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Boosting Creativity through Sleep Engineering

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, March 17, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

We spend 1/3 rd of our life asleep, and the brain is very busy during this time. The neural oscillations of sleep have known restorative functions, and are also critical for memory consolidation and emotional processing. The NAPS research group studies all of these functions of sleep, (see: http://sites.cardiff.ac.uk/cubric/research-2-2/neuroscience-and-psychology-lab-naps/). Potential PhD projects include investigations into ways to manipulate sleep (called ‘sleep engineering’) in order to enhance all of these functions. Sleep engineering involves both manipulation of oscillations through auditory and electrical (tACS / tDCS) stimulation and manipulation of memory replay (targeted memory reactivation) in sleep. See my TEDx talk for an easy intro (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KaMufF0rAY.

In the NAPS lab, we are interested in enhancing sleep to improve health (for instance by counteracting the impacts of ageing which lead to reductions in deep slow wave sleep). We are also interested in manipulating memory consolidation by triggering the replay of selected memories in different combinations and in different sleep stages. This can lead not only to stronger memory, but to integration of new memories with each other and with existing knowledge, providing a basis for creativity.

Many of our projects would be appropriate for those with a Psychology or Cog Neuro background, but we also have a couple of projects that would be appropriate for a computer scientist (somebody with both backgrounds would be great). An example computer science project involves identification of neural replay during sleep using multivariate pattern classifiers. This is a very exciting area, as we’ve developed the first method for noninvasively identifying these replays in humans, and are now hoping to extend/improve this work.

Funding Notes

The studentship will commence in October 2019 and will cover your tuition fees (at UK/EU level) as well as a maintenance grant. In 2018-19 the maintenance grant for full-time students was £14,777 per annum. As well as tuition fees and a maintenance grant, all School of Psychology students receive conference and participant money (approx. £2250 for the duration of the studentship).They also receive a computer and office space, additional funding for their research, and access to courses offered by the University’s Doctoral Academy and become members of the University Doctoral Academy.

References

Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals, and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. To be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding, including for the purposes of full-time education.

As only one studentship is available and a very high standard of applications is typically received, the successful applicant is likely to have a very good first degree (a First or Upper Second class BSc Honours or equivalent) and/or be distinguished by having relevant research experience.

The School of Psychology is one of the largest and most successful in the UK (http://www.cf.ac.uk/psych/). The School’s excellent standard of research and teaching has been recognised in every Research Assessment Exercise. It has its own brain-imaging centre (http://www.cf.ac.uk/psych/cubric/), enhancing the international-leading research in behavioural neuroscience, cognitive ergonomics, forensic, social and developmental psychology.

The Neuroscience and Psychology of Sleep (Naps) lab is a thriving community of computer scientists and sleep researchers studying all aspects of how sleep impacts on cognition (see our nascent web pages: http://sites.cardiff.ac.uk/cubric/research-2-2/neuroscience-and-psychology-lab-naps/)

Cardiff University’s Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) opened in Spring 2016, housing a unique combination of facilities and expertise that will further its world-leading research in Neuroimaging, Cognitive Neuroscience and Biological Psychiatry. Further details of CUBRIC can be found on our web-page: http://sites.cardiff.ac.uk/cubric

How good is research at Cardiff University in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 69.33

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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