Professor Hugo Critchley

Professor Hugo Critchley

Chair in Psychiatry (Honorary Consultant)

Telephone: 01273 678336

See full profile

Hugo Critchley

Psychiatry; affective neuroscience; autonomic psychophysiology; neuroimaging; consciousness science

My laboratory, at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, focuses on understanding how interaction between brain and body influences cognition and emotion. We use functional neuroimaging of human brain with concurrent autonomic measurements during psychological tasks, studying both healthy individuals and patients with psychiatric and neurological disorders.

Through the Sussex Centre of Consciousness Science, we access advanced neuroscience techniques and contribute to the development of theoretical neural models of consciousness with relevance to understanding clinical disorders of mind. Research from the lab has characterised in detail how bodily states of arousal are generated and represented in the human brain to influence emotional processes.

The PhD project will extend this work to examine the relationship between central regulation autonomic arousal responses, the expression of anxiety symptoms and the negative biasing of memory. The project will use the combination of functional brain imaging and autonomic measurement performance of emotional memory tasks by healthy individuals and in patients with anxiety disorders. 

The project will include training in neuroimaging methods (including brainstem functional imaging), emotional and autonomic psychophysiology and clinical evaluations. This project would suit a neuroscience student with interest in clinical neuroscience with an aptitude for technological approaches that may require development of skills including Matlab programming and psychophysiological experimental task design.

Key references

  • What the heart forgets: Cardiac timing influences memory for words and is modulated by metacognition and Interoceptive Sensitivity. Garfinkel SN, Barrett A, Minati L, Dolan RJ, Seth AK, Critchley HD. Psychophysiology 2013 50:505-12
  • Extending predictive processing to the body:  Emotion as interoceptive inference. Seth A, Critchley HD. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 2013 10:47-48.
  • The embodiment of emotional feelings in the brain. Harrison NA, Gray MA, Gianaros PJ, Critchley HD. Journal of Neuroscience. 2010 30:12878-84.
  • Following one’s heart: Cardiac rhythms gate central initiation of sympathetic reflexes.  Gray MA, Rylander K, Harrison NA, Wallin BG, Critchley HD. Journal of Neuroscience 2009 29:1817-25.

Visit the Critchley Lab website for more details and a full list of publications.

You might also be interested in: