PhD Studentship in Psychology: Fast-Periodic-Visual-Stimulation – A New Technique For Assessing Memory In Alzheimer’s Disease

University of Bath - Department of Psychology

Can we diagnose Alzheimer’s disease earlier using cognitive neuroscience tools?

The University of Bath, Department of Psychology is pleased to offer a PhD project available for admission in October 2018, supervised by Dr George Stothart. The studentship will test a new technique for measuring memory deficits in Alzheimer's disease (AD), with the goal of improving early diagnosis. Currently we are diagnosing AD too late, and one of the reasons is that the current approach of detecting early memory problems using questionnaires and pen and paper tests is unreliable.

The studentship will help to develop a new technique using electroencephalography (EEG) which measures peoples' brain waves. The Fast-Periodic-Visual-Stimulation technique involves showing participants images to remember, and then presenting the images to them onscreen at a very fast rate mixed up amongst images they have not seen. Using EEG headsets we can identify rhythms in the brain waves that reflect whether the participant has remembered the image or not.

The prediction is that this technique will be more reliable than questionnaires, and able to detect memory problems much earlier on, perhaps before the person has even noticed them. The aim of the studentship is to extensively develop this technique to measure short term memory and hippocampal function in healthy younger and older adults, Mild Cognitive Impairment and AD patients. The studentship will involve extensive technical training and development, as well as working directly with dementia patients. The student will finish with an invaluable and highly sought-after combination of clinical and technical experience.

The successful applicant will be supported in applying for studentship funding provided by the University of Bath and/or the ESRC. Full studentships cover UK tuition fees and provide approx. £14,553 p.a. in living costs for 3 years. Students also receive a personal allowance for additional training costs and conference attendance, and can apply for further funding to pursue fieldwork, academic exchange, and collaboration with partner organisations. Successful applicants will acquire a set of skills that will equip them for high-profile careers in academia or other organisations.

Applicants with relevant undergraduate level or Master’s qualifications are welcome to apply. Studentships are open to UK and EU citizens.

What to do next

Please contact George Stothart: to express your interest in applying for this studentship and find out more about the supervision and training on offer. Application is via A research proposal is not required at this preliminary stage.

Please submit your application by Friday 5th January. Note that this preliminary date is earlier than the 30th Jan 2018 deadline set by the University for studentship applications, and will enable the successful applicant to be supported in developing a research proposal.

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