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  • MSci Projects - Potential Supervisors 2020-21

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NameGeneral InterestCurrent TopicsMethods UsedPathwayHow to contact
Tim AndrewsNeural mechanisms of face recognition

I will be offering a project that uses fMRI to understand the brain regions involved in familiar face recognition. The project will involve a novel natural viewing paradigm to link the perception of facial identity with patterns of response in face-selective regions of the human brain.

fMRI, behavioral measures

Alan BaddeleyHuman memoryVisual and verbal working memory. Long-term forgetting, post amnesic patients forget at a normal rate but a small sub-sample do not. We are currently developing measures suitable for detecting this, a theoretically and practically interesting challenge.Behavioral
Daniel BakerI use psychophysics and neuroimaging techniques to investigate low level visual perception of contrast, motion, size, orientation, aftereffects, etc. I'm also interested in individual differences in perception, particularly relating to autism spectrum disorders.Particularly interested in supervising a group MEG project using a novel atlas-based multivariate decoding technique to look at the information available in specific brain regions during visual processing.fMRI, MEG, EEG, behavioral measures



Please email with any questions or to arrange a meeting:
Nick BarracloughI am interested in the brain mechanisms underlying perception. My research focuses on the perception of actions and how we make sense of the behavior of other individuals. In our lab we use a range of different techniques including psychophysics, behavioral testing, 3D presentation, Virtual Reality, TMS and electrophysiological recording.

I am happy to supervise projects investigating action perception, recent projects have investigated how visual adaptation can be used to understand action processing mechanisms, how we derive different personal traits from action information and how Autistic individuals infer the mental state of other individuals from their actions. This year I would be particularly interested in supervising the following MSci projects:

How people in the general population expressing different levels of Autistic traits evaluate the actions of other people.

How does attention interact with adaptation? Can attention to features switch adaptive effects from brain calibration to brain optimisation?

Motion capture of actions and the structure of how actions are represented in the brain.

I am also open to developing ideas with individual students, or groups of students, in the general area of action perception.

Psychophysics, Behavioural measures


Mike BurtonFace recognitionI am happy to supervise projects in a wide range of face-related topics.  I have a particular interest in within-person variability, and its influence on perception of identity. BehaviouralECSPPlease email me:
Scott CairneyI am interested in the role of sleep in memory consolidation. My current interests are primarily focused on memory reactivations in the sleeping brain. I would like to supervise a group project (2-3 students) on memory reactivation in sleep. The project will be focused on understanding the neurocognitive mechanisms by which memories are reactivated and strengthened during sleep. For more info on the nature of the study, see:

Polysomnography, EEG, behavioural measures. 


Angela De BruinBilingualism, language switching, language production, executive control, cognitive ageing, cognitive development.I am particularly interested in supervising a project looking at language control in bilingual children. This project could, for example, assess how bilingual children switch between their languages in different contexts. This type of study would work best as a group project. I am also happy to discuss other project ideas related to bilingualism/language.

behavioural measures


Karla EvansI am particularly interested in visual attention, crossmodal perception, visual awareness, visual episodic memory. I'm also interested in perceptual expertise and translation work on medical image perception ( e.g. radiology).I'm happy to supervise projects in all the areas listed, although this year I would be particularly keen to conduct a group project that will look into multi-modal (auditory and visual) search in scenes using eye-tracking and behavioral measures. There are ongoing studies in the lab using fMRI and eye-tracking looking into ''gist" processing, which prospective students may wish to get involved with. I'm also open to developing ideas with individual students or groups.
fMRI, eye-tracking, behavioral measures



Please contact me via email if you are interested at:
Gareth Gaskell

Adult psycholinguistics, speech perception, word recognition, word learning, the mental lexicon, sleep and memory consolidation.

I'm happy to supervise projects in all the areas listed, although this year I would be particularly keen to conduct a group project looking at consolidation and reconsolidation in word learning.

Polysomnography, behavioural measures


Elena GeanguMy research addresses different questions within the broader topic of social and emotional development in infancy and early childhood.I am interested in supervising research projects on the development of the ability to detect and understand others’ emotions, as well as on the development of empathy. The studies could be based in the lab or conducted in schools, depending on the chosen method.behavioral measures, EEG, psychophysiology


Silvia Gennari

Event memory, psychology of time, cognitive neuroscience, language processing

I am interesting in two main questions:

(1) how people represent the duration of an experience and how this representation changes as a function of a person's future or past perspective. Are there common brain mechanisms underpinning prospective and retrospective time representations?

