Component Labs

  • The Babylab (Profs. Mark Johnson and Denis Mareschal)
  • Brain and Behaviour Lab (Prof. Martin Eimer)
  • Developmental Neurocognition Lab (Prof. Michael Thomas)
  • Alpha Lab (Prof. Fred Dick)

The Babylab

The Babylab has the mission to investigate relations between postnatal brain development and changes in perceptual, cognitive, and linguistic abilities from birth through childhood. Core funding comes from the Medical Research Council with additional funding from Marie Curie, EC, Wellcome Trust, NAAR, & EPSRC.  

Team Leaders:

Professor Mark H Johnson (Director)
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, focusing on social and non-social perception and cognition over the early years; infants at-risk for autism and other developmental disorders.
Professor Denis Mareschal
All aspects of perceptual and cognitive development in infancy and childhood, involving a blend of (connectionist) computational modelling and empirical studies. 

The Babylab has a strong team of post doctoral researchers, visiting research fellows and PhD students.
There is also a core support team for the Babylab, led by Leslie Tucker, the Centre Co-ordinator.
Please contact us if you are interested in participating in our research.

Brain and Behaviour Lab

The Brain and Behaviour Lab, led by Professor Martin Eimer, studies brain processes underlying perception, attention, consciousness, and the control of action. We measure behavioural performance (such as reaction times and error rates) as well as brain responses generated during perceptual, cognitive, and motor processes. We use event-related brain potentials (ERPs), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and functional brain imaging (fMRI) to investigate how the brain operates in different cognitive tasks. Funding for our research currently comes from the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council, the Royal Society, and the BBSRC.

Our primary aim is to study cognitive mechanisms underlying perception and action in healthy adult humans, but we also study the disruption of such mechanism caused by brain damage. Our main research areas are selective attention in vision, audition, and touch, crossmodal processing, face perception and recognition, unconscious processes, and emotion. Please refer to our website for further information about our current research and team members. Those interested in taking part in one of our experiments can also find contact details on our website.

Developmental Neurocognition Lab

The Developmental Neurocognition Lab, led by Dr. Michael Thomas aims to explore the basis of cognitive variability – that is, what makes individuals more or less able. We are interested in how cognitive abilities start out in early infancy and increase as children grow older, in how individuals of the same age can vary in their levels of intelligence, and how cognitive abilities can be altered in developmental disorders such as autism, Williams syndrome, Down syndrome, Fragile X, Velocardiofacial syndromes and Specific Language Impairment.

Our work employs a range of methods, including behavioural studies, functional brain imaging, computational modelling and phenotype/genotype relations to trace back variability to its developmental origins.

Funding for this research comes from the Medical Research Council and the British Academy.
Please visit our website:

Alpha Lab

The Alpha Lab focuses on understanding how complex auditory skills like, spoken language understanding, develop and change over the lifespan. Our work is funded primarily by the Medical Research Council.

Team Leader:

Prof. Frederic Dick
Language and auditory processing in children and adults, using behavioural and neuroimaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and voxel-based lesion symptom mapping (VLSM).

The Alpha Lab is home to several outstanding graduate students. We are also affiliated with the new joint Birkbeck/UCL Centre for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, located nearby in Bedford Way. Visit us on our website: