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Emilia Piwek


DPhil Candidate

  • Attention & Working Memory (Stokes Lab)

Foundations of flexible human behaviour in novel environments


I am a DPhil student supervised by Mark Stokes and Chris Summerfield. I am broadly interested in understanding what allows humans to act flexibly in novel environments. More specifically, my research looks at how prior knowledge can be leveraged to improve the speed and efficiency of learning and decision making processes. 

My current projects focus on how people structure new knowledge to allow its reuse in similar situations in the future. I am also investigating whether people can use variables such as time and space to make learning less demanding, even when they are irrelevant to the task at hand. 

To answer these questions, I use computational modelling, behavioural testing and non-invasive brain imaging of healthy human participants.

Understanding what makes us proficient learners will be informative for the study of information processing and storage in the brain. It can also prove useful for other sectors, such as education and artificial intelligence.


I received an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience from the University of Bristol and went on to complete an MSc in Neuroscience at the University of Oxford. I started my DPhil in 2018 and am funded by the ESRC Grand Union Scholarship.