The Dame Mira Szászy School of Psychology - Leading psychological science, scholarship and practice


CNRG people

For more information and representative publications of a particular academic, please follow the link to their personal profile.

Academic staff


Professor Donna Rose Addis (PhD, Toronto)
HSB 626 | Ext 88552 | d.addis@auckland.ac.nz | Profile Page
Research Interests: Cognitive neuroscience of episodic and autobiographical memory, future thinking, and the role of memory in identity. Neuropsychological and neuroimaging research in a variety of populations, including young and older adults, temporal lobe epilepsy, dementia and depression. Expertise in fMRI and network analyses.

Associate Professor Suzanne Barker-Collo (PhD Lakehead)
721.308 (Tāmaki) | Ext 88517 | s.barker-collo@auckland.ac.nz | Profile page
Research Interests: Neurorehabiliation, neuropsychology, clinical psychology, and statistics.

Professor Michael Corballis (PhD McGill, FRSNZ)
HSB 661 | Ext 88561 | m.corballis@auckland.ac.nz | Profile page
Research Interests: Cognitive neuroscience of visual perception, visual imagery, attention, memory, cerebral asymmetry of function, mental rotation. Evolution of language, and the theory that language evolved from manual gestures.

Associate Professor Jeff Hamm (PhD Dalhousie)
HSB 628 | Ext 88519 | j.hamm@auckland.ac.nz | Profile page
Research Interests: Mental transformations (such as mental rotation), semantic access of pictures and words, visual illusions, and visual attention.

Associate Professor Michael Hautus (PhD Auckland)
HSB 609 |Ext 85924 │m.hautus@auckland.ac.nz | Profile page
Research Interests: Perception, psychophysics, sensory evaluation, diagnostic systems, neural networks, dyslexia. Expertise in the evaluation of sensory systems, data modelling, and programming.

Dr Annette Henderson (PhD, Queens)
HSB 524 | Ext 82521 | a.henderson@auckland.ac.nz | Profile page
Research Interests: Social cognition and language development in early childhood, including infants' understanding of behaviours involving shared intentions (e.g., collaboration, conventionality), children's understanding of linguistic and social conventions and how this shapes knowledge acquisition, parent-child conversations, theory-of-mind, and early word learning.

Dr Barry Hughes (PhD, Wisconsin)
HSB 612 | Ext 85265 | b.hughes@auckland.ac.nz | Profile page
Research Interests: Human perceptual-motor control with emphasis on the modelling of active touch and of spatial cognition. Application of these topics to the visually impaired is a specific interest. Has expertise and resources to support psychophysical, cognitive and movement analysis research.

Professor Ian Kirk (PhD, Otago)
HSB 651 | Ext 88524 | i.kirk@auckland.ac.nz | Profile page
Research Interests: Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience with emphasis on distributed neural systems involved in memory, language and motor control. Use of EEG (oscillatory activity and ERPs) and fMRI to investigate the temporal and spatial dynamics of neural processes underlying these cognitive processes. Atypical neural processing in a number of cognitive disorders (e.g. Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, Asperger's Syndrome, and Parkinson's disease).

Associate Professor Anthony Lambert (PhD, Leic.)
HSB 650 | Ext 88520 | t.lambert@auckland.ac.nz | Profile page
Research Interests: Visual attention, eye movements, conscious awareness, subliminal perception, memory suppression, implicit learning, and cerebral laterality. Research techniques include behavioural and eye monitoring studies, electrophysiological studies of event-related potentials, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Dr Suresh Muthukumaraswamy (PhD, Auckland)
HSB 360/ FMHS 505 | Ext 85398 | sd.muthu@auckland.ac.nzProfile Page
Research Interests: Performs human neuropharmacology studies across a range of drug classes including hallucinogens, anaesthetics, anti-epileptics and sedatives in healthy and patient populations, for example depression and epilepsy. Expertise in EEG, MEG, fMRI and human psychopharmacology.

Professor Suzanne Purdy (PhD Iowa, DipAud Melbourne, FAAA, MAudSA, MNZAS )
721.319 (Tāmaki) | Ext 82073 | sc.purdy@auckland.ac.nz | Profile page
Research Interests: Auditory processing/language disorders and reading delay, audiology, electrophysiological assessment of auditory function in infants and children, objective assessment of hearing aid performance, aural rehabilitation in hearing impaired adults, infant speech perception.

