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Dr Lisa Evans

Dr Lisa Evans

Senior Lecturer, Head of EEG

School of Psychology

Email:
evanslh@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 0080
Location:
Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ
Available for postgraduate supervision

Research summary

My research interests are in the area of human episodic memory, which is memory for our personal past. One strand of research in this area aims to refine psychological models of memory to gain a better understanding of the processes that contribute to recognition memory judgments and how they relate to each other. Another question that I am investigating is how healthy individuals are able to selectively retrieve relevant information without retrieving a flood of irrelevant memories. All this research takes a multi-modal approach (behavioural, EEG, MEG and fMRI) which permits an integrated analysis of the processes, time course and brain regions implicated in episodic memory.

My second area of interest is in examining the cognitive deficits present in individuals within the schizophrenia spectrum and elucidating the potential link with clinical symptoms. This work has examined attention, learning and more recently memory deficits and has used a range of techniques (eg. behavioural, pharmacological, EMG and EEG).

Teaching summary

I teach at all levels of the Undergraduate Psychology degree and also on the Masters course in Neuroimaging. I give a series of 6 lectures on memory to students in the first year of the Psychology degree for Language and Memory, these cover: factors which affect encoding and retrieval from memory, source memory and schizophrenia, amnesia and forgetting. I supervise final year students on their research projects. These are usually on some aspect of memory e.g. false memory, reality monitoring, episodic future thinking; and some of these projects also examine schizotypy. I am a Personal Tutor to students at various levels of the Undergraduate degree.

I am the Lead for Education at CUBRIC, as well as Director of the MSc course in Neuroimaging: Methods and Applications and also lead Admissions Tutor for this course. I am the Module Coordinator for Memory: Functions and Failures and also teach on this module giving lectures, workshops and journal clubs. I coordinate the Neuroimaging Research Proposal module giving workshops, marking essays and proposals. I am also the Module Coordinator for the final semester Neuroimaging Research Project and supervise Masters students projects. Finally, I am also a Personal Tutor for Masters students.

I studied Psychology at Cardiff University (BSc First  Class Honours) and also completed a PhD at Cardiff University in Experimental Clinical Psychology under the supervision of Prof Bob Snowden and Prof Nicola Gray. Since completion of my PhD I have worked in the department as a Research Fellow on grants in the areas of Forensic Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention and Memory and Clinical Psychology before becoming a Lecturer in 2013.

Academic positions

  • Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology. Cardiff University (2017-
  • Lecturer, School of Psychology, Cardiff University (2013-2017)
  • Research Fellow, School of Psychology, Cardiff University (2011-2013). Refining models of memory retrieval via real-time measures of neural activity.
  • Research Associate: School of Psychology, Cardiff University (2010-2011). Effects of NMDA receptor antagonism on cognitive processes in healthy volunteers and it’s reversal by a dopamine antagonist: comparison to patients with schizophrenia.
  • Research Associate, School of Psychology, Cardiff University (2006-2010). Multi-modal brain imaging studies of mnemonic control processes.
  • ESRC Early Career Research Fellow, School of Psychology, Cardiff University (2005-2006). A multi-component analysis of personality correlates of sensory gating.
  • Research Associate, School of Psychology, Cardiff University (2004-2005). Outcome of patients discharged from Partnerships in Care medium secure units: 1992-1999.

2019

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2004

I teach at all levels of the Undergraduate Psychology degree and also on the Masters course in Neuroimaging. I give a series of 6 lectures on memory to students in the first year of the Psychology degree for Language and Memory, these cover: factors which affect encoding and retrieval from memory, source memory and schizophrenia, amnesia and forgetting. I supervise final year students on their research projects. These are usually on some aspect of memory e.g. false memory, reality monitoring, episodic future thinking; and some of these projects also examine schizotypy. I am a Personal Tutor to students at various levels of the Undergraduate degree.

