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Established by Dr. Mark A. Elliott to examine the dynamics of cognitive mechanisms.
The lab has access to two acoustically-screened chambers (with Faraday cage) and two separate Faraday cages. The lab suite is equipped with a Datacheck 1050 XY plotter with P15 phosphor, capable of image-frame generation with sub-millisecond resolution. Also a state-of-the-art Cambridge Research Systems ViSaGe graphics controller powering a final generation 22" Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 2070SB monitor and an IRIS Skalar eye tracker. Experimental programs and data analysis are created in house in C or Matlab programming environments, or in e-prime, Superlab or presentation software suites. The lab can also make use of one of two 32-channel Brain Amps EEG amplifiers located in the School.
Currently, lab activities centre on the research programmes of graduate students as well as the following honorary research associates:
Valeria Minaldi (Visiting postgraduate student from the University of Padova, Italy) – golden section effects in music
Valeria has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychological Sciences with thesis on “Emotional components in the aesthetics of visual arts” –Faculty of Medicine and Psychology, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, Rome, Italy. She has undertaken an Erasmus visit to the Faculty of Psychology, University of Zaragoza, Teruel, Spain and is completing her Master’s in Neurosciences and Neuropsycological Rehabilitation in the School of Psychology, University of Padova, Padova, Italy. She has undertaken Anthropological research at the Tremiti Islands (Italy) with the School of Psychology, University of Padova, Padova, Italy and currently undertakes her Master’s thesis on golden section effects in music at the School of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
Mark Glennon (PhD student)– executive function and attention in schizophrenia
Mark, born in Strokestown, Ireland, completed his undergraduate degree at the National University of Ireland, Galway and the University of Salzburg, Austria. He graduated in 2009 with a first class honours Bachelor of Arts Psychology International.
In 2010 Mark commenced a Ph.D in the School of Psychology, NUI Galway (NUIG), and the Department of Psychiatry, NUIG under the supervision of Dr. Mark Elliott and the co supervision of Professor Colm MacDonald (Psychiatry, NUIG) and Professor Paul Sauseng, Ludwigs Maximillien University, Munich (LMU). His research centres on an analysis of aberrant attention processes in brain oscillatory activity, focusing on two distinct populations – typically developed individuals (TD) and persons with schizophrenia (PSZ). Mark was a recipient of an IRC EMBARK scholarship to the value of € 72000 to complete this project.
Following on from this, Mark was a visiting researcher at the Brain Oscillations Lab, Salzburg and the Centre for Mind and Brain, at University of California, Davis. Mark has active relationships with Professor Paul Sauseng’s EEG and TMS laboratory at the LMU, Munich.
Presently, Mark has co-authored 3 publications addressing issues in attention and working memory in the journals, Current Biology (Sauseng et al., 2009), NeuroImage (Holz, Glennon, Prendergast & Sauseng, 2010) and PloS One (Twomey, Glennon & Elliott, 2012).
Current research interests involve dissociating attention processes in the attentional blink and other associated Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) paradigms whilst recording online electroencephalographic (EEG) activity.
Liam Coleman (PhD student) – EEG investigations of perceptual load
Liam Coleman is a recent Psychology graduate from Waterford Institute of Technology. In addition to this, Liam has many years’ experience both in the area of Intellectual Disability services, and the Cabinet Making/Retail Fit-out industry. Liam's undergraduate thesis investigated the effect of brain training on Executive Functions, which is an umbrella term for cognitive processes that regulate, control, and manage other cognitive processes examples being; planning, working memory, attention, problem solving, verbal reasoning, inhibition, mental flexibility and task switching . Liam is currently studying for his PhD in the National University of Ireland Galway under the supervision of the Perception, Cognition & Action research group, in which experimental research is conducted into the perceptual, psychophysiological, cognitive and learning processes involved in complex human behaviour. The focus of Liam's current research is an electrophysiological investigation into how humans integrate and deal with new information, and the increasing complexity of new information, utilising electroencephalography.
Paul Mulcahy (PhD Student) – dynamics and visual aesthetics
Paul graduated from NUI Galway in 2007. His research investigates basic principles that have been proposed to account for aesthetic experience, such as golden ratio geometry or visually balanced imagery, and assesses the possibility that they relate to the intrinsic functioning of the visual system. This involves using preference-based tasks from experimental aesthetics along with performance-based paradigms from visual perception research. This research was funded in part by a scholarship from the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS). Paul has also worked with the comparative psychology lab at Università degli Studi di Padova, supported by an ERASMUS scholarship.
