Sam Schwarzkopf


At 90 Mile Beach on Aupouri Peninsula, Northland, New Zealand

I did my undergraduate studies (BSc Neuroscience) at Cardiff University and subsequently decided to stay there also to do my PhD in the lab of Frank Sengpiel. Subsequently, I did a brief postdoc project at the University of Birmingham, where I moved into human neuroimaging and cognitive neuroscience. In 2008, I moved to University College London to join the lab of Geraint Rees at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging (the “FIL”) and the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN) as postdoctoral research fellow. In 2012, I was awarded generous funding in the form of an ERC Starting Grant (“WMOSPOTWU”) to support my research. I moved to the department of Experimental Psychology and the Birkbeck-UCL Centre for Neuroimaging (BUCNI) to set up an independent lab there. London in general, and UCL specifically, are an amazing research environment and I had the great pleasure to work with countless talented people there.

Nevertheless, in 2017 I decided I had enough of Brexit, crowds, air pollution, and the banana republic that the UK has become since 2016. So I moved to the School of Optometry & Vision Science at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, although for the time being I still run a lab at UCL.

The overarching goal of my lab’s research is to better understand what in the brain makes us perceive the world the way we do. Therefore we study the variability and commonalities between people’s perception and brain function. Our research mainly employs functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and behavioural, psychophysical measurements. However, in collaboration with my colleagues I have also used magnetoencephalography (MEG), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and other neurophysiological techniques. The methods are merely the tools; what matters most are the biological questions motivating our research. Therefore the choice of methodology is driven first and foremost by whatever technique is best suited to address the particular question we are addressing at the time.

In addition to this page, I also run a blog called NeuroNeurotic, where I discuss issues in meta-science, neuroscience research, and occasionally other topics.

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