Division of Neuroscience & Experimental Psychology

Division of Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology

Each brain has many more brain cells than there are people on the planet. This endows us with extraordinary computational abilities – sensory, cognitive and motor – more powerful than those of the most powerful man-made computer.

To understand the cognitive and neural bases of mental function is one of the most fascinating challenges of twenty-first century science. It is also essential to our understanding of brain disorders and to the development of effective treatments.

The Division of Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology explores these questions drawing on basic neuroscience, through cognitive neuroscience and experimental psychology to clinical neuroscience, using neuroimaging as one of the primary routes for translation.

Our research

Basic neuroscience

The basic neuroscience theme explores the fundamental principles by which neural circuits operate in both healthy and diseased brains.

Exploiting a range of model systems, from Drosophila to human studies, areas of strength include sensory and motor systems, cellular neurophysiology, learning and memory, biological rhythms, computational neuroscience, stroke, neurodegeneration and epilepsy.

Cognitive neuroscience

Cognitive neuroscientists in the Division explore how, where, and when cognitive and behavioural processes occur in the healthy human brain.

We do this using a variety of methods including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), event-related electroencephalography (EEG), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), computational modeling, and structural MRI-informed neuropsychology.

Evidence from these techniques reveals the complex systems and brain circuitry that underlie cognition and behaviour.

Experimental psychology

Our experimental psychologists investigate the mechanisms that underpin core cognitive functions such as perception, learning, memory, language processing, decision making and attention.

To achieve this, we use a range of complementary experimental techniques, which recover key metrics such as behavioural performance, perceptual biases and thresholds, reaction times, pupil responses and eye-movements. We use these measures to inform, and further develop, models of cognition.

Clinical neuroscience

A central aim of the Division is translating neuroscience discovery to clinical impact.

Our major clinical programmes include research in dementia, stroke, neuro-oncology, autism, and psychosis. We use cutting-edge neuroscience methodologies to understand these disorders at molecular, genetic, neural and behavioural levels, and we use this understanding to develop new approaches to prevention and treatment.


Neuroimaging is a key activity of the Division, underpinning basic science discovery and clinical translation. We focus both on neuroimaging methodology development, and on its application.

We use a range of cutting-edge facilities (MRI, fMRI and PET, as well as EEG) for clinical and pre-clinical imaging and for critical methodological development. Together these support major (including international) programmes of research in the cognitive and clinical neurosciences, as well as in biological psychiatry.

Further psychology research

Psychology research spans a number of divisions to encompass the depth and breadth of our expertise. Find out more about Psychology at Manchester.

Head of Division

Professor Richard Baines

Our researchers

View a list of researchers within the Division


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