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Dr Fiona McNab

University of York


During a postdoc at the Karolinksa Institute in Stockholm, Fiona investigated working memory and attention, providing empirical support for a role for the basal ganglia in the control of access to working memory and identification of changes in the dopamine system related to working memory training. At The Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, UCL, with a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship, she designed the working memory game in the large-scale smartphone study; “The Great Brain Experiment”, leading to studies of different types of distraction in younger adults as well as in healthy ageing. In 2013 she moved to Birmingham University, where she conducted fMRI and behavioural studies of attention and working memory, and behavioural studies of the effects of competition on working memory. Fiona is now a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of York. She is using fMRI and behavioural studies to investigate what limits working memory, how different types of distractors are successfully ignored and how working memory changes through development, with healthy aging, as well as in certain patient groups. Part of her work uses data from a new set of working memory games, which are currently available to play (York Memory Games, YORMEGA).

She is particularly interested in supervising students on the following topics:

  • Understanding the limitations of working memory and the role of attention using games

  • Understanding age-related changes in cognition using games,

  • Cognitive training using games.

Research themes:

  • Game Design

  • Games with a Purpose

  • Player Experience

  • Gamification

  • Games for Cognition Research

  • Games for Cognitive Training


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