Interested in joining our lab as a voluntary research assistant, PhD student or postdoctoral researcher? Please read this before contacting us.

Picture of our lab members in August 2023
The Cognitive Ability & Plasticity Lab in August 2023!
From left to right: Tanvi Ravi, Christ Billy Aryanto, Ellen Spencer, George Morley, Eleanor Hyde, Fred Garvey, Claudia von Bastian, Hakan Atis, Kübra Ulusoy, João Craveiro, Shuangke Jiang, Jiawei Xie, Xuanyue Fang.

Principal Investigator

Picture of Claudia von Bastian

Dr Claudia von Bastian is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sheffield. Her research focuses on cognitive individual differences and how cognitive abilities can change through experience.

Claudia obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Zurich in 2012, where she worked with Klaus Oberauer. During her PhD, she also spent a year at the University of Bristol as a visiting researcher in Chris Jarrold's lab. Afterward, she returned to the University of Zurich as a Research Associate and Lecturer. Before joining Sheffield in 2017, she was a Research Associate in Akira Miyake's lab at the University of Colorado Boulder, working in close collaboration with Mike Kane, and later a Lecturer in Psychology at Bournemouth University.

Claudia's current teaching is mostly on programming for psychologists (e.g., PSY31008 Coding for Psychologists; workshops on Organizing, Preprocessing, and Aggregating Data in R and Conducting Computer-Based Studies Online and Offline with Tatool Web). Claudia is currently the departmental Director of Postgraduate Taught programmes in Cognitive Neuroscience.

Claudia is a Governing Board Member of the Psychonomic Society and an Associate Editor at Behavior Research Methods (outgoing) and an Editorial Board Member (handling editor) at Communications Psychology, an Editorial Board Member at the Journal of Intelligence, Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, and Frontiers. Together with André Locher, Claudia also develops Tatool, an open-source and freely available software for creating and running experiments.

Get in touch:

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Postdoctoral Researchers

Picture of Christ Billy Aryanto

Christ Billy Aryanto has successfully passed his PhD viva in Psychology at the University of Sheffield. In his PhD project, Billy investigated how active music-making relates to executive functions. Billy's PhD is funded by the Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP). His co-supervisers were Dr Emma Blakey and Professor Renee Timmers.

Before joining our lab as a PhD student, Billy worked as Assistant Professor in Educational Psychology at Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia. Before becoming an Assistant Professor, Billy gained two Master degrees. He first completed the Psychology of Music MA program at the University of Sheffield. In his thesis (supervised by Dr Victoria Williamson), Billy investigated the effects of music with lyrics on writing fluency and quality. Billy then also gained an MSc in Educational Psychology from the Universitas Indonesia. In his thesis, Billy investigated the effect of Western Classical Music compared to Indonesian Traditional Music on college students’ spatial reasoning, supervised by Dr Linda Primana and Dr Julia Suleeman.

Get in touch:

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Picture of Kubra Ulusoy

Dr Kubra Ulusoy has successfully passed her PhD viva in Psychology at the University of Sheffield. In her PhD project, Kubra investigated how adolescents respond to threat. Her co-superviser was Dr Liat Levita.

Before joining our lab as a PhD student, Kubra completed the Mental Health Studies MSc program at King's College London. Kubra conducted a systematic review of the literature on patients’ experience of living with the anorexic voice.

Get in touch:

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Postgraduate Research Students

Picture of Hakan Atis

Hakin Atis is a PhD student in Psychology at the University of Sheffield. In his PhD project, Hakan investigates the effects of working memory training on attention. His co-superviser is Dr Dan Carroll.

Before joining our lab as a PhD student, Hakan completed an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology at Birkbeck University. In his thesis (supervised by Professor Richard Cooper), Hakan investigated the effects of secondary-task interference on performance in the Wisconsin Card Sorting task.

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Picture of Fred Garvey

Fred Garvey is a PhD student at the University of Sheffield. In his PhD project, Fred investigates individual differences in attentional control. His co-superviser is Dr Alicia Forsberg.

Before becoming a PhD student in our lab, Fred completed the Cognitive Neuroscience and Human Neuroimaging program at the University of Sheffield. In his thesis, he investigated the relationship between removal efficiency and accuracy of substitution in working memory updating. His thesis was co-supervised by Dr Gidon Frischkorn (University of Zurich).

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Picture of Eleanor Hyde

Eleanor Hyde is a PhD student at the University of Sheffield. In her PhD project, Eleanor investigates how expertise in video gaming relates to cognitive abilities. Her co-supervisers are Dr Dan Carroll and Professor Robert Schmidt (Ruhr-Universität Bochum). In addition to her PhD, Eleanor is currently also a Research Assistant coordinating our ESRC Open Research Area VI project on "Cognitive Training Effects Across the Adult Lifespan: A Diffusion Modelling Approach".

