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Man observing test tubes (Stock photo) © SciencePhotoLibrary

We research the biological basis of human behaviour and cognition to improve our knowledge of the living functioning brain, so we can understand how things might go wrong in disease, such as depression and schizophrenia. This involves carefully constructed experiments that usually try to isolate a particular aspect of brain function. We use a variety of methods in our research, often testing responses as people perform computerised tasks. For some studies, we also use neuroimaging techniques to reveal brain activity in volunteers. Participants perform tasks which are designed to test brain processes, such as memory, while in the scanner. We are then able to investigate how brain activity changes during the task. We also collaborate with other Oxford Departments to study the effects of genetic, pharmacological or nutritional differences. Using this approach we can further understand the brain pathways involved in specific behavioural processes, and identify new ways of maintaining brain health.

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