I am interested in understanding attention and cognitive control, and the neural mechanisms underlying these processes.
Several classic tasks in experimental psychology are thought to tap in to our ability to control our behaviour (e.g. by withholding a response to a rare stimulus amongst frequent stimuli that require a button press). The ability to control our behaviour is also something that is encountered in day-to-day life and in the media; we often refer to individuals who are less able or likely to control their actions as ‘impulsive’. My research is about understanding the way these tasks and abilities relate to each other, as well as understanding what causes people to vary along these dimensions. I use a range of behavioural, statistical, and brain imaging techniques to examine this.
Selected publications (2014 onwards)
Full list of publications
Research topics and related papers
Individual differences and cognitive control
My primary area of research, supervised by Prof. Petroc Sumner, based on understanding the relationship between laboratory based tasks of cognitive control and the concept of ‘impulsivity’. In particular, we are interested in how different measures of control relate to each other, how individuals vary in their ability to control their behaviour, and what the neural mechanisms of these differences are.
Selective attention in working memory and perception
Our capacity for maintaining information in a state that is available for report or operation (a state referred to as short-term or working memory) is limited. Similarly, our ability to attend to information in our sensory environment is limited. I am interested in the relationship between these limitations. Specifically, some models of working memory propose that a single item held in memory (e.g. a digit or object location) has privileged access for cognitive operations. People are faster to mentally update the location of the same object on two consecutive steps in a sequence of operations compared to when performing operations on two different objects on consecutive steps. My work has examined whether this state of privileged access is related to perceptual attention, and using a variety of methods (eye-tracking, EEG, statistical modelling) to understand how priority is maintained and modified in working memory.
In addition to these primary areas of research, I am also interested in the application of various methods to questions in the areas of sensory processing, attention, and memory.
ESRC (awarded to Prof. Petroc Sumner)
Jon Brooks (University of Bristol; Clinical Research and Imaging Centre Bristol)
Ute Leonards (University of Bristol)
Casimir Ludwig (University of Bristol)
Olivia Maynard (University of Bristol)
Klaus Oberauer (University of Zurich)
Simone Schnall (University of Cambridge)
George Stothart (University of Bristol)
Frederick Verbruggen (University of Exeter)
Daniel Zahra (University of Plymouth)
2004-2007: BA Psychology (1st class Hons.), University of Winchester
2007-2008: MRes Psychological Methods (Awarded with distinction), University of Sussex
2009-2013: PhD Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol
University of Bristol School of Experimental Psychology Travel Award £1100 (2013)
Guarantors of Brain Travel Award £800 (2013)
BBSRC Roberts Fund for Postgraduate Training £600 (2012)
BBSRC Roberts Fund for Postgraduate Training £255 (2012)
BBSRC Roberts Fund for Postgraduate Training £1700 (2011)
University of Bristol School of Experimental Psychology Travel Award £600 (2011)
BBSRC four year PhD studentship – University of Bristol (2009-2012)
2008-2009: Research Assistant, University of Plymouth
2013-Present: Research Associate, Cardiff University