Associate Professor Lynette Tippett (PhD, DipClinPsych, Auckland)
HSB 635 | Ext 88551 | l.tippett@auckland.ac.nz | Profile page
Research Interests: Cognitive changes in Alzheimer's Disease, Huntington's Disease, and Parkinson's Disease, neuropsychological representation of semantic memory, application of cognitive neuropsychology to rehabilitation of neurological populations. Expertise in neuropsychological assessment, and neural network modelling.

Associate Professor Karen Waldie (PhD, Calgary)

HSB 623 | Ext 88521 | k.waldie@auckland.ac.nz | Profile page
Research Interests: Developmental neuropsychology, neural basis of developmental disorders (e.g., dyslexia, dysphasia, ADHD, mental retardation, ASD), laterality, longitudinal research, statistics, language development.

 

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Research staff


Veema Lodhia (PhD, Auckland)

Neuroimaging Manager

HSB 307 │Ext 88636 │v.lodhia@auckland.ac.nz

Veema is responsible for the School’s Electroencephalography (EEG) facility in the University. Veema also is responsible for the training of postgraduate students for the use of EEG equipment, co-ordination/ data collection and assists with the technical setup of experiments. I am particularly interested in auditory and visual perception, developmental disorders (e.g., Autism), brain connectivity & structure, EEG, Magnetoencephalography (MEG) techniques. My current research project is investigating Noise sensitivity in adults with Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).

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Postdoctoral Fellows


Gjurgjica Badzakova-Trajkov (PhD, PGDipClinPsych, Auckland)

Supervisor: Associate Professor Lynette Tippett

Old Choral Hall 104 1.49 | Ext 82140 |g.badzakova@auckland.ac.nz

Research Interests: In a general sense, my research interests lie in the field of neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience. I am particularly interested in four specialised areas: 1) functional and cerebral asymmetry of the human brain, especially language; 2) disorders in which atypical laterality is a feature (e.g., dyslexia); 3) language lateralization and representation in bilingual individuals; and 4) neuropsychological outcomes in both clinical (e.g., mTBI patients) and subclinical populations (e.g., bilinguals). The research I am interested in combines behavioural, neuropsychological, electrophysiological, and magnetic resonance imaging techniques.

 

Isabelle Hӓberling (PhD Auckland)

Supervisor: Professor Michael Corballis

Old Choral Hall 146| Ext 85824 |i.haberling@auckland.ac.nz

Research interests: I’m using brain imaging techniques to study how cognitive functions are expressed within and between the cerebral hemispheres. I’m particularly interested in the relationship between functional and structural asymmetries of the human brain.

 

Sylvia Hach (PhD MPI Leipzig, Germany)

Supervisor: Professor Donna Rose Addis

OCH 104 1.47 | Ext 85711 | s.hach@auckland.ac.nz

My work falls into the category of social sciences and within that in the disciplines of psychology and neuroscience. I use classical behavioural methodologies including reaction time, accuracy and kinematic analyses, neuropsychological methods, and methodologies employed in the field of cognitive neuroscience including functional magnetic resonance imagining. The main topic of my work is spatial perception, action, cognition and autobiographical memory. The populations I examine include the neurologically healthy, individuals suffering from brain lesions and psychiatric populations. My experience in both the clinical and experimental field of psychology has enabled me to bring a more analytical perspective to the clinical work and a focus on applications to real life to the experimental work.

 

David Moreau (PhD, Lille)

Supervisor: Associate Professor Karen Waldie

HSB641│ Ext 88515│d.moreau@auckland.ac.nzmovincog.org

David is a Research Fellow in the University of Auckland's Centre for Brain Research. Originally from France, David completed his PhD in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Lille and then spent three years as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University. He moved to New Zealand in 2014 to begin working on our current project. David has an extensive research background in cognitive training. He is particularly interested in the interaction between sensorimotor experience and cognition, and uses various tools and techniques, ranging from traditional cognitive measurements to fMRI, tDCS, biomarker tracking and advanced modelling. His work suggests that sensorimotor experience shapes cognitive abilities, a line of research that recently led to cognitive enhancement programs based on motor training. The combination of physical and cognitive components within training programs has proved particularly effective in inducing substantial cognitive and physiological improvements. This idea has been tested empirically and led to recent peer-reviewed publications. It is also especially relevant considering the recent surge of cognitive deficits and health-related issues in our modern society.

