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Nora Roüast

BA(Oxford) MSc(Oxford)

Brain & Cognition Lab (Nobre Lab)

I am a DPhil student supervised by Professor Kia Nobre and Dr Anna-Katharina Bauer, and I am funded by a 1+3 ESRC studentship.

One of the most intriguing parts of our cognition, in my opinion, is the interplay of long-term memories and attention. How are experiences processed and stored in our neural networks such that they shape and guide our behaviour to come? More specifically, how can attention alter the formation of memories, and in turn, how can memories change the way we attend to the world around us? My DPhil addresses how memory and attention interact and modulate each other in the brain, both in a constructive and destructive way, and how this interaction might be processed during sleep. To track the interaction between memory and attention, I am using various neuroimaging techniques (such as electroencephalography, and polysomnography during sleep) as well as behavioural measures and eyetracking.

One of my current projects (using EEG, behavioural measures, and eyetracking) focuses on the effect of distraction on the formation of a memory, later recall, and subsequent modulation of attention patterns. A second project, using a similar paradigm with behavioural measures, eyetracking, and polysomnography, focuses on the modulation of memory processes during sleep and potential attentional alterations as a result of sleep-dependent memory replay. 

The potential detrimental interplay between memories and attention comes into focus in clinical disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, in which traumatic memories appear to impact on various cognitive functions. My doctoral studies are guided by the hope to trace potential disruption of attention due to traumatic memories and to help treatment of patients dealing with PTSD.

I completed my BA in Psychology and Philosophy at Oxford in 2014, followed by an MSc in Psychological Research in 2015. Further, I engaged in research at the University of Otago, New Zealand, working with Prof Jeff Miller, and at the University of Queensland, Australia, working with Prof Paul Dux.

I was given a competitive ESRC award, to fund an overseas institutional visit with Prof Emily Holmes at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm in 2017, to instigate knowledge exchange between the different research areas to optimise treatment and assessment of cognitive effects of PTSD.

Recent publications

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