(2) how descriptions of events bias our memory for those events. The same visual event can be described in different ways depending on one's perspective and prior knowledge. Would such descriptions influence what is perceived and later remembered?

These questions can be addressed with eye-tracking (event perception), memory tests and fMRI.

behavioural methods





Please, contact me by email if you are interested (, and we can arrange a time to meet.
Silke Goebel

Numerical cognition, arithmetic development, numeracy & literacy development

I am happy to supervise projects related to mathematical development, number processing and developmental disorders. I also have two concrete project ideas that would be good MSci projects (1) Why do adults with dyslexia struggle with multiplication? (2) Does early number word use in parent-child interactions predict children’s later mathematical development?

Behavioural Measures

Tom HartleyNeural representation; spatial cognition; memory.I am interested in the way different kinds of information are represented and processed in the brain, and especially in spatial cognition (e.g., how we find our way, how we know where we are, why do we get lost?), memory and the hippocampus. I use neuroimaging techniques together with experimental psychology and computational modelling to investigate these issues. Your project might involve neuroimaging investigations of scene processing (i.e., how we recognize places based on vision), aspects of memory (Neuroscience pathway) or behavioural tests of these or related functions (ECSP). If you have programming experience it may be possible to do a project involving aspects of computational modelling or novel VR-based tasks (either pathway). Imaging and modelling projects need to be carefully planned to fit with and extend ongoing work and to ensure feasibility.

fMRI ,structural MRI, behavioural measures, computational modelling


Lisa HendersonVocabulary learning; sleep across development; typical and atypical development.I am happy to supervise projects on a range of topics related to my general interests. This year I am particularly keen on projects that examine how children learn vocabulary from bedtime stories, and how such information is consolidated over sleep. I am also keen to supervise projects that examine relationships between teenagers sleep habits and their school performance.
Hannah HobsonI am interested in people’s abilities to recognise their own emotions, language processes, and populations with communication difficulties. 

I have some specific topics in mind, but I am also open to discussing students’ own ideas.

  • Agreement between self and other (likely partner) reports of alexithymia (difficulties with emotional insight)

  • Experimentally testing the role of language in recognising others’ emotions via semantic satiation 

  • The views of parents of children with speech, language and communication needs regarding mental health support for their children

  • Language difficulties and employment outcomes
Aidan HornerEpisodic memory; decision making; sleep; consolidationI use experimental, computational and neuroimaging techniques to understand how memories change over time, and how this supports decision making. I can supervisor projects in this broad area.Behavioural measures, compuational modelling, fMRI,
Bailey HouseI study the origins of human social behaviour, with a focus on how prosocial behaviour is shaped by our psychology for acquiring culture and following social norms.

I am interested in supervising projects that explore how psychology and social norms interact to motivate behavior. In particular, projects exploring how people's beliefs about what others do impact their real-world choices.

For those students who have prior experience doing research with children, I am also interested in supervising projects studying (1) how social norms impact the development of prosocial behaviour, and (2) the development of children's certainty in their own beliefs (e.g. about what others do, or what others expect them to do).



Mark HymersHow the brain processes sound; Data analysis methods for fMRI and MEGI am interested in supervising projects which are related to either of my areas of interest.  Current work in my lab is related to processing of low-level auditory stimuli and how this processing can be modulated using TMS.  As part of this work, we have also been using fMRI and MEG to investigate the spatial and temporal aspects of auditory processing.  I am also interested in discussing projects involving the analysis of large scale datasets (such as those from the Human Connectome Project)fMRI, MEG, TMS, Behavioural
Beth JefferiesControl of memoryOur group uses multiple methods (fMRI, TMS, neuropsychology, MEG) to examine how we constrain the information we retrieve from memory to suit a task or the context. We are delineating the large-scale networks that support flexible semantic cognition, and investigating how their recruitment and interaction differs depending on the circumstances. We also examine how brain injury affects flexible semantic retrieval in patients with stroke aphasia. I will work with students to develop projects that contribute to this programme of work and that are often published. You will also have the chance to work alongside a postdoc or PhD student in my group. 
fMRI, MEG, TMS, Neuropsychology



Rob JenkinsI am a cognitive psychologist. I am interested in the basic building blocks of thinking such as perception, memory, and decision-making. Most of my research is on the topic of face perception. I also have interests in time perception and the psychology of will. My preference is for simple behavioural research methods.