 

Reece Roberts (PhD, Auckland)

Supervisor: Professor Donna Rose Addis

OCH | Ext 86793 | r.roberts@auckland.ac.nz

Research interests: Episodic simulation, visual Cognition, cognitive flexibility, neuroimaging methods.

 

Edoardo Zamuner (PhD, Edinburgh

Supervisor: Professor William Hayward

HSB 630 | Ext 83401 | e.zamuner@auckland.ac.nz

I am a philosopher by training and a psychologist by trade and persuasion. My research is in psychology of visual perception and philosophy of mind. I am particularly interested in adaptation to perception and imagery of facial attributes such as identity, gender, expression and personality traits. My work in philosophy of mind concerns the emotions and the philosophy of perception, with special emphasis on visual perception of mental states.

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PhD students


Aleea Devitt

Primary Supervisor: Professor Donna Addis

HSB 331 | Ext 83072 | adev038@aucklanduni.ac.nz

Research topic: Factors influencing the generation of autobiographical memory conjunction errors.

I am interested in memory conjunction errors occurring in autobiographical memory, whereby details from one memory are incorrectly incorporated into another. In my current research I examine potential factors that influence the formation of these errors, including the neural correlates and the influence of healthy aging.

 

Laura Ewens

Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Lynette Tippett

HSB 314 | Ext 83072 | lauraewens@gmail.com 
Research Topic: Brain differences between musicians and non-musicians.

I am interested in how musical training, especially when it is started at a young age, can impact on brain structure and function. With the help of my supervisor, Dr Lynette Tippett, I am using fMRI to identify whether expert musicians activate different brain structures during visual processing. I am also using DTI and resting-state fMRI to look for differences between musicians and non-musicians in structural and functional brain connectivity.

 

Vania Glyn
Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Lynette Tippett

HSB 314 | ext 83072 | vgly001@aucklanduni.ac.nz
Research Topic: Efficacy of a memory programme for healthy older adults.

In recent years, a large number of programmes to improve memory have become commercially available.  Thus far, there is some evidence to suggest that performance on trained tasks improves with time.  However, it is unclear how this improvement transfers to untrained but related tasks (near transfer) and to everyday life (far transfer). 
My research involves the first steps of testing a new memory training programme, designed for older adults in New Zealand.  I will test the efficacy of this programme when compared to doing nothing (waitlist condition) and a control programme of cognitive stimulation.  The results may be further examined to see who may benefit most from this type of training.

 

Dion Henare

Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Paul Corballis

HSB 325 | Ext 85969 | dhen061@aucklanduni.ac.nz

Research Topic: The interaction between Attention and Working Memory

My research centres on the interaction between selective attention and working memory, two systems which have traditionally been viewed as distinct processes in human cognition. Prominent models of selective attention typically include target templates which require working memory-like maintenance of objects to guide attention. Similarly, prominent models of working memory include central executive components which perform attention-like processes of coordinating limited resources. Evidence has accumulated to suggest that these two processes may share neural resources and in my project I am using EEG to characterise the specifics of this overlap.

 

Yvette Lamb

Primary Supervisor: Professor Ian Kirk

HSB 313 | Ext 88421 | yvette.lamb@auckland.ac.nz

Research Topic: Effects of Commonly Occurring SNPs on Cognition

I am interested in genetic influences on cognitive performance. Commonly occurring single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) genes appear to affect performance on memory tasks and measures of executive function. Under the supervision of Professor Ian Kirk, I am currently using EEG to examine these polymorphisms in relation to performance on the Stroop test.   

 

Rohan King

Primary Supervisor: Professor Ian Kirk

HSB313 | Ext 88421 |  r.king@auckland.ac.nz

Research Title: Nootropics, synaptic plasticity and cognition

My PhD research is looking into Nootropic agents, particularly ones that have been shown to affect BDNF long-term potentiation in humans. My interests include brain imaging and analysis, particularly EEG and non-parametric methods for neurogenetic factors.

