CSHC - Center for the Study of Human Cognition

This was the official website for CSHC.
Content is from the site's 2011 archived pages.

  • Cognitive psychology is the study of human information processing – perception, attention, memory, processes of reasoning and decision making – that in a neuropsychological perspective is connected to modern brain research.

    The research group consists of 8 full-time staff and 7 PhD students and postdocs, and runs several large scale projects within basic, clinical, and applied cognitive neuroscience.

    Group picture people in CSHC

    The center has excellent laboratory facilities allowing investigations with many of the techniques of cognitive neuroscience. Studies of functional and structural brain imaging of cognitive functions using MR/fMRI technology are performed in close collaboration with national and international scientific communities, and analysed in the Center; we have EEG and ERP labs, a clinical neuropsychology lab, as well as cognitive labs for traditional experimental techniques and eye movements.

    There is a broad spectrum of research topics within the Center: from genetics and cognition, to the relationship between lifespan changes in cortical thickness and cognitive function, to emotion and cognition, and eyewitness psychology. The common core is that the research sheds light on cognitive function within a neuroscientific perspective, and works towards a more neurologically-informed cognitive psychology.

    The members of the research group have received several awards for their research and their publications. In 2004, the group was judged “excellent” by Norwegian Research Council’s international evaluation panel.

    The center is located in Harald Schjelderups hus within the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo.



Cognitive Laboratories

CogLab is a facility for the collection of behavioural data. It consists of seven laboratory cells setup for a wide range of cognitive experiment, running e.g. with E-Primeot the PsycToolbox. One cell has a tachistoscope with a precision of 1 ms exposure, allowing for well controlled studies of visual stimuli like subliminal priming. This room is also shielded against radiowaves to allow for a controlled psychophysiology environment with equipment to record EMG, ESR, and EEG. One cell is set up with an IView eyetracker for studies involving eye gaze, eye movements and pupillary responses.

ERP Laboratory

Event-related potentials (ERPs) are changes in electrical currents in response to stimuli and cognitive tasks. With ERPs brain activity can be measured at a very high temporal scale, e.g. by recoding eectric potentials thousand times a second. In contrast to measures of blood oxygenation with fMRI, ERPs are assumed to be direct reflections of neural activity, and are thus a powerful tool in the study of human cognition. The three parameters of ERP are the strength of the response (amplitude), the speed of the response (latency), and the localization of the response (scalp topography).

The ERP-lab at the Center for Studies of Human Cognition consists of 3 electrically-shielded recording chambers (Faraday cages). Each has state of the art equipment for the presentation of stimuli and recording or EEG (Electroencephalogram, which is the basis for deriving ERPs). A lot of time and effort has been spent optimizing the presentation and recording conditions, which are now superb (thanks to Trond Svendsen and his interns). For recording, we use different Neuroscan systems .
Lab 1 is our most heavily used research lab, and is dedicated to high-density recordings with 128 channels. This system consists of two Neuroscan SynAmps2 linked 70 Channel amplifier system, each consisting of 64 monopolar, 4 bipolar and 2 high-level channels.
Lab 2 is has the same great system, with half the channels, consisting of one Neuroscan SynAmps2 70 Channel amplifier system.
Lab 3 has a 40 channel Neuroscan NuAmp system.
All labs can be used by all employees and students familiar with the equipment. Currently, several projects are run in the labs and both PhD and Master students do their thesis projects here. In addition, lab project courses at BA level are offered each term, with around 40 students running projects yearly.

For analysis of ERP data, we use a number of different softwares. NeuroScan’s software Scan is often used for preprocessing of data, in addition to custom made software. For source localization of high-density ERP data, dynamic Statistical Parametric Mapping (dSPM) developed by Dale, Fischl, Halgren et al. (2002, Neuron) is used, though a collaboration with among others Don Hagler at Dale and Halgren’s multi-modal neuroimaging lab at UCSD.

Through collaboration with Scott Makeig and Arnoldo Delorme at Schwartz Center for Computational Neuroscience, we also use EEG-lab (www.sccn.ucsd.edu/eeglab) for analyses of EEG data.

Functional MRI Laboratory

The functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging lab provides infrastructure for functional neuroimaging experiments in the area of cognitive neuroscience. Buildings blocks of the Lab are good availability of scan-time on a 3T MRI set up for fMRI, access to analysis computers in the department of psychology and on the TITAN grid, and regular fMRI methods meetings.

Neuroimaging analysis Laboratory

We have a laboratory dedicated to analysis of neuroimaging data. At the moment, the lab consists of 10 workstations and 30 processing units, most of which runs Linux (Fedora Core 4). With the exception of use of NeuroScan software for some ERP-preprocessing and a minor part of the workstations running windows, the programs used are freely available and mostly open-source.



