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Episodic memory in the schizophrenia spectrum

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  • Full or part time
    Dr L Evans
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This PhD project will examine the cognitive processes and brain systems underlying episodic memory decisions in those in the schizophrenia spectrum. These impairments reflect a core cognitive impairment, which is not explained by demographics variables, is one of the strongest predictors of functional outcome and seems to be largely resistant to current pharmacological treatments.

This project may focus on one or both of the following cognitive abilities. First, source memory i.e. the context and conditions at encoding which serve to distinguish the origin of a memory. In particular, this project will consider two types of memory decisions: discriminating between self versus other e.g. did I do that or did you? (Reality Monitoring) and determining whether an experience was real or imagined e.g. did I just think about completing an action or did I actually do it? (Internal Source Monitoring). A deficit in the former ability may underlie and explain hallucinations and delusions. Second, episodic future thinking, which is the ability to imagine episodes that one might plausibly experience in the future. This ability has received less attention in schizophrenia research but there is evidence of a deficit in this population.

The aim of this project will be to understand the cognitive processes underlying task performance and the brain mechanisms supporting them (this may be structurally and/or functionally). A continuum approach to schizophrenia will be adopted, so that testing involves healthy individuals measuring schizotypy, and also individuals from early intervention services who have either some early experiences of psychosis or those deemed to be at risk of developing psychosis (subject to recruitment).

The student will be based at Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) and be part of a thriving research community. CUBRIC houses state-of-the-art brain imaging facilities and world-leading expertise, with 4 human MRI systems (2 x Siemens Prisma, 1 x Siemens Connectom, 1 x Siemens 7T), MEG, EEG, TMS, tDCS, clinical research units and testing labs. Further details can be found on our webpage (http://sites.cardiff.ac.uk/cubric).

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.

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)

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