New publication: Cognitive Psychology (2nd ed.). McGraw Hill.

Gilhooly, K., Lyddy, F., Pollick, F., & Buratti, S. (2020). Cognitive Psychology (2nd ed.). McGraw Hill.

Societies have always depended upon humanity’s ability to correctly perceive situations and determine suitable subsequent actions. Since this requires us to accurately deal with information, it is important to understand not only how we (mostly) do this, but also how errors may arise. 

This is the focus of the new, second edition of Cognitive Psychology, one of the most dynamic areas in its field. Accessible yet comprehensive, this text aims to overcome the gap that arises between real life and laboratory studies, by providing an appropriate balance of research versus application.

New paper: Exploring the feasibility of mitigating VR-HMD-induced cybersickness using cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation. In 2020 IEEE International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality (AIVR) (pp. 123-129). IEEE.

Li, G., Varela, F. M., Habib, A., Zhang, Q., McGill, M., Brewster, S., & Pollick, F. (2020, December). Exploring the feasibility of mitigating VR-HMD-induced cybersickness using cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation. In 2020 IEEE International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality (AIVR) (pp. 123-129). IEEE.

Many head-mounted virtual reality display (VR-HMD) applications that involve moving visual environments (e.g., virtual rollercoaster, car and airplane driving) will trigger cybersickness (CS). Previous research Arshad et al. (2015) has explored the inhibitory effect of cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on vestibular cortical excitability, applied to traditional motion sickness (MS), however its applicability to CS, as typically experienced in immersive VR, remains unknown. The presented double-blinded 2x2x3 mixed design experiment (independent variables: stimulation condition [cathodal/anodal]; timing of VR stimulus exposure [before/after tDCS]; sickness scenario [slight symptoms onset/moderate symptoms onset/recovery]) aims to investigate whether the tDCS protocol adapted from Arshad et al. (2015) is effective at delaying the onset of CS symptoms and/or accelerating recovery from them in healthy participants. Quantitative analysis revealed that the cathodal tDCS indeed delayed the onset of slight symptoms if compared to that in anodal condition. However, there are no significant differences in delaying the onset of moderate symptoms nor shortening time to recovery between the two stimulation types. Possible reasons for present findings are discussed and suggestions for future studies are proposed.

New paper: A Review of Electrostimulation-based Cybersickness Mitigations. In 2020 IEEE International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality (AIVR) (pp. 151-157). IEEE.

Li, G., McGill, M., Brewster, S., & Pollick, F. (2020, December). A Review of Electrostimulation-based Cybersickness Mitigations. In 2020 IEEE International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality (AIVR) (pp. 151-157). IEEE.

With the development of consumer virtual reality (VR), people have increasing opportunities to experience cybersickness (CS) –- a kind of visuallyinduced motion sickness (MS). In view of the importance of CS mitigation (CSM), this paper reviews the methods of electrostimulation-based CSM (e-CSM), broadly categorised as either “VR-centric” or “Human-centric”. “VR-centric” refers to approaches where knowledge regarding the visual motion being experienced in VR directly affects how the neurostimulation is delivered, whereas “Human-centric” approaches focus on the inhibition or enhancement of human functions per se without knowledge of the experienced visual motion. We DIFFERENT E-found that 1) most e-CSM approaches are based on visual-vestibular sensory conflict theory –- one of the generally-accepted aetiologies of MS, 2) the majority of eCSM approaches are vestibular system-centric, either stimulating it to compensate for the mismatched vestibular sensory responses, or inhibiting it to make an artificial and temporary dysfunction in vestibular sensory organs or cortical areas, 3) Vestibular sensory organbased solutions are able to mitigate CS with immediate effect, while the real-time effect of vestibular cortical areas-based methods remains unclear, due to limited public data, 4) Based on subjective assessment, VRcentric approaches could relieve all three kinds of symptoms (nausea, oculomotor, and disorientation), which appears superior to the human-centric ones that could only alleviate one of the symptom types or just have an overall relief effect. Finally, we propose promising future research directions in the development of e-CSM.

