understand specific effects and interactions more fully.  

Fields of Research

  • Human Movement And Sports Science Not Elsewhere Classified - 110699
  • Sport And Exercise Psychology - 170114

Teaching areas

Sport Science;Cognitive Psychology;Sport Psychology;learning


  • 2004, International, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Postgraduate Award, to individual, held at Florida State University


Also published as: MacMahon, Clare; MacMahon, C.
This publication listing is provided by Swinburne Research Bank. If you are the owner of this profile, contact us to update.

Recent research grants awarded

  • 2010: Improving determinants of Australian sports talent identification and development: a multidisciplinary approach *; ARC Linkage Projects Scheme

* Chief Investigator