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Becky (Rebecca) Jackson



  • BSc Psychology, University of Manchester (2010)
  • PhD Psychology, University of Manchester (2014)

Becky completed a BSc and PhD in Psychology at the University of Manchester. She then secured an EPSRC Doctoral Prize fellowship to study the brain network associated with semantic cognition using functional and structural connectivity methods. In 2017, she became a British Academy postdoctoral research fellow. During this time, she developed a neuro-computational approach, employing combinations of computational and neuroimaging methods to understand the brain architecture responsible for semantic cognition and the impact of semantic control. She moved to the MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit as a research fellow in 2018. In 2022, she began a lectureship position at the University of York.

Becky currently runs the Necsus (NEuroComputational Strategy to Understand Semantics) Lab, based in the Psychology department. The lab adopts a multi-disciplinary approach to investigate semantic control, semantic representation and their interaction across the lifespan. More broadly, the Necsus Lab aims to improve neuro-computational approaches and delineate the organisational principles that allow complex cognition to arise from our brain structure.


  • Lecturer (2022-present)
    Psychology Dept, University of York
  • British Academy fellowship (2017-2021)
    MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge
  • EPSRC Doctoral Prize fellowship (2014-2016)
    Neuroscience & Aphasia Research Unit, University of Manchester

Departmental roles

  • Co-chair of the Board of Examiners (2023-present)



Our daily interactions with others and the world around us critically rely on both our stored conceptual knowledge of objects, people and words, and our ability to use these concepts appropriately for a given context or task. How does the brain combine fragments of information across times and events to create and store coherent concepts? How does it use this information flexibly, selecting task-relevant features whilst inhibiting elements that are irrelevant and often misleading in the moment? How do these abilities develop during childhood? My research combines computational models and neuroimaging investigations of these processes to investigate how the structure and organisation of the brain can give rise to complex cognition and behaviours based on our understanding of the world around us.

In the Necsus (NEuroComputational Strategy to Understand Semantics) Lab, we utilise this multi-disciplinary neuro-computational approach to investigate semantic control, semantic representation and their interaction across the lifespan. Continual translation between computational and neuroimaging methods allows the creation, testing and refinement of precisely-specified mechanistic accounts of higher-order cognition. More broadly, the Necsus Lab aims to improve neuro-computational approaches and delineate the organisational principles that allow complex cognition to arise from our brain structure.


  • Beth Jefferies (University of York)
  • Matt Lambon Ralph (MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge)
  • Tim Rogers (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • Olaf Hauk (MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge)
  • JeYoung Jung (University of Nottingham)
  • Richard Binney (Bangor University)
  • Chris Cox (Louisiana State University)
  • Claude Bajada (University of Malta)

Available PhD research projects

I am keen to hear from potential PhD students interested in exploring healthy or disordered semantic cognition in the brain, using neuroimaging (fMRI, MEG, DTI), neurostimulation (TMS), computational methods, neuropsychology or behavioural testing across development. This could include a focus on semantic control and its relationship to executive control of other domains, the interaction between control and representation areas, the organisation of frontal and temporal cortices or the development of semantic control. Projects could also focus on the computational principles that promote learning in the brain or application of a neurocomputational approach to a different cognitive domain.


  • Victoria Hodgson (PhD, 2019-2023)
  • Setareh Rahimi (PhD, 2019-2023)
  • Emer Jones (PhD rotation project, 2019)
  • Matthew Rouse (MSc, 2016-2017)



  • Principles of Cognitive Neuroscience – EEG & MEG lectures
  • Data Analysis in Neuroimaging - MEG analysis lectures & practicals


