The Brain & Cognition Laboratory is a cognitive neuroscience research group in the Department of Experimental Psychology of the University of Oxford. The group is headed by Professor Anna Christina (Kia) Nobre and is made up of around twenty postdoctoral fellows and graduate and undergraduate students, and a wide web of collaborators from around the globe.
Our Questions: We are interested in how the human brain gives rise to our mental experience. We live under the illusion that we can sense everything around us, but experiments show instead that at most a handful of items occupy our consciousness and guide our actions at any given moment. We investigate how the brain proactively and dynamically shapes our selective perception and memory according to our goals, expectations, and experience. These functions are collectively known as ‘selective attention’. They are fundamental to the development of healthy cognition, and their disruption contributes significantly in deficits in neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.
Our Methods: We combine careful measures of behavioural performance with a variety of state-of-the-art methods to measure and stimulate brain activity in human volunteers. Every method has its unique strengths and limitations, and a multi-pronged approach gives us much better grasp on our challenging research questions. In addition to EEG and ERP available at the B&C lab; we use MEG, structural and functional MRI, and TMS available through the Oxford brain-imaging centres with which we collaborate closely – OHBA and FMRIB.
Our Funding: Our experiments are supported through charities and government organisations that fund medical and scientific research. Currently, funding for our research and activities comes from the Wellcome Trust, National Institute for Health Research, Medical Research Council, James S. McDonnell Foundation, Oxford-McGill Neuroscience Collaboration, Science Without Borders/CNPq, and Rhodes House. Previous funding also includes Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Clarendon Fund, Commonwealth Scholarship, John Fell Fund, Marshall Scholarship, New College Oxford, Programme Alban, Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture, St John’s College Oxford, and Royal Society.
Public Engagement and Involvement: We are committed to communicating and discussing our scientific activities and ideas, and participate in many public engagement activities.