Welcome to the Social Brain & Development Lab  - a developmental cognitive neuroscience research group at the University of Surrey

Kathrin Cohen Kadosh

Kathrin Cohen Kadosh-3192.jpg

I read for my PhD at Birkbeck College, University of London and then went on to receive postdoctoral training at University College London, King's College London, the National Institute of Mental Health, USA and Oxford (Curriculum vitae). My research investigates how improving cognitive abilities and changes in brain function and structure shape the emerging social brain network.

Fun fact: I am a passionate gardener who compensates lack of knowledge with enthusiasm

Favourite super power: To be able to speak every language


Olivia Burns


I am a final year Psychology student at the University of Surrey, with interests in developmental neuropsychology. I have experience in working with and assessing children with ASD and intellectual disability. For my undergraduate dissertation I am involved in one of Kathrin’s current projects. The study aims to assess the effects of prebiotics on mental well-being, with a focus on emotion regulation. In the upcoming academic year, I will be studying for my MSc in Paediatric Neuropsychology at University College London.

Fun fact: As a teenager, I aspired to become a writer or an actor. I did not study Psychology until university.

Favourite super power: Combined clairvoyance and ability to heal others.


Nicola  Johnstone

image001 (2).jpg

I’m currently carrying out post-doctoral research in the SBD lab after obtaining a PhD in Psychology from the University of Surrey. I use cognitive neuroscience techniques to better understand the brain and behaviour in real world settings, and specialise in the use of mobile technology such as EEG for assessing brain activity in everyday life.

Fun fact: I train in aerial skills and recently took up gymnastics in anticipation of the day that I finally decide to join the circus…

Favourite super power: Mega strength


Anna Kauer

I studied for my MSc in Psychology (Conversion) at Surrey where my dissertation focused on the relationship between divergent thinking and creativity as a function of creative achievement.  I graduated with a Distinction and am now working on a PhD, funded by a departmental studentship, exploring how attention type relates to creativity in children as well as adults. I am also interested in the interaction between creativity and emotional regulation, mind-wandering and flow states, and sensory processing sensitivity.

Fun fact: After reading for a BA in English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford (that included Anglo Saxon), I worked in book publishing and television for several years.  

Favourite super power: Combined time travel and flying


Paul Knytl

IMG_2872 (2).JPG

I have a BSc in Civil Engineering and a MEng in Construction Engineering, both from University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. I have an MSc (Conversion) in Psychology from the University of Surrey, and am currently in my first year of a funded PhD in Psychology, also at Surrey. I’m interested in the neuroscience of meditation and human-technology interaction, how these behaviours can be seen from a neurofeedback perspective, and what effects they may have on behaviour and cognition.

Fun fact: In 2012 I flew around the world visiting 12 countries in 9 months. The experience lead me to change careers from engineering to cognitive neuroscience research.

Favourite super power: Telekinesis


Chiara Milesi


I studied for my MSc in Neurosciences and Neuropsychological rehabilitation at the University of Padua (Italy). I have decided to split my post lauream internship year in 6 months of research at the University of Surrey and 6 months of practical experience in a clinic in Milan. My main area of interest is related to cognitive skill strengthening by exploiting neuroplasticity and psychophysiological mechanism control.

Fun Fact: I recommend moving forward with the own work, but I tend to do everything at the last minute and always in a rush.

Favourite super power: To be able to understand any organic language and establish a direct connection with all living beings. 


Graham Staunton


My background is in Clinical Psychology and I have a particular interest in Neuropsychology and its application to diagnosis and treatment in the NHS. My major research project concerns Neurofeedback and its application to anxiety in adolescence.

Fun fact: I compose piano music in my free time.

Favourite super power: Control over time




Joakim Westh Wiencken


I am a Dane with a BSc and MSc in Psychology from the UK, who is particularly interested in developmental psychopathology. After my MSc, I spent most of my time working with children, but have jumped back into the educational fray and have started a Ph.D. in Psychology at Surrey University. My research focuses on the effects of neurofeedback training in adolescents with-and at high-risk of depression, and when I’m not wallowing in my office, I can be found enjoying the simpler things in life, such as sleeping, watching TV and staring at birds in the park.

Fun fact: In 2017, I entered a relay-race versus 24 4th graders and won.

Favourite super power: mind control