Scott Cairney
Research Fellow



  • Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders (C2D2) Research Fellow, University of York, 2015-2017. 
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of York, 2012-2015. 
  • PhD Psychology, University of Manchester, 2012. 
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2007.



I am principally interested in memory, sleep and emotion. In a project funded by the Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders (C2D2), I am currently unifying these interests by investigating the effects of sleep deprivation on emotional regulation and memory consolidation.

A major component of this C2D2 project is focused on the development of a sleep-based intervention to improve emotional regulation, which may have translational applications in the mental health sector (i.e. for the treatment of mood disorders such as depression).

With Prof. Gareth Gaskell, I am also carrying out an ESRC funded project to examine memory reactivations in sleep and the extent to which these can be manipulated by re-exposing sleeping individuals to learning-associated cues.


  • Boosting Sleep Quality to Improve Mental Health. 
  • Reactivating Memories in Sleep.

Research group(s)

Sleep, Language and Memory (SLAM) Laboratory


  • Wellcome Trust: Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders, University of York (Principal Investigator): £6988. Influencing Facial Trustworthiness in Sleep. (2016).
  • Wellcome Trust: Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders, University of York (Co-Investigator): £10,000. The Assessment of Emotional Regulation in Stroke Aphasia. (2016).
  • Wellcome Trust: Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders, University of York (Principal Investigator): £51,844. Boosting Sleep Quality to Improve Mental Health. (2015).
  • White Rose University Consortium (Co-Investigator): £10,983. Low Cost, Long-Term Measurement of Motor Activity and REM Sleep. (2015).


  • Prof. Gareth Gaskell Department of Psychology, University of York, UK.
  • Prof. Simon Gilbody Department of Health Sciences, University of York, UK.
  • Prof. Ken Paller Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, USA.
  • Prof. Graham Law University of Lincoln, UK.
  • Dr. Lisa Henderson Department of Psychology, University of York, UK.
  • Dr. Bernhard Staresina School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, UK. 
  • Dr. Hong-Viet Ngo School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, UK. 
  • Dr. Shane Lindsay Department of Psychology, University of Hull, UK.
  • Dr. Penelope Lewis School of Psychology, Cardiff University, UK.
  • Dr. Simon Durrant School of Psychology, University of Lincoln, UK.



  • BSc Psychology (Year 3): The Cognitive Psychology of Sleep.


Full publications list

Published Papers

  • Ashton, J.E. Cairney, S.A., Gaskell, M.G. (2017). No Effect of Targeted Memory Reactivation during Slow-Wave Sleep on Emotional Recognition Memory. Journal of Sleep Research (in press). 
  • James, E.L. & Cairney, S.A. (2017). Commentary: Knowledge Acquisition during Exam Preparation Improves Memory and Modulates Memory Formation. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 10, 245.
  • Weighall, A., Henderson, L.M., Barr, D.J., Cairney, S.A., Gaskell, M.G. (2017). Eye-Tracking the Time-Course of Novel Word Learning and Lexical Competition in Adults and Children. Brain and Language, 167, 13-27.
  • Cairney, S.A., Lindsay, S., Sobczak, J.M., Paller, K.A., Gaskell, M.G. (2016). The Benefits of Targeted Memory Reactivation for Consolidation in Sleep Are Contingent on Memory Accuracy and Direct Cue-Memory Associations. Sleep, 39, 1139-1150.
  • Durrant, S.J. Cairney, S.A., Lewis, P.A. (2016). Cross-Modal Transfer of Statistical Information Benefits from Sleep. Cortex, 78, 85-99.
  • Cairney, S.A., Ashton, J.E., Roshchupkina, A.A., Sobczak, J.M. (2015). A Dual Role for Sleep Spindles in Sleep-Dependent Memory Consolidation? The Journal of Neuroscience, 35, 12328-12330.
  • Cairney, S.A., Durrant, S.J., Power, R., Lewis, P.A. (2015). Complementary Roles of Slow-Wave Sleep and Rapid Eye Movement Sleep in Emotional Memory Consolidation. Cerebral Cortex, 25, 1565-1575.
  • Durrant, S.J., Cairney, S.A., McDermott, C. & Lewis, P.A. (2015). Schema-Conformant Memories are Preferentially Consolidated during REM Sleep. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 122, 41-50.
  • Cairney, S.A., Durrant, S.J., Jackson, R., Lewis, P.A. (2014). Sleep Spindles Provide Indirect Support to the Consolidation of Emotional Encoding Contexts. Neuropsychologia, 63, 285-292.
  • Cairney, S.A., Durrant, S.J., Hulleman, J., Lewis, P.A. (2014). Targeted Memory Reactivation during Slow-Wave Sleep Facilitates Emotional Memory Consolidation. Sleep, 37, 701-707.
  • Durrant, S.J., Cairney, S.A., Lewis, P.A. (2013). Overnight Consolidation Aids the Transfer of Statistical Knowledge from the Medial Temporal Lobe to the Striatum. Cerebral Cortex, 23, 2467-2478.
  • Cairney, S.A., Durrant, S.J., Musgrove, H., Lewis, P.A. (2011). Sleep and Environmental Context: Interactive Effects for Memory. Experimental Brain Research, 214, 83-92.
  • Durrant, S.J., Taylor, C., Cairney, S.A., Lewis, P.A. (2011). Sleep-Dependent Consolidation of Statistical Learning. Neuropsychologia, 49, 1322-1331.
  • Lewis, P., Cairney, S.A., Manning, L., Critchley, H. (2011). The Impact of Overnight Consolidation upon Memory for Emotional and Neutral Encoding Contexts. Neuropsychologia, 49, 2619-2629.

Contact details

Dr Scott Cairney
Research Fellow
Department of Psychology
The University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 324355