I investigate how brains encode information about the world, maintain that information over time, and combine it in ways that allow us to make good decisions. I also study how these essential cognitive functions are altered in psychiatric and aging populations. To tackle these questions, I ask human participants to perform simple tasks that allow me to measure these functions in a controlled way; I usually measure brain activity from these participants through non-invasive methods (EEG, MEG); I sometimes manipulate specific brain systems through pharmacological intervention; and I almost always monitor changes in ‘brain state’ by measuring pupil size. I also use computational models to try to understand how the behaviour that participants produce on my tasks might emerge from the brain activity that I observe.
I conducted my doctoral research with Redmond O’Connell and Ian Robertson at Trinity College Dublin, did my first postdoc with Sander Nieuwenhuis at Leiden University, The Netherlands, and my second postdoc with Tobias Donner at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. I’m now back at Trinity College on a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship with Rob Whelan.