Principal Investigator

Stephen Fleming [cv] [@smfleming]
stephen.fleming [at] ucl.ac.uk

Steve Fleming is a Sir Henry Dale Wellcome Trust/Royal Society Fellow at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, University College London where he leads the Metacognition Group. The group’s research focuses on the mechanisms supporting conscious awareness, metacognition and decision-making in the adult human brain.

Steve received a first class BA in Psychology and Physiology at Oxford University (2003-2006) before completing a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL under the supervision of Ray Dolan and Chris Frith, investigating awareness in perceptual decision-making (2006-2011). He was awarded a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship to study with Nathaniel Daw at New York University and Matthew Rushworth at Oxford (2011-2015), building computational models of self-monitoring. In 2006 he received the British Psychological Society Undergraduate Award and the Gibbs Prize in Psychology, Physiology and Philosophy from the University of Oxford. Since then Steve's research has been recognised with the William James Prize from the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (2012), a "Rising Star" designation by the Association of Psychological Science (2015), the Wiley Prize in Psychology from the British Academy (2016), a Philip Leverhulme Prize in Psychology (2017) and the BPS Spearman Medal (2019).

Steve is actively involved in public engagement and has given public talks about neuroscience and consciousness both in the UK and the USA. He is Executive Director of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness. He has written general-interest articles for outlets including Aeon, Scientific American and Psychology Today, and the lab’s work is regularly featured in the mainstream media. 


Postdoctoral Research Associates

Dan Bang [web]
d.bang [at] ucl.ac.uk

As a slight academic detour, Dr. Dan Bang spent his early days in Beijing studying Mandarin Chinese. Following that he read for a BA in Linguistics at Aarhus University before becoming involved with the Interacting Minds Centre at Aarhus University; working as a Research Assistant for Bahador Bahrami, Andreas Roepstorff and Chris Frith. Dan then read for a Masters degree in Cognitive & Evolutionary Anthropology under the supervision of Robin Dunbar at the University of Oxford. Upon completion of his Masters, he read for a DPhil degree under the supervision of Jennifer Lau and Chris Summerfield at the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford. His DPhil research broadly concerned how people compute and integrate confidence during group decision-making. As a postdoc in the Metacognition Lab, Dan is working on dissociating the different types of uncertainty that affect our sense of confidence.

 


PhD Students

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Max Rollwage
max.rollwage.16 [at] ucl.ac.uk

Max graduated with a Diploma in Psychology from Philipps-University Marburg. In parallel, he was working as research assistant at the German Primate Center and European Neuroscience Institute in Göttingen, for Igor Kagan, Arezoo Pooresmaeili and Melanie Wilke. Generally, he is interested in the process of decision making and individual differences in the metacognitive evaluation of previous decisions. Max is carrying out a PhD in the MetaLab funded by the Max Planck-UCL Computational Psychiatry Centre, and supervised by Steve and Prof. Ray Dolan. He plans to investigate the link between metacognition, confidence and political beliefs.

 

Matan Mazor 

Matan completed his MSc in neuroscience at Tel Aviv University. In his dissertation he proposed a model-free fMRI analysis, and applied it to the study of the sense of agency in humans. Matan is now pursuing a PhD in the MetaLab, supervised by Steve and Prof. Karl Friston, in which he plans to investigate the neural and computational basis of perceptual awareness (detection) judgments. Matan is curious about philosophical, computational and cognitive aspects of self-representation. He is also interested in questions of scientific inference, and in moral aspects of doing science. 

 
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Andrew McWilliams

Dr Andrew McWilliams is a clinical research fellow and PhD candidate on the Wellcome-funded Mental Health and Justice project (https://mhj.org.uk/), co-supervised by Prof Anthony David, Dr Gareth Owen (KCL) and Dr. Steve Fleming (UCL). After receiving a first class BA(Hons) in Natural Sciences (Psychology) at Cambridge, Andrew trained in medicine at Barts and The London, winning the Strauss Prize for Psychological Medicine. He went on to conduct research on paediatric non-epileptic seizures with Prof Isobel Heyman at Great Ormond Street Hospital, where he is a specialist registrar. His PhD is exploring the role of metacognition in decision-making capacity, with a focus on designing tools to support clinicians in assessing capacity. He has an interest in the interface between dance and mental illness, about which he has spoken at the European Parliament.

