Sussex Neuroscience

Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience

The essential task of cognitive neuroscience is to understand how the brain creates the mind. What are the neural substrates of mental processes such as attention, memory, language, learning, reasoning and decision making? Behavioural neuroscience also overlaps with psychology in seeking to understand the biological basis of an animals actions, and typically these investigations are carried out at the level of brain circuitry, neurons and neurotransmitters. Cognitive and behavioural neuroscience also help us understand human pathology and behaviours such as addiction.

Since its beginnings, the University of Sussex has had a rich history in cognitive and behavioural research, which is still going strong today.  Our current expertise spans across several schools and research groups, and we are internationally renowned for our work on: addiction; consciousness; memory and neurodegeneration; navigation; synaesthesia; visual perception and attention; and vocal communication.  We use techniques ranging from psychophysics and virtual reality, to single-cell electrophysiology, EEG, TMS, fMRI and psychopharmacology. Our experimental models range from social insects, through to mice and humans. The scope of our work is represented by the groups below:

Lab websites

Professor Aldo Badiani How do environmental stimuli modulate the effects of addictive drugs on brain and behaviour?

Dr Chris Bird - How do humans remember complex events and what are the brain systems necessary to do this?

Dr Jenny Bosten - Visual perception, particularly in colour vision, individual differences and spatial information processing.

Dr Daniel Campbell-Meiklejohn - My lab uses psychopharmacology, neuroimaging, and clinical testing to develop a neurobiological understanding of social cognition. 

Professor Pete Clifton - I study the neurochemical bases of motivation and learning, with a particular interest in applying the results to developing drug treatments for obesity.

Professor Tom Collett - Insect visual navigation

Professor Hugo Critchley - How do mechanisms of mind and body interaction within human brain underpin psychological and physiological health or lead to symptoms?

Professor Hans Crombag - How does associative learning influence motivation to seek and consume food or drugs?

Professor Dora Duka - I research the cognitive and emotional mechanisms involved in addition to alcohol and nicotine.

Dr Anna Franklin - How are colour categories encoded in the brain?

Dr Paul Graham - I am interested in the efficient computational mechanisms that enable insects to produce sophisticated visual learning and navigation despite their small brains.

Dr Catherine Hall - How does the brain balance its energy supply with demand?

Dr Sarah King - We use genetic manipulation to probe neurobiological mechanisms underlying behaviour.

Dr Eisuke Koya - How do neuronal ensembles mediate learned associations about food and food-associated stimuli in the prefrontal cortex?

Professor Daniel Osorio - Animal visual: colour, communication and camouflage

Professor Julia Simner - Multisensory language and perception in the general population, and in people with synaesthesia. I also study extreme abilities in those with savant syndrome.

Professor Dai Stephens - How does alcohol abuse alter the brain to affect future drug taking? How do GABAergic synapses in the accum- bens participate in drug reward.

Professor Jenny Rusted - Behavioural, pharmacological and genetic influences on normal and abnormal cognitive ageing.

Professor Anil Seth - How do conscious experiences, subjectivity, selfhood, and ‘free will’ emerge from embodied brain activity?

Dr Natasha Sigala - Neural correlates of perceptual and cognitive functions. How do we see, learn and remember

Dr Peggy St Jacques - In the Memory for Events Lab we take a cognitive neuroscience approach to investigate how memories change over time and due to retrieval.

Professor Jamie Ward - How do different senses interact with each other in the brain?

Focus on

Eisuke Koya
Eisuke Koya (Lecturer)
‘I am interested in how the brain associates different stimuli and how it stores and retrieves these associations. In addiction, this type of learning is particularly long-lasting and powerful. At the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Baltimore, USA) I used a behavioural model where cocaine was associated with a particular environment, and knocked out only those neurons that were active. A tiny minority of the neurons in the brain’s reward system were found to control the association – a “neuronal ensemble” that selectively encodes a memory. In 2012 I started my own research group, choosing Sussex for the diversity of behavioural, molecular, and neurophysiological researchers here.  I currently study the mechanisms behind appetitive memories: what is so unique about the synaptic physiology of neurons activated by food- associated stimuli? Unravelling the synaptic basis of associative memory might also lead us towards a better understanding of memory impairment during ageing.’