Before joining our lab as a PhD student, Eleanor completed the Cognitive Neuroscience and Human Neuroimaging program at the University of Sheffield. In her thesis, she investigated the benefits of playing Counterstrike: Global Offensive on processing speed and task switching.

Get in touch:
Personal website: eleanorhyde.com

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Master Students

Picture of Jacob Moorcroft

Jacob Moorcroft is an MSc student in the Psychological Research Methods with Data Science programme. In his thesis, he works with data from our ESRC Open Research Area VI project on "Cognitive Training Effects Across the Adult Lifespan: A Diffusion Modelling Approach" to investigate the role of cognitive beliefs in training and transfer effects.

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Research Assistants

Picture of Andrew Langford

Andrew Langford is a Voluntary Research Assistant supporting our current research projects. Andrew is studying towards a BSc in Psychology degree at the School of Psychology at the University of Sheffield.

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Associated Researchers

Picture of Joao Craveiro

João Craveiro is a Voluntary Research Analyst supporting our lab with analysing complex data sets from a range of projects. He is also a Senior Research Technician in our department. Prior to these roles, João assisted data collection in our ESRC Open Research Area VI project on "Cognitive Training Effects Across the Adult Lifespan: A Diffusion Modelling Approach".

Before joining our lab, João completed the Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience MSc programme at the University of Sheffield. In his thesis (supervised by Professor Robert Schmidt), he investigated time scales in the basal ganglia system.

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Picture of Jonathan Ludwig

Jonathan Ludwig is a master student studying toward an MA in Applied Sports Psychology at the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg in Germany. Jonathan is completing his dissertation in our lab, investigating the cognitive correlates of playing the tactical action videogame Counter-Strike 2.

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Co-Supervised Postgraduate Research Students

Poppy James (University of Sheffield) investigates refugees' emotional distress and health. Her primary supervisor is Professor Tom Webb.

Liz Knight (University of Sheffield) investigates the working memory across the lifespan. Her primary supervisor is Dr Alicia Forsberg.

Vidya N (Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Kochi, India) investigates neuropsychological functioning, emotional processing and quality of life in patients with benign brain tumors treated with CyberKnife. Her primary supervisor is Dr Gitanjali Natarajan.


Lab Alumni (2017 and later)

Dr Amy Atkinson was a Visiting Researcher in our lab as part of her ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Leeds to work on large-scale data from the Born in Bradford longitudinal birth cohort study. Amy is now a Lecturer in Developmental Psychology at Lancaster University.

Nilosmita (Akira) Banerjee supported our lab as a Voluntary Research Assistant in a project applying diffusion modelling techniques to training effects on switching between tasks. Before joining our lab, Akira completed the Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience MSc programme at the University of Sheffield.

Robin Cafferata completed the Cognitive Neuroscience and Human Neuroimaging MSc programme at the University of Sheffield. In his thesis, he conducted a pre-registered systematic review and meta-analysis on the effectiveness of cognitive stimulation for dementia. After completing his degree, Robin took on a position as Assistant Psychologist.

Dr Carla De Simoni received her PhD in Psychology from the University of Zurich in 2017. In her PhD project, Carla investigated the effects of working memory training in young adults with a particular focus on candidate mechanisms proposed to drive training and transfer effects. After completing her PhD, Carla took on a position as Customer and Business Analyst at Möbel Pfister AG, a large furniture retailer in Switzerland.

Xuanyue (Charlotte) Fang supported our lab as a Voluntary Research Assistant. She contributed to an international, multi-site #EEGManyLabs replication study. Xuanyue studied BSc in Psychology at the University of Sheffield.

Dr Sabrina Guye obtained her PhD in Psychology at the University Research Priority Program Dynamics of Healthy Aging at the University of Zurich and as a Fellow of the International Max Planck Research School on the Life Course (LIFE) PhD programme in 2018. In her PhD project, Sabrina conducted a study on the effectiveness of working memory training in healthy older adults, with a particular focus on context factors such as personality, motivation, and everyday life activities. After completing her PhD, Sabrina took on a position as a Real World Data Scientist completing the StarTrack: Data Science to Personalised Healthcare Programme at Roche, Switzerland.

Raphael Hornjak completed his MSc at the RWTH Aachen, Germany. He investigated the reliability of congruency-sequence effects in tasks involving cognitive conflict. His primary supervisor was Professor Iring Koch.

