School of Psychology

Hacking the brain.

Date • Time

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 15:00 to 16:00


TB 20A


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Hacking the brain. Inducing external synchronisation to enhance working memory performance

Like an orchestra that relies on the coordinated efforts of its members, the brain depends on its many regions working together to perform tasks such as memorizing a phone number or the name of someone we recently met. Many areas in the brain that are involved in these processes are located far apart, and so performing these tasks efficiently depends on the regions being able to communicate and coordinate information. Rhythmic waves of electrical activity in the brain are considered to be essential to maintain the flow of information. These brain waves occur when many brain cells repeatedly send signals at the same time, and the precise ‘beat’ of the signals might be especially important when performing more complex tasks.
In recent years, cheap and safe electrical stimulation, such as transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) has shown promise in being able to influence brain waves. This technique can be used to investigate the importance of precise timing between brain waves and its impact on performing tasks.

In this talk, I will present evidence that rhytmic brain stimulation using tACS can result in improved behavioural performance. Moreover, by combining neuroimaging with brain stimulation we can reveal insights about the mechanisms associated with cognitive functions in humans.


Dr Ines Violante
Lecturer in Psychological Neuroscience
School of Psychology

Ines Violante is a Lecturer in Psychological Neuroscience at the University of Surrey since September 2017. After completing a PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, she was awarded a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship. As part of her fellowship, Ines developed her research at Imperial College London and University College London, investigating the use of brain stimulation to target the function of large-scale networks that sustain cognitive functions. Her research combines functional magnetic resonance imaging, spectroscopy and electroencephalography to understand how brain stimulation can be used to modulate brain dynamics and behavioural performance. She is interested in how brain oscillations mediate long-range connectivity and particularly how neurostimultaion could be used to improve network communication following brain injury.

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