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Regular version of the site

Thesis topics

The tentative topics suggested on the link give an idea of possible research domains. The specific research projects will be developed in collaboration with students.

Statement_CW_topic_cogn (DOCX, 19 Kb)

Statement_MT_topic_cogn (DOCX, 19 Kb)



Thesis_Manual_cogn (DOCX, 181 Kb)


Vasily Klucharev, Faculty of Social Sciences | School of Psychology: Professor
  1. Neuroscience of social influence, persuasion, propaganda   
  2. Neuroeconomics of the decisions under risk
  3. Neuroeconomics studies the cognitive dissonance 
  4. Neuroeconomics of the financial decisions 

Yulia Kovas, Professor of Genetics and Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, Director of InLab
  1. Genetically informative studies of cognitive abilities and other individual characteristics related to mathematical performance. A twin study is under way, collecting a wide range of measures from the twin pairs. Participants of the study perform behavioral tests and questionnaires, and then take part in EEG experiment. We also collect their saliva and anthropological measures. There is also a test-retest singleton (non-twin) group of the participants who take part in the study twice so that we can measure the stability of the tests.
  2. Simulation study of the bias introduced by confounding variables in twin research. Adjustment of the phenotypic variables for the effects of sex and age is widely accepted practice in twin research (McGue & Bouchard, 1984). Such variables may increase phenotypic similarity of twins introducing bias to the estimates of genetic and environmental effects. The aim of this study is to estimate the bias under various conditions (sample size, genetic and environmental effects, effect of confounding variable).
  3. Machine learning methods in analysis of brain activity data. There is a new field of Machine Learning, Deep Learning, which can take advantage of the graphical nature of EEG derived data and which has shown to outperform many methods for a wide range of applications (REF). ML methods and Artificial Intelligence methods including Deep Learning will allow researchers world-wide to make better use of current and future EEG derived data. We have samples big enough and computational capacities (cluster computer resources) to address this problem.  The project involves working with EEG analyses experts to refine existing and develop new methods of multi-channel data analyses.
  4. Cross-cultural studies of executive functions. The project aims to collect executive functions data in Russia, UK, Kyrgisia, China and other countries to understand the nature of cross-cultural differences in variability and/or average performance in these abilities.
  5. Transcranial electric stimulation (TES) studies with control twin method. Electric Brain Stimulation is an invaluable tool in research into brain function.  Applying this method in combination with using MZ twins as participants in experimental and placebo-groups provides a powerful test of potential effects. For such test we developed a TES protocol promising for improvement of learning skills.
  6. Executive functions and brain activity in children with local brain lesions. Together with clinicians we are investigating the psychological and psychophysiological states of children who came through brain surgery. We use neuropsychological test batteries, eye-tracking and EEG to assess the effectiveness of recovery and training procedures these children undergo.
Any questions can be forwarded to Ilya Zakharov (iliazaharov@gmail.com), research associate at Russian-British Laboratory for Behavioural Genetics at the Psychological Insititue of the Russian Academy of Education.
All the work is supervised by Yulia Kovas and Sergey Malykh, Director of the Russian-British Laboratory for Behavioural Genetics at the Psychological Insititue of the Russian Academy of Education, member of Russian Academy of Education.

W.Joseph MacInnes   Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences / School of Psychology
  1. To what degree to eye movements and attention overlap? (Eye tracking, computational modelling, Inhibition of return, remapping).
  2. Top down and bottom up influences in visual search and how do they combine? (Eye tracking, computational modelling, Inhibition of return)
  3. Computational models of task and attentional state: Can we model top down control without a homunculus? (computational modelling, behavioural experiments)
  4. What is the time course of exogenous attention and re-entrant processing in early visual areas (Eye tracking, computational modelling, facilitation, possible collaborations with Neuroscience group)