I have a number of ideas for projects in these areas, including some that would work well as group projects. I am especially interested in drawing as a means of probing mental representations. Example undergraduate projects from previous years: ;
Daniel Kaiser

Face / Object / Scene Perception, Naturalistic Vision, Visual Cortex Organisation

I'm looking for students interested in using M/EEG methods to understand the neural representation of naturalistic visual stimuli. I'm particularly happy to discuss projects aiming at the following research questions: (1) How do cortical oscillations support the transition from visual information (e.g., whether we see a face or an object) to semantic information (e.g., whether we recognise a person)? (2) How are aesthetic preferences (i.e., whether we find a particular face - or a piece of abstract art - attractive or not) mirrored in neural responses over time? (3) How do cortical responses to a natural scene vary as a function of its typicality (i.e. whether a kitchen is arranged like the kitchens you typically encounter)?



Asifa MajidLanguage, culture, and cognition.I am happy to supervise projects in a wide range of smell and taste related topics. In particular, I am interested in the role language and experience play in shaping these
Sven MattysSpeech perception, language, hearing.My current projects concern the perceptual mechanisms underlying speech perception under divided attention and noisy background.Behavioural,
Cade McCall

I use virtual reality and other immersion technologies to study social and affective processes as they emerge in the midst of naturalistic situations.

My current focus is on interactions with autonomous vehicles and the dynamics of fear and threat.

Virtual Reality, behavioural measures,
Liz MeinsMy research focuses on mind-mindedness, social cognition and verbal regulation in children and adults

I am happy to supervise projects in the broad areas listed. This year, I would be keen to supervise projects on links between adults' mind-mindedness in relation to friends and partners and (a) relationship closeness and satisfaction, and (b) theory of mind.
Harriet OverI study intergroup biases in adults.I would be interested in supervising projects investigating how adults learn to form spontaneous first impressions based on other people's appearance. I am also interested in research-led interventions to reduce biases in educational and health information and to encourage more egalitarian attitudes.Behavioural


Stephanie Petty

Gavin Phillips

My main interests lie in the general area of mental health. Related topics such as addiction, emotion and motivation crop up with regularity.

I am more than happy to supervise any students who wish to investigate their own research question in relation to issues broadly relevant to mental health. Titles of recent projects generated by students include:

  • #Bodypositive: ‘Body positivity promoting’ imagery on Instagram and its effects on young women

  • The Influence of Gender and Obsessive-compulsive Thoughts upon the Development of Exercise Fixations 

  • The Trouble With Brilliance: Do Psychopathological Tendencies Predict Creativity and Intelligence within an Educational Setting?

  • Personality Traits and their Influence on Exercise Addiction and Appearance Management
  • Internal vs. External Jogging: Comparing Exercise and Humour for Improving Affect

  • Eating behaviour and Somatic Awareness: Is Self-Compassion a factor in both men and women?
  • The effects of Familiarity and Information on Attitudes towards Mental and Physical Disorders.

  • Generalisation of Attentional Focus on Food Intake to Related Activities
  • An Investigation Into The Effects Of Cognitive Challenge On Snack Food Preference.
  • Getting the timing right: effects of the scent of lavender on psychological state
  • Weight consciousness as a function of personality
  • Think Positive: Is Attributional Style a Predictor of Psychological Well-Being
  • The effect of music mood and tempo on stress
  • Why do we Donate? Examining the Influence of Personality and Marketing on Charitable Giving.
  • Attributional Style as a Predictor of Interpersonal Sympathy

  • The Role of Personality in Odour Induced Mood Change

  • Personality and Eating Attitudes: How Does Conscientiousness and Controlling Behaviour Link with Damaging Eating Behaviours?

  • The effects of Familiarity and Information on Attitudes towards Mental and Physical Disorders.

  • An Investigation into the Relationship Between Personality Traits, Exercise Addiction and Appearance Concern




If you're interested, please get in touch via email and we can take things from there:

You could also pick an appointment slot to come and see me via the url below - look for the 'Chat Now!' items in the calendar and simply click on an appointment time of your choosing. Then replace the 'Chat Now!' line with your name(s), and you could add a bit of info in the Description box too if you like:

David PitcherI am interested in Clinical Neuroscience projects that will examine novel treatments for mental illness involving TMS. I am also in interested in face recognition and prosopagnosia.

I am offering two different projects. (1) I am interested in examining novel treatments for mental illnesses that will use TMS and fMRI. I am particularly interested in anxiety and eating disorders (in collaboration with Catherine Preston). (2) The neuropsychology of face recognition. We will design and run a series of fMRI experimental tasks for an acquired prosopagnosic patient with profound face perception difficulties.

