We live under the illusion that we can sense everything around us, but scientific evidence suggests that our sampling of the world is highly selective and proactively shaped by numerous internal and external factors. At the Brain and Cognition Lab we are interested in how the human brain gives rise to our mental experience. We investigate how the brain proactively and dynamically shapes our 'selective attention', which comprises our goals, expectation and experiences. All of these are fundamental to the development of healthy cognition, and their disruption contributes significantly to symptoms experienced in neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative conditions. To summarise, the lines of scientific enquiry covered by the lab would fall under keywords such as attention and perception, working and long-term memory, timing and aging, as well as analysis methods.
We combine careful measures of behavioural performance with a variety of state-of-the-art methods to measure and stimulate brain activity in human volunteers. Every method has its unique strengths and limitations, and a multi-pronged approach allows us to delve deeper into our challenging research areas. To achieve this, we utilise advanced neuroscientifc methods such as EEG, MEG, structural and functional MRI, and TMS, that are enabled by our collaboration with the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (WIN). We also use behavioural testing, which might include eyetracking, virtual reality sets and mood monitoring, and focus on the development of new analysis methods, for example in the area of empirical mode decomposition, hidden Markov models and multivariate autoregression.
Our experiments are supported through charities and government organisations that fund medical and scientific research. Currently, funding for our research and activities comes from the Wellcome Trust, National Institute for Health Research, Medical Research Council, James S. McDonnell Foundation, Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute (SCNi), Clarendon Fund, Somerville College, Marco Polo scholarship, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Economic and Social Research Council, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship, John Fell Fund, and the British Academy.
Previous funding also includes Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Oxford-McGill Neuroscience Collaboration, Science Without Borders/CNPq, Rhodes House, Commonwealth Scholarship, Marshall Scholarship, New College Oxford, Programme Alban, St John’s College Oxford, Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture, and the Royal Society.
PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT AND INVOLVEMENT
We are committed to communicating and discussing our scientific activities and ideas, and participate in many public engagement activities.