As a discipline, cognitive science explores how the brain takes in information about the world, how it represents information about the world, and how it uses it. Through elegant experiments, cognitive scientists have learned a lot about how perception, attention, and memory work.
What Students will do
In this project, students will learn about classic experiments in this field and will have the opportunity to analyse previously collected data using well-established tasks. All data was collected using an online tool called Mechanical-Turk, which collects responses from participants across the world. All experiments were approved by the School of Psychology's in-house ethics panel. Working with their mentor, students will create unique hypotheses (related to the available data) that they are interested in exploring and testing. Additionally, students will be shown how to analyse this de-identified data for trends that support the drawing of a conclusion related to their hypotheses. Students will also have the opportunity to learn some basics in R, which is a programming language, to help understand, analyse, and visualize their data.
Areas of Student Interest
- Cognitive Science
- Data Analysis
- Decision-making and Risk Analysis
Lead Academic: Dr Steven Most - Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology
Steven's research is grounded in cognitive psychology, with strong links to social psychology, clinical psychology, and neuroscience. His lab specialises in relationships between motivation, emotion, and attentional control. Topics include mechanisms of emotion-driven attentional bias, how attention and emotion shape our awareness of the world, impacts of physical and emotional stress on cognition, and emotion regulation.The lab also specialises in understanding the implications of these processes for real-world safety, including on the roadways. Steven is also passionate about fostering understanding of psychology outside the university.
Mentor: Tehilla Mechera-Ostrovsky
Tehilla is a Ph.D. student studying cognitive science at UNSW, Sydney. She received her Bachelor and Masters of Science degrees from the University of Basel, Switzerland. Her research focuses on the interaction between risky decision-making and information-seeking behaviour; read more here. Tehilla is a committee member of the UNSW R-codeRs and is a member of the Women in Math & Science Champion Program. Away from work, Tehilla practices kickboxing, takes long morning walks, enjoys reading about the Philosophy of Science and looking forward to traveling again.
Mentor: Caspar Muenstermann
Caspar is a Ph.D. student from Germany studying behavioral neuroscience at UNSW. He came to Australia to finish his bachelor’s degree in psychology and on the way fell in love with science. He continued on with his Ph.D. research into the molecular mechanisms involved in relapse to nicotine addiction. In his free time, Caspar goes bouldering, bakes amazing tarts, and plays Dungeons & Dragons with his friends.