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Alexandra Woolgar
Programme leader
01223 767704
Research Programme:

We study the neural basis for flexible cognitive control, underpinning the incredible human capacity for diverse and flexible behaviour.

Our research uses multivariate analysis of fMRI, E/MEG, and combined TMS-fMRI data. We are particularly interested in how information from the world is represented, exchanged, and transformed between brain regions and how (and whether!) the activation patterns we decode give rise to thought and behaviour.

We focus on frontoparietal “multiple-demand” (MD) brain regions which are involved in a wide range of tasks. These regions appear to prioritise coding of task-relevant information, providing a neural basis for selective attention. Projects examine the flexibility of the system, the relationship with visual cortices, and the links between MD coding and behaviour.

Separately, we are developing methods to study language processing in children with Autism who do not speak. We aim to use neuroimaging to examine receptive language ability in this understudied population.

Our lab currently spans two institutions: the CBU and Macquarie University, Sydney (MQ) where I hold an honorary associate professorship.

You can find out more about our research, lab members and news at


Current Postdocs

Current PhD students

Former Postdocs

Former PhD students

CBSU publications
Caruana, N., Alhasan, A., Wagner, K, Kaplan, D.M., WOOLGAR, A. , & McArthur, G. (In Press) The effect of non-communicative eye movements on joint attention, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology [Open Access]

Petit, S., Badcock, N., Groostwagers, T., WOOLGAR, A. (2020) Unconstrained multivariate EEG decoding can help detect lexical-semantic processing in individual children, Nature Scientific Reports, 10(1):10849 [Open Access]

Petit, S., Badcock, N., WOOLGAR, A. (2020) Finding Hidden Treasures: A Child-Friendly Neural Test of Task-Following in Individuals Using Functional Transcranial Doppler Ultrasound, Neuropsychologia, 03 Jun 2020, :107515 [Open Access]

Petit, S., Badcock, N., Groostwagers, T., Rich, A.N., Brock, J., Nickels, L., Moerel, D., Dermody, N., Yau, S., Schmidt, E., WOOLGAR, A. (2020) Toward an individualised neural assessment of receptive language in children, Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 63(7):2361-2385 [Open Access]

WOOLGAR, A. , Weldon, K.B., Rich, A.N., Williams, M.A. (2020) Late disruption of central visual field disrupts peripheral perception of form and color, PLoS One [Open Access]

BARNES, L., Goddard, E., WOOLGAR, A. (2019) Decoding rules and attended features over multiple task phases, Perception (42nd European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP) 2019 Leuven) [Open Access]

WOOLGAR, A. , Jackson, J.B. (2018) Adaptive Coding in the human brain: Distinct object features are encoded by overlapping voxels in frontoparietal cortex, Cortex, 108:25-34 [Open Access]

Woolgar, A. , DUNCAN, J., Manes, F., Fedorenko, E. (2018) Fluid intelligence is supported by the multiple-demand system not the language system , Nature Human Behaviour, 2, 200–204 [Open Access]

Woolgar, A. , Jackson, J., & DUNCAN, J. (2016) Coding of visual, auditory, rule and response information in the brain: 10 years of multi-voxel pattern analysis, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 218, 1433-1454 [Read More]

Woolgar, A. , Bor, D., DUNCAN, J. (2013) Global increase in task-related fronto-parietal activity after focal frontal lobe lesion, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25(9), 1542-1552 [Read More]

Woolgar, A. , Bor, D., DUNCAN, J.D. (2013) Global increase in task-related activity after focal frontal lobe lesion, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 25(9), 1542-1552 [Read More]

Manes, F., Roca, M., Torralva, T., Gleichgerrcht, E., WOOLGAR, A. , THOMPSON, R., DUNCAN, J.D. (2011) The role of Area 10 (BA10) in human multitasking and in social cognition: A lesion study, Neuropsychologia, 49(13), 3525-2531 [Read More]

WOOLGAR, A. , Hampshire, A., THOMPSON, R. & DUNCAN, J. (2011) Adaptive Coding of Task-Relevant Information in Human Frontoparietal Cortex, Journal of Neuroscience, 31(41), 14592-14599 [Open Access]

WOOLGAR, A. , THOMPSON, R., Bor, D., DUNCAN, J. (2011) Multi-voxel coding of stimuli, rules, and responses in human frontoparietal cortex, NeuroImage, 56(2), 744-752 [Read More]

WOOLGAR, A. , Parr, A., CUSACK, R., THOMPSON, R., NIMMO-SMITH, I., Torralva, T., Roca, M., Antoun, N., Manes, F. & DUNCAN, J. (2010) Fluid intelligence loss linked to restricted regions of damage within frontal and parietal cortex, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(33), 14899-14902 [Open Access]

Roca, M., Parr, A., THOMPSON, R., WOOLGAR, A. , Torralva, T., Antoun, N., Manes, F. and DUNCAN, J. (2010) Executive function and fluid intelligence after frontal lobe lesions, Brain, 133(1), 234–247 [Open Access]

WOOLGAR, A. (2009) Multiple-demand regions of human frontal and parietal cortex: function and representational content, Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Cambridge [Read More]

WOOLGAR, A. , Parr, A., CUSACK, R., THOMPSON, R., NIMMO-SMITH, I., Torralva, T., Roca, M., Antoun, N., Manes, F. & DUNCAN, J.D. (2009) Specific brain lesions linked to fluid intelligence loss, Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Wenesday PM, 128 [Open Access]

WOOLGAR, A. & DUNCAN, J. (2008) Multi-voxel coding of stimulus-response mapping rules in human frontal and parietal cortex, 14th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, S132 [Read More]

Hogan,S., Stokes,J., Tyszkiewicz, E., White, C. & WOOLGAR, A. (2008) An evaluation of Auditory Verbal Therapy using the rate of early language development as an outcome measure, Deafness & Education International, 10(3), 143-167 [Read More]

DUNCAN, J., Parr, A., WOOLGAR, A. , THOMPSON, R., Bright, P., Cox, S., BISHOP, S. & NIMMO-SMITH, I. (2008) Goal neglect and Spearman’s g: Competing parts of a complex task, JEP: General, 137(1), 131-148 [Read More]

WOOLGAR, A. , BOR, D., DUNCAN, J., Parr, A., CUSACK, R., NIMMO-SMITH, I., Antoun, N, Manes, F. & Torralava, T (2007) Fluid intelligence after brain damage: relating brain lesion to behavioural deficit, 13th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, S115 [Read More]