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Associate Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience
Social Cognition with a focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder
My PhD work (which was supervised by Professor Cecilia Heyes at UCL), was on the mechanisms by which we imitate the actions of others. After this I moved to the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN) at UCL, where I worked with Professors Chris and Uta Frith on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
This work primarily utilised functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and investigated a number of processes in adults with ASD. These included: attentional modulation of social and non-social stimuli, executive functions, empathy, decision making, and emotional awareness. While at the ICN I also looked at the development of theory of mind and social emotions across adolescence with Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, and studied the neural basis of empathy and fairness with Professor Tania Singer.
Following the ICN, I moved to the Centre for Economic Learning and Social Evolution (ELSE) as a Postdoctoral Fellow where I continued to work with Professor Heyes on studies of imitation and decision making in typically-developing adults and adults with ASD. From October 2007 I took a year's position as an advisor on science policy to the UK government before joining the Department of Psychological Sciences at Birkbeck in October 2008. I moved to the MRC SGDP Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King's College London in January 2013 where I continued to work on social cognition in typical individuals and those with ASD. At the IoPPN I developed a keen interest in interoception (our ability to perceive the internal state of our body) and alexithymia (a sub-clinical condition characterised by an inability to identify and describe one's own emotions). In January 2017 I moved to the Dept of Experimental Psychology at Oxford where I hope to continue this work.
Typical integration of emotion cues from bodies and faces in Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Brewer R. et al, (2017), Cognition, 165, 82 - 87
From heart to mind: Linking interoception, emotion, and theory of mind.
Shah P. et al, (2017), Cortex, 93, 220 - 223
Attentional processes, not implicit mentalizing, mediate performance in a perspective-taking task: Evidence from stimulation of the temporoparietal junction.
Santiesteban I. et al, (2017), Neuroimage, 155, 305 - 311
Direct and indirect effects of age on interoceptive accuracy and awareness across the adult lifespan.
Murphy J. et al, (2017), Psychon Bull Rev
Crossmodal Classification of Mu Rhythm Activity during Action Observation and Execution Suggests Specificity to Somatosensory Features of Actions.
Coll MP. et al, (2017), J Neurosci, 37, 5936 - 5947