  • Topics in Cognitive Neuroscience - Semantic cognition lecture


Full publications list

See Google Scholar

  • Hauk, O., Jackson, R.L., & Rahimi, S. (2023). Transforming the neuroscience of language: Estimating pattern-to-pattern transformations of brain activity. Language, Cognition & Neuroscience. 10.1080/23273798.2023.2226268
  • Jackson, R.L., Humphreys, G.F., Rice, G.E., Binney, R.J., & Lambon Ralph M.A. (2023). A Network-Level Test of the Role of the Co-activated Default Mode Network in Episodic Recall and Social Cognition. Cortex, 165, 141-159.
  • Rahimi, S., Jackson, R.L., Farahibozorg, S.R., & Hauk, O. (2023). Time-Lagged Multidimensional Pattern Connectivity (TL-MDPC): An EEG/MEG Pattern Transformation Based Functional Connectivity Metric. NeuroImage. 270, 119958.
  • Hodgson, V. J., Lambon Ralph, M. A., & Jackson, R. L. (2022). The Cross-Domain Functional Organisation of Posterior Lateral Temporal Cortex: Insights from ALE Meta-analyses of Seven Cognitive Domains Spanning 9515 Participants. Cerebral Cortex, bhac394.
  • Jung, J., Lambon Ralph, M. A., & Jackson, R. L. (2022). Subregions of DLPFC Display Graded yet Distinct Structural and Functional Connectivity. Journal of Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1216-21.2022
  • Rahimi, S., Farahibozorg, S., Jackson, R. L.,* & Hauk, O.* (2022). Task Modulation of Spatiotemporal Dynamics in Semantic Brain Networks: An EEG/MEG Study. NeuroImage, 246, 118768.
  • Hodgson, V. J., Lambon Ralph, M. A., & Jackson, R. L. (2021). Multiple Dimensions Underlying the Functional Organisation of the Language Network. NeuroImage, 241, 118444.
  • Jackson, R.L., Rogers, T.T. & Lambon Ralph M.A. (2021). Reverse-Engineering the Cortical Architecture for Controlled Semantic Cognition. Nature Human Behaviour, 5, 774–786.
  • Jackson, R.L. (2021). The Neural Correlates of Semantic Control Revisited. NeuroImage. 224, 117444.
  • Humphreys, G.F., Jackson R.L. & Lambon Ralph M.A. (2020). Overarching Principles and Dimensions of the Functional Organisation in the Inferior Parietal Cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 30, 5639-5653.
  • Jackson, R.L., Bajada, C.J., Lambon Ralph M.A. & Cloutman, L.L. (2020). The Graded Change in Connectivity across the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex Reveals Distinct Subregions. Cerebral Cortex, 30(1), 165-180.
  • Musslick, S., Novick Hoskin, A., Webb, T.W., Frankland, S. Cohen, J.D., Jackson, R.L., Lambon Ralph M.A., Chen, L. Rogers, T.T., O'Reilly, R.C., Petrov, A.A. (2019) Understanding Interactions amongst Cognitive Control, Learning and Representation. Proceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 35-36.
  • Jackson, R.L., Cloutman, L.L. & Lambon Ralph M.A. (2019). Exploring Distinct Default Mode and Semantic Networks using a Systematic ICA Approach. Cortex, 113, 279-297.
  • Jackson, R.L., Bajada, C.J., Rice, G.E., Cloutman, L.L. & Lambon Ralph M.A (2018). An Emergent Functional Parcellation of the Temporal Cortex. NeuroImage, 170, 385-399 (toolbox available at
  • Bajada C.J., Jackson, R.L., Haroon, H.A., Azadbakht, H., Parker, G.J.M., Lambon Ralph, M.A., Cloutman, L. (2017) A Graded Tractographic Parcellation of the Temporal Lobe. NeuroImage, 155, 503-512.
  • Jackson, R.L., Hoffman, P., Pobric, G., Lambon Ralph, M.A. (2016) The Semantic Network at Work and Rest: Differential Connectivity of Anterior Temporal Lobe Subregions. Journal of Neuroscience, 36, 1490 –1501.
  • Jackson, R.L., Hoffman, P., Pobric, G. & Lambon Ralph M.A. (2015). The Nature and Neural Correlates of Semantic Association vs. Conceptual Similarity. Cerebral Cortex, 25(11), 4319-4333.
  • Jackson, R.L., Lambon Ralph M.A. & Pobric, G. (2015). The Timing of Anterior Temporal Lobe Involvement in Semantic Processing. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27(7), 1376-1387.
  • Cairney, S., Durrant, S.J., Jackson, R.L. & Lewis, P.A. (2014). Sleep Spindles Provide Indirect Support to the Consolidation of Emotional Encoding Contexts. Neuropsychologia, 63, 285-292.

External activities


  • British Neuropsychological Society
  • Experimental Psychology Society

Honours and awards

  • Frith prize, Experimental Psychology Society (2014)

Contact details

Dr Becky (Rebecca) Jackson
Department of Psychology
University of York
Room PS/E/008

Tel: 01904 325264