What do I study?
I call it ‘high performance cognition’. Like all higher cognition, it covers a multitude, so first we must find a path forward.
High performance cognition (HPC) is a valuable human faculty: it is a component of expert/optimal performance, ‘deep’ work, and Flow; however it is threatened by increasing information overload of modern life. HPC arises when a highly demanding cognitive task is performed with high skill, and is hypothesized to be due to tuning of attention. Yet true understanding is elusive because currently HPC can only be identified by subjective reports after-the-fact, making it difficult to study the precise neural mechanisms.
To study the neural correlates of HPC, we must be able to track its precise temporal profile in a correlated set of observables, from task beginning to end. To achieve this, I aim to build an integrated framework of observations, including: 1 behavior (decision actions & context), 2 psychology (temperamental & physiological proneness), 3neurophysiology (neural responses), and importantly, 4 phenomenology. I have long argued that play is a great model for studying HPC, so I aim to deploy the framework in engaging gamified computer simulations.
This is the grand plan – in the meantime you’ll find me working on the component parts, in terms of methods of psychophysiology, player modelling, and also basic research on attention.
Docent (adjunct professor) of cognitive neuroscience. Obtained a Bachelors in Information and Communications Technology from Trinity College Dublin in 2003, and defended my PhD in Computer Science at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, in 2009. Postdoctoral positions at Helsinki School of Economics and Aalto University, Helsinki (2009–2012); habilitation at the University of Helsinki (2012–2013); later, Specialist Researcher at Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (2014–2017).
In 2015, I obtained the title of Docent from the Cognitive Science unit,University of Helsinki, and remain affiliated there and with the Cognitive Brain Research Unit.
Memorable moments include: coordinating Finland’s first clinical trial on neurofeedback therapy for attentional disorder; publishing a mini-handbook on psychophysiological methods; going fact-finding for an as-yet-unrealised dream project on neuro-anthropology in Colombia.