Dr Bashirat Ibrahim obtained her PhD from the University of Sheffield in 2023. In her PhD project, Bashirat investigated how virtual intergroup contact interventions can be optimised to improve intergroup relations. Her primary supervisor was Dr Chantelle Wood.

Rehneesa Inez completed the Cognitive Neuroscience and Human Neuroimaging MSc program at the University of Sheffield. In her thesis, she investigated metacognitive processing in working memory training.

Dr Shuangke Jiang obtained her PhD in Psychology at the University of Sheffield in 2023. In her PhD project, Shuangke investigated the whether visual working memory can be enhanced through transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) or computer-based training, using behavioural and computational modelling approaches. Her co-superviser was Dr Myles Jones. Shuangke was also a Research Coordinator in our ESRC Open Research Area VI project on "Cognitive Training Effects Across the Adult Lifespan: A Diffusion Modelling Approach". After leaving the CAPLab, Shuangke took on a postdoctoral position at the Cognitive Psychology Unit at the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Peter Karakostas supported our lab as a Voluntary Research Assistant working on a project investigating training effects on quantity and quality of representations in working memory. He also supported us in a meta-analysis on the effects of bilingualism on meta-linguistic awareness. Peter studied for a BSc in Psychology degree at the University of Sheffield.

Daniel Landinez supported our lab as a Visiting PhD Student usually based at the Universidad San Buenaventura Medellín, Colombia. In his PhD, Daniel studied the effects of working memory training on instrumental activities of daily living in people with ischemic stroke.

Tyler Mari completed the Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience MSc programme at the University of Sheffield. In his thesis, he investigated the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on working memory. His thesis was co-supervised by Dr Myles Jones. After completing his degree, Tyler took on a position as Demonstrator and PhD student at the University of Liverpool.

Alex Montgomery completed the Psychological Research Methods with Data Science MSc programme at the University of Sheffield. In his thesis, he investigated the relationship between expertise in playing Overwatch and performance in executive functions tasks.

George Morley was a Research Assistant supporting our lab with assisting data collection in our ESRC Open Research Area VI project on "Cognitive Training Effects Across the Adult Lifespan: A Diffusion Modelling Approach". George also supported our research on eye-tracking in Counter-Strike players with Endpoint Esports. George also completed the Psychological Research Methods MSc programme at the University of Sheffield. In his thesis (supervised by Dr Megan Freeth), he investigated how camouflaging of autistic traits affects the relationship between autistic traits and social attention.

Muchen Niu completed the Cognitive Neuroscience and Human Neuroimaging MSc programme at the University of Sheffield. In his thesis, he investigated how playing action video games is related to cognitive performance.

Rosie Parody supported our lab as a Voluntary Research Assistant in our ESRC Open Research Area VI project entitled "Cognitive Training Effects Across the Adult Lifespan: A Diffusion Modelling Approach" as well as some of the other current projects in our lab. Rosie completed a BSc in Psychology degree at the University of Sheffield.

Alex Patterson completed the Psychological Research Methods with Advanced Statistics MSc programme at the University of Sheffield. In his thesis, he investigated individual differences in the focus of attention in working memory and how they relate to fluid intelligence. After completing his degree, Alex started a PhD at the Data Analytics & Society ESRC Centre for Doctoral Training.

Osborne Pereira completed the Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience programme. In his thesis (supervised by Dr Eda Mizrak, and in collaboration with Shuangke Jiang, Emma Starczewski, and Dr Myles Jones), he used EEG to investigate the neural correlates of working memory, contributing to an international, multi-site #EEGManyLabs replication study. Osborne also supported our lab as a Research Assistant working on an EPS-funded project on binding in working memory.

Aparajita Rai was a Research Assistant supporting our lab with assisting data collection in our ESRC Open Research Area VI project on "Cognitive Training Effects Across the Adult Lifespan: A Diffusion Modelling Approach". She also completed the Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience MSc programme at the University of Sheffield, working with Dr Alekhya Mandali.

Tanvi Ravi was a Research Assistant supporting our lab with assisting data collection in our ESRC Open Research Area VI project on "Cognitive Training Effects Across the Adult Lifespan: A Diffusion Modelling Approach". She also completed the Cognitive Neuroscience and Human Neuroimaging MSc programme at the University of Sheffield, working with Dr Tim Riley.

Ditian (Tracy) Ren completed the Psychological Research Methods with Data Science programme. In her thesis (supervised by Christ Billy Aryanto), she investigated how active music making is related to cognitive performance.

Lisa Rudram completed the Cognitive Neuroscience and Human Neuroimaging MSc programme at the University of Sheffield. In her thesis, she investigated potential cognitive benefits of being bilingual using ex-Gaussian distribution analysis.

