Department of Psychology
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.
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.
I am keen to hear from potential PhD students interested in exploring semantic cognition in the brain, using neuroimaging (fMRI, MEG, DTI), neurostimulation (TMS), computational methods 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.
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