In neuropsychology we investigate how different cognitive abilities (such as perception, language, memory) and emotional capacities are organised in the human brain.
The traditional approach to this is to study people who have clinical disorders that damage specific brain regions. At UNSW we work with people who have suffered brain injury from trauma. We also work with people who have suffered a stroke affecting a particular brain region and people with dementia. We can also learn about brain processes by examining people with developmental conditions that affect the way they learn and interact with the world such as people with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Attention Deficit Disorders.
Using specialised techniques such as functional neuroimaging and electroencephalograpy (EEG) we are also able to examine how the healthy, normal brain activates in response to particular tasks, giving us a new window into understanding brain function by working with healthy adults.
A major area of neuropsychology that we are currently examining falls under the umbrella of social cognition. Social cognition refers to the ability we have to understand the minds and intentions of others by interpreting the social cues that they use, such as their emotional expression. We also have researchers interested in perception, attention, memory and language.
Work at UNSW is focused on three levels:
1. Theoretical understanding of brain processes underpinning human thought and behaviour
2. Clinical understanding of how neuropsychological disorders affect the lives of people.
3. Discovering new approaches to assessment and remediation of neuropsychological disorders
- Project: Finding New Treatments for Socio-Emotional Disorders after Traumatic Brain Injury
- Project: The Sociopath Amongst Us: The Neural Basis of Empathy Disorders