Dr Leun Otten
Principal Research Fellow
Cognitive Electrophysiology Group Leader
Current Research and Interest
ERP and fMRI correlates of memory and attention processes.
My research focuses on the neural and functional processes underlying human long-term memory. In particular, I am interested in the question of how the brain supports our ability to lay down new memories. I use a variety of non-invasive measures of brain activity to study memory formation in healthy adults. My primary expertise is in electrical brain activity (EEG), analysed with respect to both event-related potentials (ERPs) and oscillatory responses. I am also skilled in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
My work has shown that there is not a single, but multiple, brain systems that support effective encoding depending on the particular circumstances of encoding and retrieval. Perhaps most importantly, I have established that effective encoding not only relies on neural activity elicited by an event. It is also necessary to be in the right frame of mind, and the brain in the right state, for encoding to be successful. Current research questions include the extent to which such state-related processes are under voluntary control, how much time is needed to prepare appropriately, how encoding interacts with retrieval, and how preparation contributes to emotional memory.
I set up and run the MSc and MRes programmes in Cognitive Neuroscience. I teach the Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience II: Neuroimaging module and a third year undergraduate module on Cognitive Neuroscience (PSYC3209).