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Cognitive and Neural Processes underlying human navigation (ZhaoMU20PSY)

Faculty of Social Sciences

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Dr M Zhao No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This fully funded PhD studentship offers a great research opportunity to investigate the cognitive and neural processes underlying navigation ability and its clinical relevance to healthy ageing. The ability to navigate is fundamental to our everyday life. Deficits in this crucial function not only affect the quality of life but may also signal a high risk for Alzheimer Disease, a major threat to healthy ageing. The objectives of this PhD project are: (i) to test a novel theoretic framework that carves spatial navigation ability up into different componential processes, (ii) to investigate whether these componential spatial cognitive processes are different between people with or without a genetic risk for Alzheimer Disease, and (iii) to identity novel cognitive markers for the dysfunction of the neural system underlying these cognitive processes. Research in this project aims to quantify the contribution of different spatial cognitive processes to navigation performance, which will then informs us what determines our navigation ability. This project may involve experimental studies using behavioural psychophysics, virtual reality (VR) techniques, and brain imaging, and we will provide the PhD student with the training related to these techniques. The outcome of the project will help us to understand how the navigation system works in mind and brain, and will help identifying cognitive markers for early diagnosis of preclinical neurodegenerative diseases. This PhD project will involve a close collaboration with Professor Michael Hornberger’s research group in Norwich Medical School.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here: https://people.uea.ac.uk/mintao_zhao

This is a PhD programme.

The start date of this project is October 2020.

The mode of study is full-time/part-time. The studentship length is 3 years for a full-time student and 6 years for a part-time student.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is in a School of Psychology competition for funded studentships. These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise of home/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £15,009.

Entry requirements:

Acceptable first degree in Psychology or relevant other discipline.

The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1.

Masters or equivalent experience.
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