Cognition and Neuroscience Research Group
Researchers in the Cognition and Neuroscience Research Group examine human cognitive processes in healthy adults and in individuals with brain impairments. Most of the experimental work is carried out using behavioural methods (e.g., response time analysis, eyetracking measures) and neuro-imaging techniques, such as electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We also employ correlational approaches to study individual differences in cognition.
Across the group, a major area of expertise concerns face processing. This includes the investigation of the cognitive and neural features of typical and atypical face processing. For example, Dr Davide Rivolta and Dr Friederike Zimmerman work with people with difficulties in recognising faces (prosopagnosics) and also with super-recognisers. With Dr Anita Potton, Dr Volker Thoma assesses the role of attentional load in perceiving faces (and also everyday objects) while Dr Melanie Vitkovitch is interested in how we retrieve the names for faces. Dr Anna Stone is exploring emotional reactions and attitudes of the general public to people with facial disfigurement. Professor Cynthia Fu and Dr Rivolta look at face processing in relation to psychiatric disorders, such as depression and schizophrenia.
Other Cognitive Processes
Individuals within the group also have particular strengths in other areas of cognition. These include synaesthesia (Dr Mary Spiller, Dr Clare Jonas), neuropsychopharmacology, and neurophysiology of psychosis (Dr Rivolta), thinking styles in relation to paranormal beliefs (Dr Stone), decision making (Dr Thoma), object name retrieval (Dr Vitkovitch), and phonological coding in visual word recognition (Dr Potton). Read all about our current projects.
A key aim for the group is to advance theoretical models of cognition to better understand both difficulties and abilities in cognition and social cognition. We also work towards predicting performance on specific cognitive tasks, and predict clinical responses in mental health illness. Additionally, we make use of innovative technology (e.g., virtual reality) to facilitate assessment and rehabilitation of individuals with cognitive impairments. The overall goal is therefore to promote people’s health and wellbeing. We not only disseminate our work to other academics, but also exchange knowledge in clinical (e.g., clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, speech therapists) and corporate and other user-environments (e.g., user-experience agencies, financial trading, charities, general public).