My Lab is focused on cognitive and neuropsychological research. It is currently based in the School of Engineering and Digital Sciences at Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan. It was previously based at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), in Ecuador, and was part of the Institute of Neurosciences, which I also directed.
Founded in May 2014, the lab has provided research opportunities for numerous local research students as well as interns who came for research experience from the USA and Europe. Indeed, the lab has always been very diverse, with guests from Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, the USA, etc. The lab also organizes academic seminars throughout the academic semesters. These ‘Brain Meetings’ bring guest scientists to the Lab to present their research, and these have been similarly international. Over the years we had hosted presenters from many renowned research institutes including. University of Oxford, Harvard University Medical School, University of Geneva, University of Tehran, and Heidelberg University, as well as local researchers presenting on a wide range of topics in psychology and brain sciences. A list of past Brain Meetings organized by PluckLab can be viewed here.
The research focus is primarily behavioral, using established and experimental tests of cognitive and social-cognitive function. Data collected at the lab has been published in journals such as Child Neuropsychology, Applied Neuropsychology: Child, International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, Trends in Neurosciences and Education, and British Journal of Developmental Psychology. The lab’s work is focused on understanding cognitive and brain function in the real world. The lab’s three principal lines of research are:
How variation in neuropsychological functions relates to socioeconomic deprivation/privilege.
This includes studies of homeless adults, street-connected youth, and how socioeconomic gradients influence cognitive test performance. Language skill is an important topic in this field, and how it relates to other cognitive factors such as general intelligence, memory, and executive function. This line of research provides important information on how society functions, or perhaps, should function.
Neuropsychological predictors of achievement
This includes using standard tests of intelligence, executive functions, and neurobehavioral traits (such as hand preference), to predict real-life performance in challenging environments (such as in school, college, or the workplace). This provides important information about how the human brain and cognitive systems produce high-level organization of behavior, and has multiple practical implications, such as in educational and organizational psychology.
Development and validation of cognitive tests for use in with non-WEIRD populations.
Most cognitive tests are not validated for used in non-WEIRD contexts (i.e., Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic; Henrich et al., 2010). We therefore provide this test development, which helps our own research, as well as contributing to research, clinical, and educational work in the country. Some of these tests are available to download on this website, on the Tests page.
However, we are usually flexible, and have recently collaborated on other studies including in clinical neurology and psychophysiology. If you’d like to discuss a research idea, please feel free to message me via the Contact page.
Henrich, J., Heine, S. J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). The weirdest people in the world?. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33(2-3), 61-83.
- Professors from Harvard Medical School visting the lab at Universidad San Francisco de Quito
- 'Brain Meeting' presentation given by Dr Katharina Dworzynski of the UK National Collaborating Centrefor Women’s and Children’s Health
- Brain Meeting' presentation given by Dr Gabriela Vilema Enriquez from University of Oxford
- Christine doing an intern position in the lab when it was at Universidad San Francisco de Quito
- Emma, an intern at the lab, prepares a participant for EEG recording
- Izan processing hair samples collected in the lab to measure cortisol content
- Lab members at Universidad San Francisco de Quito
- Research assistants working in the lab at Universidad san Francisco de Quito
- Members of the lab dine in Quito with our visitor, Carlos Marquez de la Plata of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
- Me working at the lab in Universidad San Francisco de Quito
- The lab Christams pizza party at Universidad San Francisco de Quito 2015
- The lab was originally called the Quito Brain and Behavior Lab
- 'Brain Meeting' presentation given by Dr Ana Trueba of McLean Hospital Harvard Medical School
- Members of the lab and the Institute of Neurosciences at Universidad San Francisco de Quito