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Cognitive neuroscience

An attractive list of cognitive neuroscience keywords

Cognitive neuroscience is a discipline at the interface of systems neuroscience, computational neuroscience and cognitive psychology.

A thriving community of cognitive neuroscientists at the Centre uses a combination of psychophysics, computational modeling and multimodal brain imaging (fMRI, dMRI, MRS, MEG, TMS and tDCS) to understand the biological foundations of key cognitive abilities.

These include:

  • cognitive neuroanatomy
  • decision-making
  • emotion
  • impacts of sleep on cognition
  • memory
  • perception
  • the control of action
  • social cognition.

Translational cognitive neuroscience studies examine the:

  • breakdown of cognition in neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders
  • cognitive phenotypes linking polygenic disease risk to brain structure and function throughout the life course
  • neuroplasticity in response to cognitive training, sleep engineering and brain stimulation.


Aline Bompas

Find out more about Aline Bompas

My research focuses on how humans rapidly react to changes in their visual environment. I want to uncover how visual information travels through the human brain, is integrated with endogenous neuronal activity, and is used to guide rapid action decisions. For this, I rely on sophisticated behavioural designs and analyses involving eye and hand movements, computational modelling, and electrophysiology (EEG, MEG). I apply this research to better understand fluctuations in performance within individuals, as well as individual differences in the healthy population and clinical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. My interest for intrinsic variability in human performance extends to topics such as metacognition (subjective feeling of being on-task, mind wandering), depression, impulsivity or ADHD.

Andrew Lawrence

Find out more about Andrew Lawrence

My research uses converging cognitive neuroscience methods to study the role of large-scale networks linking the prefrontal cortex and the limbic system in coordinating and regulating higher-level cognitive-emotional processes, with an emphasis on how inter-individual differences in the structure and function of these circuits confer resilience or vulnerability to psychopathology and late life cognitive decline.

Currently, my lab, which is run jointly with Professor Kim Graham, is working on the following research projects, funded by the MRC, BBSRC, Waterloo foundation and Wellcome:

  1. The role of PFC-Amygdala interactions in adaptive socio-affective behaviour, social connection and disconnection
  2. The role of PFC-hippocampal interactions in autobiographical memory and event cognition across the lifespan

Chen Song

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Christoph Teufel

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Claudia Metzler-Baddeley

Find out more about Claudia Metzler-Baddeley

I am a cognitive neuroscientist studying how ageing and neurodegeneration (Alzheimer's disease, Lewy body disease, Huntington's disease) affect the brain and cognition with a particular interest into the role of myelin and neuroglia in ageing and disease.

I also study the mechanisms underpinning brain plasticity, including myelin remodelling, and how they can be exploited to the benefit of people with brain disease such as Huntington's disease (HD).

I use quantitative multi-parametric MRI brain imaging based on diffusion weighted, magnetization transfer weighted and relaxometry techniques in combination with experimental-cognitive methods to address these questions.

I am the PI of the Cardiff Ageing and Risk of Dementia Study (CARDS) that aims to understand the risk factors and early warning signs for later life dementia and to develop and evaluate training interventions to promote successful ageing and prevention and delay of disease.

Elisabeth von dem Hagen

Find out more about Elisabeth von dem Hagen

My research looks at how we process social signals, including emotion signals like facial expressions, body posture, and eye gaze. I am interested in how our brain integrates multiple social signals to create a coherent percept of the social world. I am particularly interested in how the ability to process and integrate social signals develops in typical children, in children with neurodevelopmental disorders, as well as in children who are at-risk, but do not yet fit criteria for a diagnosis.

My research involves a combination of behavioural and neuroimaging approaches, including psychophysics, eyetracking, functional MRI, and diffusion MRI.

I work in collaboration with researchers within CUBRIC, within the Wales Autism Research Centre (WARC), within the Cardiff University Centre for Human Developmental Science (CUCHDS) and the Neurodevelopment Assessment Unit (NDAU).

Current ongoing projects include:

  1. Integration of social signals during typical development and healthy ageing, and the brain networks supporting these abilities.
  2. Mathematical modelling approaches to the integration of social signals.
  3. Assessing basic components of social synchrony and their disruption in children with Autism.
  4. Processing and integration of emotion signals in young, at-risk children with behavioural and emotional difficulties.

Jiaxiang Zhang

Find out more about Jiaxiang Zhang

Our research focuses on how the human brain integrates cognitive processes to regulate behaviour. We then use new understandings of these cognitive functions for examining altered neural dynamics that lead to cognitive deficits in neurodegeneration and epilepsy. Our key discoveries have included insights into the neural and computational mechanisms of action-selection, decision-making, intention and learning in health, neurodegeneration and epilepsy. We used a combination of multimodal neuroimaging (fMRI, DWI, quantitative MRI and MEG/EEG/sEEG) and multilevel computational modelling. Read more here.

Kim Graham

Find out more about Kim Graham

My research focuses on understanding human memory, via testing predictions outlined in our British Psychological Society award-winning academic monograph, ‘The Evolution of Memory Systems: Ancestors, Anatomy, and Adaptations’ (Oxford University Press). Working at CUBRIC, I apply structural and functional neuroimaging methods, including ultra-high field MRI, to study inter-individual differences in neurocognitive networks, asking how these differences are related to human behaviour. This framework also allows us to investigate the very earliest structural and functional changes associated with risk of poorer later life cognitive health (e.g., via studying the influence of dementia risk genes on these brain networks). Development and application of web-based/mobile apps (e.g., our MiND app) enables cognitive assessment of patients and cohort participants, in studies designed to understand the critical lifespan changes enhancing dementia risk in later life.

Krish Singh

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Lisa Evans

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Matthias Gruber

Find out more about Matthias Gruber

Why do we remember some information easily for the rest of our lives but forget other information immediately? It is clear that learning depends on how we process information. However, very little is known about how motivational states during learning influence later memory. My lab at CUBRIC - the Cardiff University Motivation and Memory Lab - studies the neuroscience of motivation and its effect on memory. We use a multi-modal neuroimaging approach (structural and functional MRI, M/EEG) to investigate how motivational states contribute to learning and memory. In order to translate our findings to real-life learning situations, we are not only interested in the role of extrinsic motivational states (e.g., reward) on memory but also how intrinsic motivational states (e.g., via curiosity or exploration) enhance learning and memory consolidation. Currently, most of our projects focus on the neuroscience of curiosity and how curiosity affects learning in young people and adults (see TEDx talk). Our current research is primarily funded by a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship via Wellcome and the Royal Society.

Penny Lewis

Find out more about Penny Lewis

I am primarily interested in off-line learning during sleep and wakefulness. My research investigates brain plasticity, focusing specifically on the changes in behaviour and neural activity which occur after initial learning. I’m particularly interested in changes occurring while a memory is not being encoded, practised, or recalled. These can happen both during sleep and during wakefulness.

Current interests in the lab fall into five main categories

  1. Consolidation of procedural skills
  2. Emotional episodes
  3. Transition of memories from episodic to semantic
  4. Role of sleep in creative linking, integration, and recombination of memories
  5. 'Sleep engineering’ or ways to manipulate sleep for greater cognitive and or health benefit (see TEDx talk)

Sleep is critical for both health and cognition. Our lab is developing ways to manipulate sleep (called 'Sleep Engineering’) in order to maximise its beneficial properties. We are working on ways to enhance memory, disarm negative emotions, and combat cognitive decline through ageing. Read more here.

Petroc Sumner

Find out more about Petroc Sumner