Naomi du Bois (PhD student) – auditory binding in musicians and non-musicians
Over the course of my degree I became increasingly interested in cognitive neuropsychology and in particular psychophysical phenomena. Auditory information such as pitch, timbre, and loudness is coded in spatially separate areas of the auditory cortex. The process of binding refers to the neural oscillatory response involved in the integration of this information through the temporal coordination of synchronous oscillatory responses. Binding by synchrony describes the involvement of synchronised oscillatory activity in the gamma range of frequencies [approximately 30 – 70 Hertz (Hz)] in the process of integrating information which is coding the same percept. Research in this area has emphasised the significance of temporal coding in the integration process.
The proposed research for my PhD seeks to expand on these experiments to investigate whether auditory binding is facilitated by the interaction of gamma frequencies (30-70Hz) in the auditory cortex coding the information with one or more theta rhythms (6-8z) in other areas of cortex. Evidence from 16 experiments currently under review indicates this to be the case in vision (see Elliott, 2014, Frontiers in Psychology in review; Aksentijevic, Barber, & Elliott, 2011). Also it is proposed that this research will examine the reduced need of musically trained individuals to rely on oscillatory binding mechanisms during the process off disambiguating complex sounds (Aksentijevic, Smith, & Elliott, 2014).
Niamh Nic Aodha Bhuí (Honorary research associate) – paired-tone therapies
Niamh graduated with a BA in Psychology from Trinity College Dublin in 2010. During her studies, she developed a special interest in psychoacoustic phenomena. While working in science communication, she designed and delivered workshops on this topic and was invited to exhibit in an FP7-funded Women in Science and Technology exhibition. She is excited to join NUIG’s Perception & Cognition Labs and dive into a study on novel treatments for conditions like ADHD.
Niamh has also completed a Masters in Drama & Theatre in NUIG. In her parallel life, she can sometimes be spotted acting in, and directing, plays – and making friends with wild animals.
The lab collaborates with researchers at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, the University of Padova, Italy, Roehampton University, London, UK as well as with the Clinical Research Facility at University College Hospital Galway.
Cognitive Applications (CogApp) Laboratory
Divided between Galway and Assessment Innovation Inc. in New York, this laboratory researches the application of cognitive performance as a valid measure of business and occupational performance. Partly supported by the European Union, cognitive assessment suites have been developed for airline and medical services clients. The lab collaborates with professionals in industrial and organizational psychology for assessment development and provides a platform for innovative assessment design. Lab members in Galway include:
Sophia Arndt (PhD student) – cognition in multilinguals
Sophia, born in Munich, Germany, completed her undergraduate degree at the Paris Lodron University in Salzburg, Austria, in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science. As part of her studies she spent her second year at NUI Galway as an Erasmus student.
Parallel to this she took on a research assistance position at the Department of Psychiatry, in cooperation with Prof. Colm McDonald and Senior Clinical Psychologist Peter Murphy. She worked on a study using the Measurement and Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (short MATRICS) and was responsible for the assessment of approximately 40 patients and controls. This was the psychological part of a research study that uses neuroimaging to examine the effect of medication on the brain structure of people with schizophrenia. The study was later presented at NCBES Galway Neuroscience Centre’s Annual Research Day 2013 under the title “The Course of Cognitive Deficits in a 4-Year Follow-Up Study of First Episode Psychosis Patients and Clinical Correlates” (Kenney, J., Anderson Schmidt, H., Arndt, S., McFarland, J., Scanlon, C., McDonald, C.& Cannon, D.)
After completing her Bachelor, Sophia returned to Galway to do an internship funded by the National Agency for Lifelong Learning OEAD for a company called Assessment Innovation (AI). As a member of the development team she worked on the development of a set of assessments of basic and occupational cognition for managers, focussing on critical thinking and leadership skills. Other areas covered were social cognition and self-efficacy.
In September 2014 Sophia commenced a Ph.D in the department of Psychology under supervision of Dr. Mark Elliott and in cooperation with Dr. Chris Dwyer and Dr. Stanislava Antonijevic. Her research will focus on bilingualism and its influence on cognition in adults with special focus on managers.
Ruth Ní Bheoláin (Honorary research associate with Bioinnovate) – group dynamics and cognition
Ruth completed her M.Sc Health Psychology following the B.A. Psychology. During her time at NUIG she was heavily involved in the department as auditor of the psychological society for two years and was involved in and presented at various conferences. She is currently working as a research associate for BioInnovate.