I would also be happy to talk about any ideas that you may have for a TMS experiment if you are interested in learning more about brain stimulation. If you would like to know more about any of these projects please contact me. I would be happy to explain in more detail and answer any questions.

fMRI, TMS, Neuropsychology


Philip QuinlanI have a general interest in attention and attentional control and more recently I have been concerned with aspects of visual short-term memoryI am happy to consider supervising projects on these general topics.Strictly behavioural measures - RT, accuracy.ECSPBest to visit me in my office (PS/B117).
Sally QuinnSocial uses of technology and the internetI am happy to supervise any project in this general area.Mainly questionnaires but open to experimental methodsECSPContact me by email to arrange a meeting (
Alex Reid

I am interested in various forms of memory consolidation that result from sleep. This includes lexical  integration, memory transformation, false memory creation and emotional memory consolidation.

I am happy to supervise behavioral experiments that disentangle the influences of sleep and time on memory consolidation. This could broadly relate to a number of areas within this remit, such as emotional or lexical memory consolidation, or a related project of your own devising (the literature is vast and varied). Unlike other sleep researchers in this list our experiments would likely take place over one or two days outside the sleep lab (i.e. will be home-based rather than lab-based), and would not involve EEG. 

Behavioral measures, questionnairesECSP (I am happy to arrange a cursory meeting for questions)

Miles Rogish

Adult Neuropsychology, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Developmental Disorders (DD), mental health provision in complex service users (TBI and DD specific)

Compassion Focused Therapy informed formulation for staff support with challenging behaviours in traumatic brain injury. Family dynamics in developmental disorders (Autism Spectrum Disorders - ASD specific). Perception of childhood bullying experiences in adults with ASD. I’m happy to consider supervision of any project directly related to my areas of general interest.

behavioural methods, self-report measures, Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis, secondary data analysis.


Katie Slocombe

animal communication and cognition

Human infant development

I am offering the following animal project:

Chimpanzee communication: The opportunity to collect data for 4-6 weeks over the summer at Edinburgh Zoo on the chimpanzees. Observational data on their communicative signals would be collected with video cameras and require coding during term time. You may also have the chance to help train the animals on touchscreen experiments. There is flexibility in the questions you can address with the communicative data. Subsidised basic (hostel-like) accommodation available in the zoo for £3/night, but you must be able to cover these costs and your transport.

I can offer the following developmental project:

Human infant development. The opportunity to work along side my PhD students Joanna Buryn-Weitzel and Eve Holden members of my existing lab collecting data on infants 12-24 of 2-3.5 years old months of age in their own homes. You would accompany Joanna or Eve experienced RAs to collect a range of observational and experimental data when the infants are 1224, 14,15,18, 21 and 24 months old (to complement our existing data on these infants at 3-11 months)30, 36 and 44 month old. We are collecting data that is relevant to understanding the development of joint attention, point following, social referencing, cooperation, overimitation and prosocial behaviour in a longitudinal cohort, and the observational data (video of mother-infant interactions) could be used to ask a wide range of questions. We will also be using questionnaires and observational data to understand parenting styles and the social-ecological environment the infants are growing up in. A comparable data set is being collected in Uganda and you would be able to access this data to address cross cultural questions if they were of interesthave data on this cohort of infants from the age of 3 months old, so you have the unique opportunity to use measures taken in infancy to predict behaviour you will collect data on in early childhood. There is flexibility in the questions you can choose to address with the data you and the wider project will collect. Data Collection and analysis would occur during the Autumn and Spring terms; this is a demanding project and requires the commitment of 2 days/week in both terms.


Observational and experimental.

Video coding / Acoustic analysis



Please contact me via email if you are interested (
Jonny Smallwoodhigher-order cognition; spontaneous thought, semantic and episodic memory.Current studies are examining the higher order cognition both as it occurs naturally and as part of a task. The studies focus on processes such as semantic and episodic memory and their relationship to spontaneous thoughts such as daydreaming and constructs such as the self. Your project would be part of a large ongoing study that takes place in our lab and may reanalysis of existing data and/or the collection of new data.fMRI, MEG, TMS


Steve Tipper

Social cognition, attention, visuomotor processes.

Current project is examining how visuomotor processes can influence emotion, changing preference and choice.
Alex WadeLow and mid-level visual processing including colour, contrast and stereo vision.I'm interested in how attention changes neuronal activity in the early visual system and how we select features and 3D locations from cluttered scenes. I would be open to developing novel and interesting projects in collaboration with students.fMRI, MEG and EEG and behavioral measures.