Professor Aidan Moran
As director of the Eye Tracking and Motor Imagery research lab, my research investigates mental/motor imagery, eye-tracking and the cognitive processes underlying expertise in skilled performers (e.g., elite athletes).
I have published extensively on these topics in high-impact international journals in psychology (e.g., British Journal of Psychology), neuroscience (e.g., Frontiers in Human Neuroscience), medicine (Annals of Surgery) and sport science (Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews). At a practical level, as a former psychologist to the Irish Olympic Squad, I have advised many of Ireland’s leading professional athletes/teams (e.g., the Irish rugby team) and have authored a number of audiobooks on sport psychology (e.g., Mental Toughness in Golf, Mindcool).
Assoc Professor Nuala Brady
I direct the Perception Lab at UCD and am interested in various aspects of perception and cognition including visual processing in dyslexia and autism, social perception, face and body perception, and visual & motor imagery.
Our research investigates mental imagery which is a fundamental aspect of human cognition or thought. Using such mental rotation tasks our research elucidates the role of motor and visual imagery when different types of objects (abstract 3D figures or biological objects) are used and when participants view these objects from egocentric or allocentric perspectives. Our recent research explores sex differences in mental rotation using pupillometry as a novel physiological metric of ‘cognitive effort’.
Dr Helen O'Shea
My research program focuses on understanding the interdependence between cognition and action and has important implications for the application of motor cognitive strategies to enhance neurobehavioural functioning in domains such as applied sport psychology, neurorehabilitation, medicine, and brain-computer interface systems.
I am currently working with A/Prof Stephen Redmond researching the neural and biomechanical bases of human precision grip with the aim of developing robotic / prosthetic sensors that can quickly and sensitively adjust grip force as required to dextrously manipulate objects.
Dr Patricia Gough
My research interests are in the neural underpinnings of language processing and the role of the
motor system in cognition more generally. In previous work, I have employed TMS, ERP, and MRI
(structural and functional) to try to understand the relationship between the brain and behaviour in
our use of language.
I have become interested in the role that the motor system plays in other cognitive processes, such as our perception of actions and objects in the world. As part of this I am interested in Mirror Neuron Theory which provides a neural explanation for overlaps in perceptual and motor
processes. As well as the techniques mentioned above, I am also interested in using behavioural
(reaction time and error) data.
Dr Sarah Cooney
My research aims to elucidate the multifaceted characteristics of body perception in the general population and in those with body-image disorders. Using a mixed-method approach, work in my lab utilizes large-scale online data collection and virtual reality to specify the relationships between the complex cognitive and perceptual mechanisms that give rise to body representation
including; multisensory integration, mental and motor imagery, and visuo spatial perspective-taking.
Current studies investigate recent neuroscientific models of body perception and explore the translational potential of VR for clinical health and the treatment of Anorexia.
Dr Áine Ní Choisdealbha
Áine was a research intern in the UCD Perception Lab working on motor imagery and body perception before undertaking a PhD on action development at Lancaster University. She undertook a postdoctoral role at the ESRI conducting research for public policy, and is now a research associate at the University of Cambridge on a longitudinal study of auditory and motor rhythm and their role in infants’ language acquisition.
She will be returning to UCD and joining the Perception and Motor Cognition Group as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow mentored jointly by Dr Nuala Brady and Professor Andrew Meltzoff of the University of Washington. Her research will focus on infants’ body representations, how they change with motor development, and how they affect infants’ perception of other people’s actions and goals.
Dr Jude Bek
My research combines laboratory-based and translational studies to investigate motor cognition in different populations. The main focus of my work to date has been on the effect of Parkinson’s disease on cognitive representations of action (through observation, imitation and motor imagery), using motion tracking and eye tracking to understand underlying processes.
In parallel work I am investigating how motor-cognitive processes may be utilised to facilitate movement in Parkinson’s. This interdisciplinary and patient-informed research explores the potential to improve motor imagery, embodiment and everyday movement through approaches such as dance and home-based training. I am also interested in the effects of ageing on motor cognition, as well as individual differences in motor imagery and embodied cognition within the general population.