I am Director of the Masters course in Neuroimaging: Methods and Applications and also lead Admissions Tutor for this course. I am the Module Coordinator for Memory: Functions and Failures and also teach on this module giving lectures, workshops and journal clubs. I coordinate the Neuroimaging Research Proposal module giving workshops, marking essays and proposals. I am also the Module Coordinator for the final semester Neuroimaging Research Project and supervise Masters students projects. Finally, I am also a Personal Tutor for Masters students.

I sit on the following Boards:

Student-Staff Panel

Board of Graduate Studies

Teaching and Learning Committee

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Research topics and related papers

Episodic Memory
Currently the focus of my work is on human episodic memory, particularly memory retrieval. One strand of research is to refine psychological models of memory to gain a better understanding of the processes that contribute to recognition memory judgments and how they relate to each other. Electrophysiological research has been influential in suggesting that there are two distinct processes: recollection and familiarity, but it is controversial how these processes are related to each other. Using magnetoencephalography (MEG) indices of memory retrieval processes we have been able to adjudicate between different accounts and find strong support that recollection and familiarity make independent contributions to memory judgments. This was achieved by averaging measures of neural activity and contrasting across different conditions of interest.

In other work we are investigating memory control processes. Over time, a huge amount of episodic information is stored in memory, and different situations require the selective and strategic retrieval of specific elements of contextual information that are relevant to the task at hand. Healthy individuals have the ability to selectively retrieve relevant information without retrieving a flood of irrelevant episodic memories, indicating that episodic retrieval is effectively guided and constrained by control processes. Our work using EEG aims to identify and determine the functional significance of these control processes and the different stages of retrieval at which they operate.

Clinical Psychology
The  other area of research that I am interested in is a) elucidating the cognitive deficits present in individuals within the schizophrenia spectrum, and b) how  these might be associated with certain clinical symptoms. Most of this work has taken a dimensional approach to schizophrenia and measured schizotypy in healthy volunteers.

Some of this work has examined prediction error, which is the discrepancy between expectation and experience. By minimising this error an individual is able to improve their ability to predict events in their environment. It has been proposed that individuals with schizophrenia may demonstrate an abnormal use of this error signal which results in the formation of inappropriate associations which in turn gives rise to some of the psychotic symptoms. I have examined this using various learning paradigms, such as latent inhibition and Kamin blocking and am currently looking at this in the perceptual domain.

I am also interested in deficits in episodic memory in individuals in the schizophrenia spectrum. These are important because they are one of the strongest predictors of functional outcome in patient groups. I am interested in the ability to determine the origin, or the source, of a memory and in particular making judgements about self versus other e.g. did I do that or did you?; known as Reality Monitoring.

Funding

Evans & Wilding (2013-2014). Psychophysiological studies into task-set inertia in switching paradigms. Funded by the Bial Foundation (€46K)

Wilding & Evans (2013-2014). Dissociating familiarity and conceptual priming with event-related potentials. Funded by the Bial Foundation (€46K)

Wilding & Evans (2011-2013). Refining models of memory retrieval via real-time measures of neural activity. Funded by a BBSRC research grant (£210K).

Herron & Evans (2007-2008). Psychophysiological studies of memory for imagined and perceived events: The effects of schizotypy. Funded by the Bial Foundation (€50K).

Evans (2005-2006). A multi-component analysis of personality correlates of sensory gating. Funded by an ESRC post-doctoral fellowship  (£30K).

Research group

Jane Herron

Yi-Jhong (Denny) Han

Research collaborators

Mark Haselgrove (University of Nottingham)

Edward Wilding (Univesity of Nottingham)

Past projects

  • Clara Humpston (joint supervisor with Prof David Linden). Prediction error and source-monitoring in psychosis (2014-2017).
  • Angharad Williams (joint supervisor with Prof Ed Wilding). Electrophysiological indices of preparation and behavioural performance measures for episodic memory retrieval (2012-2015).
  • Amie Doidge (joint supervisor with Prof Ed Wilding). The role of cognitive control in memory retrieval: Applications to schizotypy and schizophrenia (2012-2015).