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Dr Caroline Di Bernardi Luft

Caroline Di

Lecturer in Psychology

Email: c.luft@qmul.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 6604
Room Number: Room 2.02, Fogg Building

Research

Research Interests:

The core focus of my research is the development and application of advanced psycho-physiological methods to understand learning and creativity. How does the way we learn lead to more flexible or creative behaviour? What are the neural mechanisms mediating learning that are associated with higher creativity? These are timely questions as we live in a world that requires constant adaptation and innovation, but rewards memory and repetition at school. To change that we need to understand how the way we learn affects creativity. By making use of state-of-the-art analysis methods of neuroimaging (EEG, fMRI), non-invasive brain stimulation, and brain computer interfaces (BCI), my research pursues a better understand of learning and creativity. My three main methodological streams include: 

  • Advanced Psycho-physiological Methods 

I use a variety of neuroimaging and physiological recordings to monitor brain activity during cognitive tasks. By combining machine learning and large scale neuronal oscillations at single trial level, I have been investigating questions which could not be addressed using traditional analytical techniques. The development of strong methods in psychophysiology is crucial not only for getting a deeper insight into the cognitive processes of interest, but also for developing new technological applications and neural innovations. 

  • Transcranial Current Brain Stimulation (tCS) 

There has been a growing interest in how to modulate brain activity through the passage of low currents (< 2 mA) through the external electrodes positioned on the scalp. This technique has been used not only to improve cognitive functions, but also to test the causal role of certain cortical brain areas and oscillations on cognition. My work consists of applying tCS using either direct current (tDCS) or alternating current (tACS) to either modulate cortical excitability (tDCS) or entrain certain brain rhythms or oscillations (tACS) during learning and creativity tasks. 

  • Brain Computer Interfaces 

The Cognitive Neuroscience field is moving towards the development of real world applications. This research stream is dedicated to the development of BCI for learning and creativity. This work consists in monitoring physiological signals (e.g. EEG) in order to customize the experience (e.g. deliver stimulation, change task difficulty). This could lead the development of “thinking caps” applied to computer based e-learning platforms in order to enhance learning and creativity.

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