Yury ShtyrovCentre for Cognition & Decision Making: Leading Research Fellow:
  1. Neural dynamics of language comprehension and production
  2. Cognitive control in communication
  3. Sensory-motor integration and embodied cognition
  4. Psychological and psychophysiological bases of numeracy
  5. Interactions between domain-specific and domain-general cognitive systems
  6. Language acquisition
  7. Communication deficits (e.g. aphasia)
  8. Cognitive and neural mechanisms of bilingualism

Tadamasa Sawada, Faculty of Social Sciences | School of Psychology: Associate Professor    
  1. Haptic/Tactile perception: perception of a shape of an object (haptic) and of texture (tactile)
  2. Visual perception of a 3D shape
  3. Visual perception of depth (e.g. stereo, familiarity, texture-gradient)
  4. Practical problems in analysis and statistics   
Matteo FeurraFaculty of Social Sciences | School of Psychology: Associate Professor
  1. Long-term Memory Processes     
  2. Motor Control and Mirror Neurons System by Non Invasive Brain Stimulation (TMS, tDCS, tACS)      
  3. Disentangling Working Memory System trough sub-components investigation           
  4. Non invasive Brain Stimulation and Decision Making   
  5. Methods: Testing Transcranial Electrical Stimulation effects by different stimulation waveforms     
  6. Methods: Combining Non Invasive Brain Stimulation with EEG       

Boris GutkinCentre for Cognition & Decision Making: Leading Research Fellow:
  1. Modelling the mechanism and functional significance of neuronal oscillations in cognitive tasks
  2. Modelling complexity in neural dynamics
  3. Modelling drug addiction
  4. Modelling decision processes and their modulation by supply and demand
  5. Developing novel financial market modelling methods
Marie Arsalidou, Faculty of Social Sciences | School of Psychology: Associate Professor
  1. Development of cognitive abilities in multiple domains.
  2. Functional neuroimaging of cognitive and emotional processes.
  3. Quantitative meta-analyses of fMRI data.  
  4. Relations between cognitive load and eye-movements.
  5. Bilingualism and cognitive control.         
Vladimir F. Spiridonov, Scientific-Educational Laboratory for Cognitive Research: Chief Research Fellow
  1. Problem solving: strategies, representation, psychological mechanisms of mistakes and successful solving;      
  2. Differences between experts and novices in problem solving (algebra, chess, biochemistry, puzzles, etc.);      
  3. Interaction of several languages in the cognitive system of polyglots (bilinguals, trilinguals, and so on);      
  4. Psychological nature of Insight.  
Dmirty V. Lyusin , Scientific-Educational Laboratory for Cognitive Research: Leading Research Fellow     
        1.      Congruency and complementarity effects in processing of emotional information.     
                 Research questions -  
                 What are the relationships between specific emotional states of an individual and a facilitation or an inhibition        
                (1) of the processing of various types of emotional stimuli   
                (2) or of the recognition of particular emotions?       
         2.    Effects of moods on the scope of cognition.
                Research questions -  
                What are the mood dimensions that influence the scope of cognition? Are they valence, arousal, motivational intensity or their combinations?           
                What is the mood influence on specific aspects of cognition – namely, focus of attention, global vs. local processing, categorization?   
Igor S. Utochkin, Faculty of Social Sciences | School of Psychology: Associate Professor
        1.      Visual search and selective attention      
Annotation: Visual search is a very useful tool for studying the deployment of attention over space and time. The observer’s task is easy: determine whether a predefined or just odd item is present among multiple other items presented in a display. We can manipulate numerous stimulus factors (the number of objects, their features, their similarity and dissimilarity, their density, etc.), as well as high-level sets via instructions and rewards. In visual search, we typically measure the speed of response (reaction time) to determine how efficient the search was. Interestingly, this simple measure can tell us a lot about attention. Additionally, eye movements can be registered during visual search giving more information about our visual behavior. 
        2.      Ensemble summary statistics      
Annotation: Despite our attention and visual working memory have severely limited capacity of 3-4 objects at a time, at any given moment we still see much more than these 3-4 objects. Numerous studies of past decades show that it is possible because of ensemble representation, the special mode of perception that allows us to see large sets of objects in the absence of the information about individuals. The visual system is believed to construct rather generalized images of ensembles via computing summary statistics, such as approximate number or average size, orientation, speed, brightness, even facial expression, etc. Research questions within this topic are as follows:   
                2.1. What are the limitations of ensemble perception? Do they require limited resources of attention and/or working memory?      
                2.2. The role of summary statistics in perceptual grouping, segmentation, and categorization. How can visual summary statistics be used by the visual system to decide which members of an ensemble belong to the same type of objects, and which members belong to different types?        
                2.3. Individual differences in ensemble perception.  
      3.      Change blindness
Annotation: Change blindness is a striking inability to detect a clearly visible change to an object in a visible scene if this change occurs during a brief view interruption (e.g., during eye-blinks, saccades, occlusions, etc). Change blindness is ascribed to the failure of focused attention and working memory to create and store the continuous visual representation of an object. My specific research questions within this topic are:        
                3.1. The dead zone of attention. It was found in previous research of my lab that people are especially blind to changes occurring in close proximity to most interesting objects of a scene. They fail to notice them even when are actively looking for a change and informed about the dead zone. Current research in my lab aims to understand the nature of this effect. Is it elicited by some low-level spatial inhibition? Or is it caused by a high-level strategy of scene inspection?       
                3.2. Long-term memory for scenes and objects following an active looking for changes in the change blindness task.

