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Alexandra Woolgar
Programme leader, Executive processes group
01223 273703
Research Programme:

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.

CBSU publications