 

Joan Leung

Primary Supervisor: Professor Suzanne Purdy

Tamaki 721.320 | Ext 84930 | jleu021@aucklanduni.ac.nz

Research Topic: How children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) process emotional cues in speech

I am interested in investigating whether underlying auditory processing deficits are affecting the way individuals with ASD perceive emotional communicative cues. Along with various behavioural measures, computer-based training, and the trial of remote microphone hearing aids - I am also using an oddball paradigm to observe mismatch negativity components between typically developing adults, children, and children with ASD. We are expecting to see significant differences between the clinical and non-clinical groups, but hopefully will be able to close the gap after their auditory neural pathways have been trained to pick up the subtle distinctions in pitch and intensity between different emotions.

 

Jingwen Mao 
Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Paul Corballis

HSB 327 | Ext 82973 | jmao353@aucklanduni.ac.nz
Research Topic: The electrophysiology of micro-expression production and recognition: An EMG and ERP investigation

My main area of research is in facial expression, especially microexpression and I am also interested in non-verbal communication as well as lie detection. Currently, under the supervision of Associate Professor Paul Corballis, I am using EMG to identify facial muscle activities associated with microexpressions. On top of that, I am also looking at ERP components to reveal how people perceive facial expressions. Following this, we will try to build a realistic facial 3D avatar as a platform of future facial expression study.

 

Stuart McGill

Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Paul Corballis

HSB 325 | Ext 85969 | smcg078@aucklanduni.ac.nz

Research topic: Attention, EEG and reinforcement

My research is examining the nature of reinforcement and its relation to selective attention using Electroencephalography Event Related Potentials.

 

Nicole McKay

Primary Supervisor: Professor Ian Kirk

HSB 313| Ext 88421 | nmck031@aucklanduni.ac.nz

Research Topic: Brain derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF), brain connectivity and memory.

My research is investigating how variation in the gene coding for brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) influences structural and functional connectivity in recognition memory circuits.

 

 

Jordan O’Malley (nee Searle) 
Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Jeff P. Hamm

HSB |Email:  jsea025@aucklanduni.ac.nz |
Research Topic: Using EEG to investigate processes underlying the discriminations of rotated stimuli.

My research focuses on the use of mental rotation when making decisions about rotated stimuli. Individual differences in the use of mental rotation is examined using model parameters derived from behavioural data and event-related potentials (ERP).  I examine attention-related components elicited by rotated stimuli to determine what features of these stimuli being attended to prior to mental rotation.

 

Matt Oxner

Primary Supervisor: Professor Will Hayward

HSB 326 | moxn128@aucklanduni.ac.nz

Research Topic: The functions of consciousness and its relationship to attention

My research investigates the nature and role of awareness. It is unclear what characterizes conscious perception when it is dissociated from the effects of attention, working memory, and report. With Professor Will Hayward, I am currently looking at the capabilities and limits of unconscious perception and cognition. In this way we hope to establish what kinds of cognitive processing require awareness, and hence reveal its functional role.

 

Ashleigh Saunders

Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Karen Waldie

HSB313 | Ext 88421 | ashleigh.saunders@auckland.ac.nz

I am interested in using EEG to investigate the underlying brain basis of autism spectrum disorder and common coexisting conditions like OCD and ADHD. The presence of ADHD, OCD and Anxiety occurring together with autism is extremely common. My main question of interest is whether these three disorders share a common brain basis, or whether they are separate conditions altogether.

 

Natalia Samorow
Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Lynette Tippett
HSB 314| Ext 83072 | nsam013@aucklanduni.ac.nz

Research Topic: Focus on the trajectory of Theory of Mind abilities in healthy and pathological aging, associated with Parkinson's disease. As Theory of Mind abilities are of unequivocal importance in maintaining and underscoring social interactions between individuals, any changes in this process due to aging and pathology associated with Parkinson's disease might result in social difficulties in these groups, which can impact not just the individual but also their families. Following behavioural assessments of these populations, the next step will involve investigating any genetic and/or structural differences between the groups to untangle the effects of healthy age-related changes as compared to those attributed to changes in the dopamine system seen in Parkinson's disease.

 

Armin Saysani

Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Paul Corballis

HSB 307 | Ext 88636 | sarm023@auckland.ac.nz

Research topic: The Dimensionality of Colour Categories in the Visually Deprived Brain.

