My research seeks to understand human behaviour from a cognitive neuroscience perspective. I ask how humans - characterised above all animals for the diversity and flexibility of their behaviour - cope so effortlessly in the ever changing world around us. How does the brain achieve this impressively flexible cognitive control? What are the neural mechanisms for flexible selective attention?
Novel methods for neuroimaging analysis enable new insights into how the brain processes information from the world and integrates it with internal representations of task rules and our current cognitive focus. My research uses multi-voxel pattern analysis with fMRI and MEG data to examine these processes as participants perform tasks.
I focus on the contribution of a network of frontal and parietal “multiple-demand” brain regions which are involved in a wide range of tasks. These regions are thought to respond flexibly: adapting to process the most important information at each moment; and biasing processing elsewhere in the brain to drive a goal-directed response across the system. My current projects focus on the flexibility of representation in the multiple-demand system, the relationship between processing in these regions and more specialised brain regions such as the visual cortices, and the importance of multi-voxel patterns for human behaviour.
In a new parallel arm of research, I study language abilities in children with Autism who do not yet speak. Our aim is to use neuroimaging to examine the cognitive abilities of this understudied population who may otherwise struggle to show us how much they know.
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]