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Centre for Research in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience

Unit(s) of assessment: Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience; Education

Research theme: Health and Wellbeing

School: School of Social Sciences


Researchers from the Centre for Research in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience (CRACN) use behavioural and neuroimaging techniques to further fundamental theoretical knowledge of cognitive and neural processes and apply this to understanding performance in everyday tasks.

Researchers are interested in every step of the pipeline, from sensation and perception, through the core cognitive abilities of attention, memory, and decision making and on to complex applied skills (e.g., driving, sports performance, eye/ear witness testimony and workplace activity), as well as the sleep and circadian processes that underlie these neural and cognitive processes.

Research within CRACN furthers understanding of typically-functioning perceptual and cognitive systems (e.g., associative memory, working memory, object recognition and categorisation) and processes (e.g., visual search, multiple object tracking, perception of bodies). In addition, CRACN research also focuses on atypical perception and cognition (e.g., hearing impairment, visual disturbance during migraine, sleep disruption, circadian misalignment) and how cognitive and neural processes differ in specific populations and those whose cognitive functioning is compromised through disease, injury or disorder (e.g., visual cognition in sportspeople and computer gamers, sleep in children, adults and the elderly, people with body dysmorphia disorder).

A natural extension to this research is to identify ways to improve and/or support perceptual and cognitive processes. For example, CRACN research addresses driver safety interventions, training to enhance identification of drowning swimmers, the use of neural stimulation for cognitive enhancement, how speechreading can enhance understanding in hearing-impaired listeners, interventions that improve sleep, and how to improve voice identification in forensic settings.

Research in CRACN uses a range of methodologies, from expertise in developing computational models of cognition and perception to analysis of neural/eye movement/physiological data and in the development of real-world stimuli for training (e.g., hazard perception tests for driving, post trauma sleep assessments, simulation of cochlear implants).

This work is supported by a range of laboratory facilities including a Sleep Lab, a Driving Simulation Lab, a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation lab, a Computational Modelling and Data analysis lab, two EEG labs, two Eye Tracking labs and a recent joint investment with the School of Science and Technology into an fMRI facility.

Work from the centre has been funded by various funding bodies (e.g., ESRC, EPSRC, British Academy, Royal Society, BIAL Foundation), industry (e.g., Precision Biotics Ltd, Kier) and a range of charities (e.g., Road Safety Trust, RAC Foundation, the AA Foundation and the Fire Service Research and Training Trust).


The following research groups are part of this research centre:

  • Perceptio, Attention and Memory
  • Person Perception
  • Hearing Research
  • Transport Research in Psychology (TRiP)
  • Sleep

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