York lecturer wins the prestigious Spearman Medal

Posted on 4 April 2018

Dr Aidan Horner has won the Spearman Medal for his research in psychological and neural mechanisms.

Dr Aidan Horner from the Department of Psychology at the University of York has won the 2018 Spearman Medal, which is awarded by The British Psychological Society each year to an individual who has produced outstanding published work in psychology within eight years of completing a PhD.

Dr Horner’s research has helped reveal the psychological and neural mechanisms behind episodic memory, our ability to look back in time and re-experience previous life events. This experience of recollection is fundamental to our sense of self, helping to support our mental autobiography.

Aidan’s work combines experimental rigour, with important theoretical insights based on modelling. The first of two papers featured in his award nomination looked at how different fragments of experience are put together when remembering an event, and how this ‘pattern completion’ process works. A second paper looked at the brain mechanisms involved in imagined navigation. Using fMRI, Aidan’s research shows that both functions hinge on specific processes within the hippocampal formation, a part of the brain that links the ability to form new memories and to find our way around.

Dr Horner said, “I am delighted to receive this award, and still somewhat in shock. It is wonderful that the research my colleagues and I have worked on for the past few years has been recognised in this way.”

Nicola Gale, President of the British Psychological Society, said “Dr Horner is a remarkably creative, sophisticated and productive psychologist who has already made critical contributions to the fields of memory, vision and spatial navigation. I congratulate him on his award and shall follow his career with interest.” 

Find out more about the medal and read some of Dr Aidan Horner's journal articles.