Early-career investigators, Hugo Spiers and Joern Diedrichsen, win prestigious James S McDonnell Foundation Scholar Awards
14 July 2011
Hugo Spiers profile
Division of Psychology and Language Sciences
The Division of Psychology and Language Sciences is celebrating the success of two of its early-career investigators, Hugo Spiers and Joern Diedrichsen, who have each won a prestigious James S McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award for the Understanding of Human Cognition.
Joern Diedrichsen, in the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, receives his award for a project entitled "How does the brain learn movement? Bridging the gap between behavioral processes and functional imaging signals." Diedrichsen's research program aims to develop a quantitative theory that bridges the gap between task-level descriptions of the learning of motor tasks (such as playing the piano) and observable brain activation (fMRI) signals.
Hugo Spiers, in the Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience within the research Department of Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences, plans a research project exploring how the human brain supports navigation and goal-directed behaviour. Functional magnetic resonance imaging and magnetoencephal-ography will be used in conjunction with first-person-view movies of familiar city streets to test current models of navigational guidance systems. This research will advance our understanding of how our brain updates and tracks dynamic information as we move through the world.
The Scholar awards are unusual in that applicants do not initiate an application themselves - they are invited to apply by the James S McDonnell Foundation after extensive consultation with senior researchers worldwide. Thus, the awards are a double accolade, testifying both to the prior standing of the applicants in the field, and to the quality of the proposal.