Ellen Spencer completed the Cognitive Neuroscience and Human Neuroimaging MSc programme at the University of Sheffield. In her thesis (supervised by Eleanor Hyde), she investigated how playing action video games is related to cognitive performance. Ellen was also a Research Assistant in our ESRC Open Research Area VI project entitled "Cognitive Training Effects Across the Adult Lifespan: A Diffusion Modelling Approach".

Emma Starczewski completed the Cognitive Neuroscience and Human Neuroimaging programme. In her thesis (supervised by Dr Eda Mizrak, and in collaboration with Shuangke Jiang, Osborne Pereira, and Dr Myles Jones), she used EEG to investigate the neural correlates of working memory, contributing to an international, multi-site #EEGManyLabs replication study.

Dilara Steenken was a visiting MSc student from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich supported by a Network of European Neuroscience Schools (NENS) Exchange Grant governed by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS). During her research stay, Dilara will investigate how current mood is related to information processing speed under consideration of trait anxiety and depression. Her research stay project is part of the our ESRC Open Research Area VI project on "Cognitive Training Effects Across the Adult Lifespan: A Diffusion Modelling Approach". Prior to her MSc in Neuro-Cognitive Psychology at the LMU Munich and her most recent research stay with us, Dilara had already supported us as a Voluntary Research Assistant for 6 months in 2021.

Fiona Stewart completed the Psychological Research Methods MSc programme at the University of Sheffield. In her thesis, she investigated the relationship between cross-cultural skills and shifting between mental sets. Fiona also supported us as a Research Assistant in a White Rose Collaboration project examining functional ability in older adults. After completing her degree, Fiona took on a position as Senior Administrator in Digital Learning at the University of Sheffield.

Dr Rob Udale supported our lab as a postdoctoral Research Associate in our ESRC Open Research Area VI Call project, entitled "Cognitive Training Effects Across the Adult Lifespan: A Diffusion Modelling Approach". He has now moved on to a position as a researcher in an animal rights organization.

Jake Wilson completed the Cognitive Neuroscience and Human Neuroimaging MSc programme at the University of Sheffield. In his thesis (co-supervised by Shuangke Jiang and Rob Udale), he investigated how depressive symptoms relate to cognitive ability and cognition in daily life. He conducted his MSc dissertation in context of our ESRC Open Research Area VI project entitled "Cognitive Training Effects Across the Adult Lifespan: A Diffusion Modelling Approach".

Natalia Wnuk supported our lab as a Voluntary Research Assistant across multiple projects including our ESRC Open Research Area VI project entitled "Cognitive Training Effects Across the Adult Lifespan: A Diffusion Modelling Approach". After completing her degree in MA in Cognitive Studies, Natalia moved on to a position as Senior Administrator at the University of Sheffield's Careers Service.

Kristina Xhaferaj completed the Psychological Research Methods with Advanced Statistics MSc programme at the University of Sheffield. In her thesis, she investigated processing speed practice effects using diffusion modelling. Kristina also supported us as a Voluntary Research Assistant in a project on the relationship between cross-cultural skills and shifting between mental sets, and as a Research Assistant in a White Rose Collaboration project examining functional ability in older adults. After completing her degree, Kristina took on a position as Trainee Developer at Cloud2 Ltd.

Dr Jiawei Xie obtained his PhD in Psychology from the University of Sheffield in 2022. In his PhD project (co-supervised by Dr Chris Martin), Jiawei investigated the role of prospective memory, negative affect, and time perspective in procrastination. After completing his PhD, Jiawei worked as a Research Assistant supporting our lab assisting data collection in our ESRC Open Research Area VI project on "Cognitive Training Effects Across the Adult Lifespan: A Diffusion Modelling Approach".

Dr Sisi Yang obtained her PhD in Psychology from the University of Sheffield in 2021. In her PhD project, Sisi investigated the relationship between procrastination and emotions. Her primary supervisor was Dr Fuschia Sirois.

Agnieszka (Agnes) Zajac supported our lab as a Voluntary Research Assistant in a project on the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) on working memory. Agnes studied Bioengineering at the University of Sheffield.

Hao Zheng completed the Psychological Research Methods programme. In her thesis, she investigated practice effects on prioritisation of representations in working memory.

Qiaodan Zhu supported our lab as a Voluntary Research Assistant in our ESRC Open Research Area VI project entitled "Cognitive Training Effects Across the Adult Lifespan: A Diffusion Modelling Approach". Qiaodan studied BSc in Psychology at the University of Sheffield.

Yayan Zou supported our lab as a Voluntary Research Assistant, working closely together with Christ Billy Aryanto on memory in musicians. Yayan completed an MA in Education (Early Childhood) at the University of Sheffield.