Dr Alexa Morcom
Cognitive neuroscience of memory, and memory in healthy ageing
My lab’s research focuses on recollection of events – episodic memory. Recollection is highly specific: people can vividly remember unique events even though they are similar to many other experiences. We are interested in how people retrieve relevant details, how they avoid confusion between similar memories, and how these abilities evolve in healthy ageing. We use fMRI and EEG brain imaging and behavioural methods in humans, combining traditional with multivariate and model-based analytic techniques.
One important question is to what degree memory differences over the adult lifespan can be explained by reduced specificity of neuronal representations leading to more general, or gist-based memories. Alternatively, memory errors may reflect compensatory shifts like greater reliance on accumulated knowledge. During the PhD you will investigate conceptual and perceptual factors underlying gist-based memory in young and older people, combining model-based behavioural techniques with brain imaging indices of representational similarity.
Strong statistical and programming skills will be an advantage, as well as experience designing experiments in human neuroscience or psychology. Students on rotation will be expected to take taught courses to complement their background but will also build these skills in the lab.
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