Alexei OssadtchiCentre for Cognition & Decision Making: Leading Research Fellow:
  1. Optimization of neurofeedback performance
  2. From dipoles to networks: novel analytic methods for detection of networks in EEG and MEG data
  3. The use of optimal signal processing methods in brain-computer interfaces
Boris V. Chernyshev, Faculty of Social Sciences | School of Psychology | Department of Psychophysiology: Associate Professor 
  1. Electrophysiological markers and brain mechanisms of spontaneous attentional lapses   
  2. Psychophysiology of individual differences in fluctuations of attention          
  3. Mind-wandering as a possible cause of spontaneous attentional lapses
  4. Psychophysiology of intra-modal and inter-modal feature binding: the relative role of automatic and attentional processes.       
  5. Relationship between attention and awareness studied with visual evoked potentials.    
  6. Brain mechanisms of Kanizsa illusion: MEG study.       
  7. Brain mechanisms of ultrarapid acquisition of "embodied" word meaning: MEG study.

Vadim NikulinCentre for Cognition & Decision Making: Leading Research Fellow:
  1. Functional significance of neuronal oscillations in sensory, motor and cognitive tasks
  2. Complexity in neural dynamics
  3. Cortico-muscular interactions in normal subjects and patients (e.g. stroke)
  4. Development of the novel analytic and recording techniques for EEG/MEG                 

Olga V. Dragoy, Faculty of Humanities, Center for Language and Brain: Director

  1. Neural foundations of language processing (MRI, electrophysiological and neurostimulation evidence)       
  2. Psycholinguistic studies (behavioral and eye-tracking evidence)
  3. Bilingualism and crosslinguistic studies
  4. Language assessment and rehabilitation in brain-damaged populations (with aphasia, tumors, epilepsy)
  5. Normal and pathological language acquisition
  6. Interaction between language and other cognitive functions 
Alexey A. Kotov, Scientific-Educational Laboratory for Cognitive Research: Senior Research Fellow       
  1. Contemporary versions the hypothesis of linguistic relativity: the influence of language on categorization      
  2. Development of early childhood concepts from perceptual categories to inductive inferences
  3. Early strategies in mapping new words onto objects by children from 2 to 4 years      
  4. Models of multiple systems of categorical learning: parallel or sequential functioning                      

Victoriya V. Ovsyannikova
, Scientific-Educational Laboratory for Cognitive Research: Senior Research Fellow  
  1. The influence of emotional states and traits on emotion recognition.    
  2. Individual differences in visual search of emotional stimuli.     
  3. Effects of attention on emotional information processing.