Researcher biography

I am a cognitive neuroscientist and my passion is (1) to understand how human brains process various cognitive and social-cognitive functions and (2) to investigate the changes that occur in these functions with advancing age and in clinical populations. Currently I am leading the following projects:

Logical reasoning: Logical reasoning is a fundamental ability that drives successes in various daily situations, including social interactions, decision making processes, and various cognitive functions. One of the dominant theories known as “dual-system” posits that there are two systems governing our reasoning processes, namely Type 1 and Type 2 systems. The Type 1 (also called heuristic) system is a non-conscious, rapid, automatic, and high capacity system while the Type 2 (also called analytic) system is a conscious, slow, and deliberative system. The aim of this ongoing research is first to understand the underlying neural correlates of Type 1 and Type 2 systems and their interactions. Second, we aim to understand age-related changes in logical reasoning abilities. Third, we are planning to design and validate a novel method to enhance logical reasoning ability among university students.

Social cognition in epilepsy: Social cognition broadly refers to the processing of social information. Recent research has shown that people with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) exhibit social and cognitive impairments. These deficits in social cognitive functioning are postulated to contribute to patients’ difficulties in interpersonal relationships, employability, quality of life and psychosocial well-being. Therefore, it is very important to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the social cognitive changes in epilepsy and the biomarkers that can predict these changes. Thus, the aim of this project is to investigate the underlying structural and functional biomarkers that predict social and cognitive dysfunctions in epilepsy.

Social cognition in healthy aging: People rely on eye gaze and emotional expressions to form expectations about the mental states of others. Aging, however, diminishes the ability to process information from eye gaze and emotional expressions, as well as the integration of these cues (particularly for angry facial expressions). Reduced sensitivity to expression and eye-gaze cues may have potential consequences for social interaction in late adulthood. The aim of this project is to gain a better understanding of neural correlates underlying age-related changes in processing facial cues. Furthermore, most of the previous research has been conducted on static faces which lack information about the temporal dimensions of the stimuli. We aim to develop an ecologically-valid stimuli set to understand the true nature of age-related changes in processing facial cues.

I am also collaborating with the School of Education and the Queensland Brain Institute on the following topics:

The effect of mindfulness on emotion regulation: The aim of this project is to examine how mindfulness training can have an impact on the responding to emotional stimuli among teachers.

The impact of exercise on cognitive abilities in aging: the aim of this project is to investigate the brain structural and functional changes occur follow up to the exercise among healthy older adults.