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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Perception and Cognition

In the Psychology Department we conduct world-class research investigating individual differences in perception and cognition. We explore how and why people differ in perception and cognition applying an interdisciplinary perspective, bridging research across psychology, neuroscience, biology, and genetics.

Sensory Systems and Language

We study how sensory information (e.g., vision, audition) is processed and evaluated by humans and animals, such as bees, mice, and chicks. As part of our research, we investigate perceptual processes ranging from low-level processes (detection and discrimination of simple visual features, pre-attentive visual processing, and sound localisation) to higher-order processes (gaze perception, spatial cognition, emotion recognition, language learning and processing, and voice perception). Through our interdisciplinary approach, we therefore combine research methods to map the mechanisms underpinning perceptual processes and to examine the building blocks of behaviour and cognition.



We apply our extensive scientific expertise to investigating fundamental questions related to cognitive development and learning in humans and other species. We focus on both typical and atypical development, researching the many factors that drive differences between children, adolescents and young adults in cognition and learning. We leverage an extensive array of research designs and methodologies, from in-lab experiments to longitudinal studies, to identify the causes, correlates and consequences of individual differences in cognition and learning. We also work at translating our research findings into evidence-based interventions to foster cognitive development and learning.


Learning and memory

We study learning and memory in humans and animals throughout the life span. This research includes multiple approaches (e.g. behavioural, neuroscience, evolutionary psychology) and cognitive processes associated with how we learn in different domains (e.g. visual learning, sequence learning, language, music). We address the question of how we learn in several settings, from natural settings (e.g. schools) to very controlled laboratory studies (e.g. neuroimaging). Our neuroimaging approach to learning includes a range of techniques (e.g. EEG, fMRI, brain stimulation). We also study the fundamental processes which build up our learning in animal models including studies on classical and operant conditioning in zebrafish, mice, chicks and bees.


Cognitive Neuroscience

We study the neural processes underlying consciousness, creativity, reward processing, navigation and social behaviour. Our hyperscanning laboratory is set up for measuring inter brain synchronisation, allowing us to investigate the link between neural coupling and competition, collaboration, and group innovation. We combine EEG with psychophysiology, to better understand the mechanisms underlying inter-individual differences in cognition and behaviour, from social interactions to stress regulation and psychopathology. We also use behavioural methods and in vivo electrophysiology with animal models to investigate the neural mechanisms of spatial navigation and memory at the neural circuit level.


Gene-environment interplay

We investigate how the complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors shapes individual differences in cognition and learning. Our research aims to address important questions such as: why are some children at a greater risk of developing neurodevelopmental disorders than others? Why do people differ so widely in their ability to learn? We apply both quantitative and molecular genetic methods to address these questions in human and animal populations. This is a new, rapidly evolving and exciting area of psychology.


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