We aim to understand processes of selective attention and action, learning and memory in the human brain. Through experiments in healthy volunteers and patients with brain disorders we seek to characterize how information processing networks respond (adaptively or maladaptively) when challenged by interference. Our motivation is to develop rational neurocognitive intervention strategies to help promote recovery from conditions such as depression and brain injury.

Action cognition neurorehabilitation

Our group conducts basic cognitive research guided by translational goals. We have specific interests in cognitive processes such as selective attention and action, learning and memory. More recent work has expanded into the domain of emotion. Our scientific questions are often inspired by the challenges faced by individuals suffering from brain disorders, such as depression or acquired brain injury. A major research aim is to identify potential neurocognitive targets that could be manipulated experimentally for clinical gain. We typically use neural interference approaches (natural lesions, brain stimulation, neurofeedback), which change neurocognitive processing, and then characterize the functional consequences using neuroimaging and detailed cognitive/behavioural measures. These perturb-and-record readouts then guide reverse inference about how cognition may be causally implemented (and go awry) in the brain. Our experimental therapeutics arm aims to test the potential efficacy of rational interventions, which are grounded in fundamental discoveries in psychology and neuroscience, to remediate impaired cognition. 

Study volunteers

We are currently seeking volunteers aged 18 – 45 for a reward learning study involving two visits to the John Radcliffe Hospital. Participants will be asked to perform a computer-based learning task twice, with the two sessions taking place at least one week apart. Each session will take no more than 1 hour, and participants will be reimbursed for their time and travel expenses. For further information please contact Margot Overman at margot.overman@ndcn.ox.ac.uk.

Selected publications