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.
Effectiveness of a Smartphone App (BioBase) for Reducing Anxiety and Increasing Mental Well-Being: Pilot Feasibility and Acceptability Study.
Kawadler JM. et al, (2020), JMIR Form Res, 4
Imitation in one’s own presence: no specific effect of self-focus on imitation.
Khemka D. et al, (2020), Acta Psychologica
The relationship between heartbeat counting and heartbeat discrimination: a meta-analysis.
Hickman L. et al, (2020), Biological Psychology
Non-invasive stimulation in the social brain: the methodological challenges.
Penton T. et al, (2020), Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci
Prosocial behavior is associated with transdiagnostic markers of affective sensitivity in multiple domains.
Contreras-Huerta LS. et al, (2020), Emotion