The focus of my study is to reveal the cognitive structure of colour categories in the congenitally blind, adventitiously blind and chromatically impaired. By employing Multidimensional Scaling, Principal Components Analysis, and Hierarchal Cluster Analysis, the study has demonstrated that the congenitally blind develop a reasonable understanding of colour relations; that the adventitiously blind maintain an understanding of colour relations if they are rehearsed, and that dichromats of the strong deuteranope and protanope type demonstrate a clear distinction between colours when presented in text and/or actual colour.

 

Meg Spriggs

Primary supervisor: Professor Ian Kirk

HSB 315 | Ext 88421 | mspr827@aucklanduni.ac.nz

Research Topic: Plasticity and Connectomics in the diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)- the most common form of dementia in New Zealand- is preceded by a prodromal stage of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). However, not all MCI patients develop AD and, and it is not currently possible to differentiate between MCI sufferers who will, or will not develop AD. Under the supervision of Professor Kirk, the aim of my current research is to integrate neuroimaging measures of the connection of neural networks (DTI and fMRI) and an innovative EEG measure of neuroplasticity to build a single model for identifying MCI patients at greater risk of conversion to AD. It is envisaged that early AD diagnosis will dampen the toll on sufferers and assist in the development of potential interventions.

 

Rachael Sumner

Primary Supervisor: Dr Suresh Muthukumaraswamy

Grafton Campus 502-501 | r.sumner@auckland.ac.nz

Research Topic:  Using gamma oscillations to measure cortical excitation-inhibition balance in health and disease.

I am interested in the use of neuroimaging methods to investigate potential biomarkers of health and disease. Under the supervision of Dr Suresh Muthukumaraswamy I am using EEG to investigate the effect of a positive allosteric modulator of the GABAA receptor on gamma oscillations in healthy males and females. Following this we are using EEG, fMRI, and behavioural measures to investigate the effect of an NMDA receptor antagonist on patients with treatment resistant depression. 

 

Sreekari Vogeti

Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Paul M Corballis

HSB 325 | Ext 85969 | svog576@aucklanduni.ac.nz

Research topic: Face identity and expression processing.

I am using EEG and behavioural measures to explore the way we build invariant representations of faces that allow us to infer the identity of a face, and also accommodate for changes (in particular, facial expression). In particular, I am interested in the role of static and dynamic information in face identity and emotional expression processing.

 

Kristina Wiebels

Primary Supervisor: Professor Donna Rose Addis

HSB 331 | Ext 83072 | kwie508@aucklanduni.ac.nz

Research Topic: Decoding memory and imagination.

I am interested in how episodic simulations (i.e. remembering the past and imagining the future) are encoded in the brain. Several brain structures that are important for past and future thinking have been identified; however, it is not yet clear how these mental states are represented in the brain on a neural level. In my research, I am using multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) and machine learning algorithms to address question like where in the brain the content of individual memories/future simulations is represented, how it is represented, and how these representations might change over time.

 

Jaimie Wilkie 
Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Tony Lambert

OCH 112 | Ext 85824| j.wilkie@auckland.ac.nz 

Research Topic: The role of the dorsal and ventral streams in attention.
I am interested in conscious versus unconscious visual processing and how different types of cue can elicit different modes of attention. Under the supervision of Assoc. Prof. Tony Lambert I am using EEG to measure cue exposure time, with source localisation to identify temporal as well as spatial activity. I expect to find some dissociation in the time of activity for the different manipulations. I am interested in the application of this research in the clinical field, with attention-related neurological disorders such as optic ataxia and visual form agnosia.

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Doctor of Clinical Psychology students


Rebecca Allenby

Supervisor: Associate Professor Suzanne Barker-Collo

Email: rall069@aucklanduni.ac.nz

 

Andrea Greenwood

Supervisor: Associate Professor Suzanne Barker-Collo

Email:  agre893@aucklanduni.ac.nz

 

 

Virginia Jones

Supervisor: Associate Professor Suzanne Barker-Collo

Email: vjon555@aucklanduni.ac.nz

 

Chris Murray

Supervisor: Professor Donna Rose Addis

Email: chris.murray@auckland.ac.nz

 

Simon Walker

Supervisor: Associate Professor Lynette Tippet

Email: simon.walker@auckland.ac.nz

 

Katey Weizel

Supervisor: Associate Professor Suzanne Barker-Collo

Email: k.weizel@auckland.ac.nz

 

Natasha Wright

Supervisor: Associate Professor Suzanne Barker-Collo

Email: n.bau005@aucklanduni.ac.nz

 

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