Research Interests

Current Research

Neural correlates of inducing fatigue with a sustained attention task

We would welcome your participation in a psychological experiment in attention, fatigue and motivation aiming to inform an intervention for individuals experiencing fatigue after stroke. To be eligible, you must not have had a stroke and be 18-27 or 55+ years old. You are guaranteed a minimum of £13.50 for a one-off experimental session which is 2 hours and 15 minutes in length and which will take place in 62 Hillhead St at the University of Glasgow. Please, note above all that the electroencephalographic experiment poses no known risks to you. However, participants’ hair will need to be washed afterwards. We provide all needed facilities to do so. Please, do not hesitate to get in touch if you are interested in participation.

Abstracts

Measuring attention in the general population: an online study

State fatigue undergoes dynamic changes in relation to internal factors including trait fatigue and external factors pertaining to the currently undertaken tasks. We investigated the impact of a sustained attention to response task (SART) (Robertson, Manly, Andrade, Baddeley & Yiend, 1997) on state fatigue levels in the general population. A JsPsych online version of the task was undertaken for 10 minutes by 115 participants stratified across the entire adult lifespan. While trait fatigue before the task was a strong indicator of the initial state fatigue levels, undergoing the task induced an increase in this reported subjective state fatigue and a reduction in energy. We found age to be greatest predictor of accuracy on task and an effect of task duration leading to a reduction in reaction times. Moreover, relative changes in accuracy were reflected in changes reported in the subjective state fatigue levels. A ceiling effect occurred in that participants with higher trait fatigue would not experience as prevalent a change of state fatigue levels by the task. The findings warrant further investigation into fatigue as a dynamic state in the context of a general trait predisposition to fatigue.

Investigation of alpha rhythms during phasic alerting in young and older adults

Phasic alerting involves presenting a brief alerting sound before a visual target. The tone induces a change in alertness, with a knock-on effect of improving the detection of visual targets that appear subsequently. Changes in attention and alertness are associated with changes in alpha power (8-14Hz) within the parieto-occipital cortex in young adults, but there are few studies investigating this in healthy older adults. A mixed design was used (2 x age groups: young/older, 2 x ROI: left/right, 2 x alpha power bins: high/low). 64-channel EEGs were recorded in 17 young (aged 19-24) and 15 older (aged 50-88) adults. Participants responded to a left/right visual target, either preceded by an alerting tone or silence. Alpha power was extracted before the tone and after the tone/silence. Reduced alpha was found after the alerting tone, but this was no different for young and older adults. Statistical analysis showed an effect of reduced alpha power on reaction time with a greater role of right-lateralised alpha reduction. Consequently, phasic alerting induces some beneficial effects on the alerting network by reducing alpha power which translates into a behavioural benefit. Effect of lateralisation also indicates the role of a distinct right-lateralised network for sustained attention.

Presentations

Vacation Scholars Event

Title: Optimising music listening interventions for individuals with neurological disorders

Place: University of Glasgow, College of Science and Engineering Graduate School

Date: September 2019