New paper: Up-regulation of Supplementary Motor Area activation with fMRI Neurofeedback during Motor Imagery.

Al-Wasity, S., Vogt, S., Vuckovic, A., & Pollick, F. E. (2020). Up-regulation of Supplementary Motor Area activation with fMRI Neurofeedback during Motor Imagery. eNeuro.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) neurofeedback (NF) is a promising tool to study the relationship between behavior and brain activity. It enables people to self-regulate their brain signal. Here, we applied fMRI NF to train healthy participants to increase activity in their supplementary motor area (SMA) during a motor imagery (MI) task of complex body movements while they received a continuous visual feedback signal. This signal represented the activity of participants’ localized SMA regions in the NF group and a prerecorded signal in the control group (sham feedback). In the NF group only, results showed a gradual increase in SMA-related activity across runs. This upregulation was largely restricted to the SMA, while other regions of the motor network showed no, or only marginal NF effects. In addition, we found behavioral changes, i.e., shorter reaction times in a Go/No-go task after the NF training only. These results suggest that NF can assist participants to develop greater control over a specifically targeted motor region involved in motor skill learning. The results contribute to a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of SMA NF based on MI with a direct implication for rehabilitation of motor dysfunctions.

New paper: Understanding and supporting law enforcement professionals working with distressing material: Findings from a qualitative study.

Denk-Florea, C. B., Gancz, B., Gomoiu, A., Ingram, M., Moreton, R., & Pollick, F. (2020). Understanding and supporting law enforcement professionals working with distressing material: Findings from a qualitative study. Plos one15(11), e0242808.

This study aimed to extend previous research on the experiences and factors that impact law enforcement personnel when working with distressing materials such as child sexual abuse content. A sample of 22 law enforcement personnel working within one law enforcement organisation in England, United Kingdom participated in anonymous semi-structured interviews. Results were explored thematically and organised in the following headings: “Responses to the material”, “Impact of working with distressing evidence”, “Personal coping strategies” and “Risks and mitigating factors”. Law enforcement professionals experienced heightened affective responses to personally relevant material, depictions of violence, victims’ displays of emotions, norm violations and to various mediums. These responses dampened over time due to desensitisation. The stress experienced from exposure to the material sometimes led to psychological symptoms associated with Secondary Traumatic Stress. Job satisfaction, self-care activities, the coping strategies used when viewing evidence, detachment from work outside working hours, social support and reducing exposure to the material were found to mediate law enforcement professionals’ resilience. Exposure to distressing material and the risks associated with this exposure were also influenced by specific organisational procedures implemented as a function of the funding available and workload. Recommendations for individual and organisational practices to foster resilience emerged from this research. These recommendations are relevant to all organisations where employees are required to view distressing content.

UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Socially Intelligent Artificial Agents Studentships

The Centre for Doctoral Training offers PhD studentships for UK residents (fees and stipend), and a limited number of international studentships for exceptional candidates. To be eligible for an award, candidates must fulfil UKRI’s residency criteria and hold a 1st or 2:1 undergraduate degree in a subject relevant to the CDT including, but not limited to, computing science, psychology, linguistics, mathematics, sociology, engineering, physics, etc.

To apply for the studentship, please visit the SOCIAL AI website and read the full application instructions. Applicants are required to choose three prospective doctoral projects from a list available on the SOCIAL AI website and detail their suitability for these research projects in their cover letter. Applications are submitted via the University of Glasgow central admissions portal. The deadline for the September 2021 intake is 28th February 2021.

Please send any enquiries to or visit

New paper: Long-term music training modulates the recalibration of audiovisual simultaneity

Jicol, C., Proulx, M. J., Pollick, F. E., & Petrini, K. (2018). Long-term music training modulates the recalibration of audiovisual simultaneity. Experimental brain research, 1-12.

