PhD theses submitted!

We recently celebrated the hand in of Annabel, Charlotte and Emilia’s PhD theses. Pictured below at Exeter college in view of the stunning Radcliffe camera. Annabel and Charlotte will be continuing their work on the CogBIAS longitudinal study, writing up research papers on this rich data-set, which includes three time points of adolescent development. Watch this space!

Great meeting with Dr Michael Pleuss

Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming Dr Michael Pleuss, Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology at Queen Mary University of London, to the OCEAN group. Dr Pleuss gave a wonderful talk on Individual differences in environmental sensitivity presenting research supporting the notion of ‘vantage sensitivity’ which suggests that some individuals inherit a predisposition to benefit more from positive and enriching environments, due to mechanisms that make them more sensitive to their environment. This notion runs parallel to the ‘differential susceptibility hypothesis’, which is an alternative model of diathesis-stress, suggesting that some individuals are more sensitive to the effects of both a negative and a positive environment – as under bad conditions they will display bad outcomes, but under good conditions they will display better than average outcomes. These ideas are hugely influential to our work at the OCEAN group, which is why we had such pleasure in meeting Dr Pleuss, who is a leading scientist in this field. We also had the pleasure of working with Dr Pleuss on his recently published book Genetics of Psychological Well-being Oxford University Press, 2015.

genetics psych wellbeing

Developments in the measurement/modification of cognitive biases

We recently had the pleasure of hosting a two-day symposium on ‘developments in the measurement and modification of cognitive biases’ and bringing together research groups from around the globe. We welcomed Prof. Colin MacLeod, Dr Ben Grafton and Dr Lies Notebaert from the University of Western Australia, Prof. Andrei Miu, Dr Laura Visu-Petra and Dr Lavinia Cheie from Babes-Bolyai University in Romania and Prof. Naz Derakshan and Manu Ducrocq from London’s Birkbeck University to give talks. We also enjoyed many discussions with the wider research members over many group activities, including the very Oxfordian punting! We had a fantastic couple of days and look forward to meeting you all again!



Leaving dinner with Dr Maud Grol

Some of the OCEAN Lab enjoying a final dinner with visiting Post-Doc Dr Maud Grol from Ghent University, Belgium. Maud has been with us at OCEAN for the last 8 months running a study which aimed to develop a training paradigm to enhance proactive cognitive control. She has also been an invaluable member of the team setting up a working memory training and cognitive-behavioural modification training study. We are sad to see her go, but look forward to working together more in the future. Good luck Maud!


Another successful CBM symposium…

We recently held a small-group conference at the OCEAN Lab, where we welcomed external speakers: Professor Naz Derakshan from Birkbeck University; Professor Rudi De Raedt from Ghent University; Dr Maud Grol from Ghent University; and Dr Amanda Fitzgerald from University College Dublin. We discussed the current state and future directions of cognitive bias modification (CBM) techniques, with the specific aim of pooling our knowledge on the topic to evaluate the best way forward in this field. We had many interesting and fruitful discussions and concluded that we should adapt current training paradigms to aid cognitive enhancement in those suffering with psychopathologies, as well as those at risk of developing a later psychopathology. All in all it was another successful symposium, and we can’t wait to host another!