I am interested in how our brain constructs representations of the world to remember the past, navigate the present and imagine the future.
At UCL I direct the Spatial Cognition research group which employs a wide variety of research methods which include:
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), magnetoencephalography (MEG), electroencephalography (EEG), transcranial electrical stimulation (tDCS/tACS), neuropsychological testing of patients, virtual reality (VR), eye-tracking, mass online testing via bespoke apps, cognitive discourse analysis, rodent behavioural testing and single unit electrophysiological recording in rodents.
I trained at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (with Neil Burgess and John O’Keefe), the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge (with Kim Graham) and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging (with Eleanor Maguire), before joining the UCL Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience (IBN) in the Dept of Experimental Psychology on a Wellcome Trust Fellowship.
My research group explores questions such as: How does the brain remember the past and imagine the future? How does the brain support navigation? What roles do different regions within the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex play in supporting memory, decision-making and planning.
In January 2017 I joined The Centric Lab in London as the Director of Neuroscience funded by an MRC UK secondment. The Centric Lab is a consultancy providing practical insight for organisations seeking to understand how humans interact with the built environment. See http://www.thecentriclab.com/
I have collaborated with artists on a number of projects with support from Wellcome Trust grant funding.
These have explored:
Place cell and grid cell coding of space: http://neurotopographics.psychol.ucl.ac.uk/
Memory recall via Pattern Completion: http://www.pattern-completion.net/
On the web
- The Versatile Wayfinder: Prefrontal Contributions to Spatial Navigation. Trends Cogn Sci DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2021.02.010
- Hippocampal place cells encode global location but not connectivity in a complex space. Current Biology DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2021.01.005
- Computer models of saliency alone fail to predict subjective visual attention to landmarks during observed navigation Spatial Cognition & Computation, 21 (1), 39-66 DOI: 10.1080/13875868.2020.1830993
- View all publications by Hugo Spiers