Abstract: To overcome differences in physical transmission time and neural processing, the brain adaptively recalibrates the point of simultaneity between auditory and visual signals by adapting to audiovisual asynchronies. Here, we examine whether the prolonged recalibration process of passively sensed visual and auditory signals is affected by naturally occurring multisensory training known to enhance audiovisual perceptual accuracy. Hence, we asked a group of drummers, of non-drummer musicians and of non-musicians to judge the audiovisual simultaneity of musical and non-musical audiovisual events, before and after adaptation with two fixed audiovisual asynchronies. We found that the recalibration for the musicians and drummers was in the opposite direction (sound leading vision) to that of non-musicians (vision leading sound), and change together with both increased music training and increased perceptual accuracy (i.e. ability to detect asynchrony). Our findings demonstrate that long-term musical training reshapes the way humans adaptively recalibrate simultaneity between auditory and visual signals.

New Paper: Exploring collective experience in watching dance through inter-subject correlation and functional connectivity of fMRI brain activity

Until 6 July, 2018 there is free access to the paper/chapter at:

Pollick, F. E., Vicary, S., Noble, K., Kim, N., Jang, S., & Stevens, C. J. (2018). Exploring collective experience in watching dance through intersubject correlation and functional connectivity of fMRI brain activity. Progress in brain research.

Abstract: How the brain contends with naturalistic viewing conditions when it must cope with concurrent streams of diverse sensory inputs and internally generated thoughts is still largely an open question. In this study, we used fMRI to record brain activity while a group of 18 participants watched an edited dance duet accompanied by a soundtrack. After scanning, participants performed a short behavioral task to identify neural correlates of dance segments that could later be recalled. Intersubject correlation (ISC) analysis was used to identify the brain regions correlated among observers, and the results of this ISC map were used to define a set of regions for subsequent analysis of functional connectivity. The resulting network was found to be composed of eight subnetworks and the significance of these subnetworks is discussed. While most subnetworks could be explained by sensory and motor processes, two subnetworks appeared related more to complex cognition. These results inform our understanding of the neural basis of common experience in watching dance and open new directions for the study of complex cognition.

New paper: Search Process as Transitions Between Neural States

Frank Pollick will present his new research with Yashar Moshfeghi at the World Wide Web Conference in Lyon. This is part of the ongoing research collaboration joining together cognitive neuroscience and information retrieval/data science approaches to understand search.

Moshfeghi, Y., & Pollick, F. E. (2018, April). Search Process as Transitions Between Neural States. In Proceedings of the 2018 World Wide Web Conference on World Wide Web (pp. 1683-1692). International World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee.

Search is one of the most performed activities on the World Wide Web. Various conceptual models postulate that the search process can be broken down into distinct emotional and cognitive states of searchers while they engage in a search process. These models significantly contribute to our understanding of the search process. However, they are typically based on self-report measures, such as surveys, questionnaire, etc. and therefore, only indirectly monitor the brain activity that supports such a process. With this work, we take one step further and directly measure the brain activity involved in a search process. To do so, we break down a search process into five time periods: a realisation of Information Need, Query Formulation, Query Submission, Relevance Judgment and Satisfaction Judgment. We then investigate the brain activity between these time periods. Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), we monitored the brain activity of twenty-four participants during a search process that involved answering questions carefully selected from the TREC-8 and TREC 2001 Q/A Tracks. This novel analysis that focuses on transitions rather than states reveals the contrasting brain activity between time periods – which enables the identification of the distinct parts of the search process as the user moves through them. This work, therefore, provides an important first step in representing the search process based on the transitions between neural states. Discovering more precisely how brain activity relates to different parts of the search process will enable the development of brain-computer interactions that better support search and search interactions, which we believe our study and conclusions advance.

New paper: “Enheduanna—A Manifesto of Falling” Live Brain-Computer Cinema Performance: Performer and Audience Participation, Cognition and Emotional Engagement Using Multi-Brain BCI Interaction

The final paper from the award winning PhD thesis of Polina Zioga has come out in Frontiers in Neuroscience. Polina was a joint student between the School of Psychology and the Glasgow School of Art and supervised by the team of Minhua Ma, Paul Chapman and Frank Pollick who were coauthors on the paper. Another coauthor was Kristian Stefanov, an undergraduate from Neurosciences who helped with the data analysis. The paper describes the results of an experiment using an EEG based brain computer interface that was used in a live performance.