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The effect of different activities on subsequent task performance


About the Project

In our everyday life we may have made the experience that different activities have different effects on how we ’feel’ and ’think’. For instance, after having been to a movie theatre watching a 2.5-hour action movie in the dark, we feel differently as compared to having had a walk in nature for the same time. It seems likely that these differences have an effect on tasks we do afterwards, in particular if these tasks are cognitively demanding, such as learning for school or university.
The question of this project is whether these incidental observations can be reproduced in a laboratory context using standardised cognitive tasks. Potential activities preceding cognitive tasks could for example be meditation, watching TV (action/quiet), listening to music (energetic/calming), listening to audiobooks/radio, reading, doing light exercise (stretching, yoga,...), doing a walk outside (on busy campus / in quiet nature).
Initially it would be planned to conduct behavioural studies (computer-based / paper-and-pencil) in the laboratory. If there are interesting behavioural effects, it can be considered to extend the project into the area of Cognitive Neuroscience and conduct brain imaging studies (functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI).
This project is in the area of Cognitive Psychology and potentially Cognitive Neuroscience. Potential candidates should have a UG- and preferentially a PGT degree in Psychology or a related area.

Funding Notes

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: View Website. Recently the UK Government made available the Doctoral Student Loans of up to £25,000 for UK and EU students and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.)

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