 
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Elisa van der Plas [web

Elisa completed her research master in Brain and Cognitive Science at the University of Amsterdam where she gained interest in addressing public policy challenges with neurocomputational techniques. She worked with Dr. Molly Crockett at the University of Oxford on the computational basis of moral decision making and with Prof. Alan Sanfey at Donders Institute on the neural basis of political attitudes. Elisa is now pursuing her PhD in the MetaLab under the supervision of Steve and Prof. Anthony David. Her project is part of the interdisciplinary Mental Health and Justice initiative, and investigates what roles metacognition and social influence play in decision capacity. 


Visiting fellows


Research assistants


Masters students


Alumni

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Lion Schulz was a MSc student in the MetaLab who investigated how individual differences in metacognitive ability and information seeking relate to political beliefs.

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Roy Tal Dew completed her Masters project in the lab, as part of the Dual Masters in Brain and Mind Sciences at UCL. He worked with Matan to research the neural representations of stimulus absence.

 
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Keer Dong was a Cognitive Neuroscience MRes student who worked with the MetaLab and Peking University in China to understand cross-cultural influence in decision-making and confidence.

 
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Juliana Sporrer completed her Masters project in the lab, as part of the Dual Masters in Brain and Mind Sciences at UCL. She investigated how expectations and rewards impact confidence and its relationship with mood at the behavioural and computational levels.

 
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Sara Ershadmanesh visited the MetaLab on a scholarship from the Cognitive Science and Technologies council in 2018-19, and worked with Dan to develop computational models of the effects of context on metacognitive judgments.

 

Agata Feledyn was a Neuroscience BSc student in the MetaLab who completed her undergraduate thesis examining decisions about stimulus absence.

 

Marion Rouault was a postdoc in the Metacognition Group between 2015 and 2019. She investigated how global beliefs about our skills and abilities are constructed from local confidence signals at behavioural, computational and neural levels, and how these processes are distorted in disorders of mental health. She is now a postdoc at the ENS in Paris.

 

Xiao Hu visited the lab during 2017-2018 from Beijing Normal University, funded by a China Scholarship Council Award as part of his PhD on metamemory.

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Alisa Loosen completed her Masters project in the lab, as part of the Dual Masters in Brain and Mind Sciences at UCL and ENS/UPMC. She worked with Max on the effects of confidence on changes of mind. She is now a PhD student on the Max-Planck UCL Computational Psychiatry program.

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Rylan Schaeffer completed his Cognitive Neuroscience MRes at UCL in the MetaLab, working on the effects of belief stability on confidence estimates. He is now a Data Scientist at Uber.

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Jason Carpenter was a research assistant in the lab from 2015-2017, managing our R01-funded collaboration with Hakwan Lau at UCLA. He is now a Machine Learning Engineer at AI consulting company Manifold.

Oriane Armand completed her MSc in Advanced Neuroimaging in the MetaLab, working on motor contributions to metacognition. She is now a PhD student in Ophelia Deroy’s group at the Munich Center for Neurosciences, LMU.

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Tricia Seow graduated from the MSci in Neuroscience at UCL and was a research assistant in the lab from 2015-2017. Tricia is now a PhD student in Claire Gillan’s group at Trinity College Dublin.

 

Steven Chau completed his medical training in psychiatry before joining the MSc in Neuroscience programme at UCL. His thesis focused on developing single-trial estimates of metacognitive efficiency.

 

Shaima Alsuwaidi studied for a Bachelors in Chemical Engineering before joining the MSc in Neuroscience programme at UCL. She completed her thesis with Marion, working on how prior experience affects confidence estimates.


Collaborators

Princeton University
Nathaniel Daw

UCLA
Hakwan Lau

University of Zurich
Klaas Stephan

Aix Marseille Université
Thibault Gajdos   Karen Davranche

Trinity College Dublin
Claire Gillan

UCL
Chris Frith  Micah Allen  Ray Dolan  Geraint Rees  Patrick Haggard  Benedetto de Martino Nicholas Wright

Mount Sinai Hospital
Scott Moeller

McGill University, Montreal
Ross Otto

Columbia University
Jorge Morales

University of Denver
Peter Sokol-Hessner

Institute of Psychiatry, KCL
Anthony David

Virginia Tech
Read Montague

Wake Forest University
Ken Kishida