Brain Sciences


BPS honours researcher into how the brain becomes self-aware

14 May 2019

Sir Henry Dale Fellow at UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, Dr Stephen Fleming, is set to receive the 2019 Spearman Medal, the British Psychological Society’s (BPS) premier early-career award for researchers.

silver stars

Based at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, Dr Fleming looks at how the human brain becomes self-aware.

His research reveals the psychological and neural underpinnings of our ability to think about, monitor and control cognitive processes such as memory and decision making (read more about it on the MetaLab website – link below).

Dr Fleming has given public talks about neuroscience and consciousness both in the UK and the USA and written for Aeon, Scientific American and Psychology Today.

Dr Fleming said: "I’m excited and honoured to receive this award and it is a fantastic endorsement of metacognition research. I am very grateful to my PhD and postdoc mentors  Ray Dolan, Chris Frith and Nathaniel Daw for encouraging me to develop these lines of experimental and theoretical work.

“There are exciting questions about the fundamentals of human metacognition that we are now able to tackle with rigorous experimental psychology – combining this with brain imaging gives us a unique opportunity to unravel some of the puzzles concerning the neural basis of human awareness and reflective thought.”

Professor Daryl O’Connor, chair of the BPS Research Board, said: “The Spearman Medal recognises outstanding published work in psychology by candidates no more than eight years following completion of their PhD. This year, as normal, we received a large number of outstanding nominations.

“As a result, the Award Committee had such a difficult challenge on their hands, but after much deliberation, we have awarded the medal to Dr Stephen Fleming.

“His work demonstrated all the qualities we expect in a Spearman Medal winner – it was of the highest calibre and demonstrated evidence of important theoretical advances, originality and wide-ranging impact.”

The Spearman Medal recognises outstanding published work completed within eight years of a candidate’s PhD.



BPS article https://www.bps.org.uk/news-and-policy/bps-honours-researcher-how-brain-becomes-self-aware