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Nick Yeung

BA (Hons) PhD

Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience

  • Director of Graduate Studies
  • Tutorial Fellow, University College
Cognitive and neural basis of human learning, memory and attention

Research Summary

My research investigates the cognitive and brain mechanisms of human attention, memory, and decision making.

A major focus of my current research is how people evaluate their choices and decisions: People are often aware of their own mistakes even without feedback, and may be more or less confident in choices they have made. I am interested in the computational and neural basis of these evaluations, their reliability, and their uses in guiding people’s decisions and learning.

Another longstanding interest of mine is how people focus on a particular task and switch flexibly between different tasks as required. For example, projects in my lab have shown that practice can have surprisingly limited effects on the ability to switch between tasks, and that EEG ‘brainwaves’ can be used to reliably identify periods of mind wandering and distraction during extended task performance.

My group conducts basic lab science, and also explores potential applications of our findings. For example, our research is relevant to clinical issues in mental health—we are currently testing whether problems with attention predict outcomes in patients with depression. Our findings also have novel practical applications—we are using our EEG measures of attention to build devices that can help people avoid drifting off-task (e.g., during driving).

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