On this page you will find descriptions of the members of the CSHC, including CVs and publications


Anders Fjell

Professor of cognitive psychology
Part time position (15%) as a researcher at the Department of Neuropsychology, Ullevål University Hospital

Main research interests
How does the brain develop and change during the life-span, and which cognitive consequences does this development have? My research is focused on understanding the dynamic relationship between changes in brain structure, brain function, and cognitive abilities. Participants in these studies range from 7 to 90 years of age. One of the stunning cognitive studies conclusions my team discovered was the huge impact that facial attributes (hair length, hair color, teeth, eye color, etc) contribute to recognition. Even small differences in external influences, like whether the person was wearing traditional or round glasses had a greater impact than some obvious counter intuitive influences, like whether the face was viewed upside down. The title of the thesis, "The Eyeglass Effect," was only partially tongue in cheek, since the impact was not only real, but significant.


Bruno Laeng

I am professor in cognitive neuropsychology with the department of psychology, University of Oslo (Norway) and adjunct professor with the Institute of Biological and Medical Psychology, University of Bergen, Norway. I received my B.A. in experimental psychology in 1987 from Universitá La Sapienza (Rome, Italy) and my Ph.D. in biological psychology in 1993 from The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA). My former research and teaching career includes the University of Tromsø (Norway), University of Guelph (Canada), and Harvard University (USA). I have also been a Clinical Research Fellow, at Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.


Ivar Reinvang

Professor of clinical neuropsychology

I am a clinical neuropsychologist with a strong interest in integration of neuropsychology with neuroscience. My basic training was at the University of Oslo, and my dr.philos. work in 1984 was on aphasia, based on 10 years of clinical research with stroke patients. I have held clinical positions at Sunnaas Rehabilitation hospital and at Rikshospitalet University hospital, from 1983 I had an adjunct academic position at the Department of Psychology and in 1993 I became full professor.  My current main interests are in aging and dementia, and in the influence of genetic variation on individual differences. Also I have been involved in a broad range of clinical studies of neurological patients groups (head injury, epilepsy, stroke).


Kjetil Sundet

Professor of Neuropsychology

I am a trained clinical neuropsychologist, with special focus on test development and the assessment of cognition in neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. I did my cand.psychol. and dr.philos. degrees at the University of Oslo, served as full time neuropsychologist at Sunnaas Rehabilitation Hospital and Rikshospitalet University Hospital, as assistant professor in neuro¬psychology at the universities of Oslo and Tromsø, and since 2003 as full time professor at the Institute of  Psychology, University of Oslo, together with part time practice as specialist in clinical neuro¬psy¬chology. As head of the neurocognitive unit of the Thematic Organized Psychosis (TOP) research group at the Medical Department, University of Oslo, I supervise studies on neurocognition in schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.


Kristine Walhovd


Professor of cognitive neuropsychology
Part time position (15%) as a researcher at the Department of Neuropsychology, Ullevål University Hospital

Main research interests
My current research is targeted at understanding the mechanisms underlying different types of change in brain and cognition, and whether, and how, we ourselves can initiate, enhance or slow them. Throughout life, our mental capacities and brains are under continuous alteration: Some changes are part of positive development, others are debilitating.

Nils Inge Landrø


E-mail: n.i.landro@psykologi.uio.no
Fax: (+47) 22 84 50 51
Telephone: (+47) 22 84 51 46

Main research projects
My main research interests are cognitive/experimental and clinical neuropsychology. I have ongoing projects on neuropsychological impairments and brain function in mood and impulsivity disorders. A main issue is to link neuropsychology and  genetics, neurotransmittors and brain imaging. Another main topic is to identify cognitive vulnerability markers for mood and impulsivity disorders in healthy people. I am also involved in projects related to neuropsychological aspects of chronic pain and white matter CNS diseases as well as neurobehavioral consequences of fetal alcohol exposure.


Svein Magnussen

Professor of Cognitive Psychology

Areas of interest/ projects:
Ongoing empirical projects focus on basic mechanisms of visual information processing, attention and memory, and the applied aspects of cognition studied in the context of eyewitness testimony; many of these are large-scale collaborative projects with laboratories and research groups at the University of Freiburg and the University of Regensburg (Germany), the University of California at Los Angeles and Davis, and University of Padua, Italy.


Tim Brennen

Professor of Cognitive Psychology

E-mail: tim.brennen@psykologi.uio.no
Fax: (+47) 22 84 50 01
Telephone: (+47) 22 84 51 26

I am a cognitive psychologist, with a particular interest in memory. I did my first degree at the University of Exeter, and my PhD at the University of Nottingham. Since then I have worked at Université Pierre Mendès France and the Hôpital Michallon (Grenoble), Université de Savoie (Chambéry), and the University of Tromsø. I was made full professor at the University of Oslo in 2003. In addition to lab-based research on basic cognitive functions, I try to apply experimental cognitive methods in unconventional settings, where, I believe, there is a lot of unrealised potential.


Tor Endestad

Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology

I am a cognitive psychologist with a growing interest for the relationship between models of cognitive functioning and the brain. I have a background from Human Factors research related to advanced control room settings and finished my PhD on cognitive aspects of metaphor reasoning at the University of Oslo.

My main research interest is in the relationship between low and high level cognitive mechanisms, general human memory both in everyday settings and in the laboratory, the relationship between emotion and cognition.



Espen Walderhaug

Post Doctoral Fellow at the Institute of Psychology, University of Oslo, and Neuroimaging Research Fellowship at the Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine.

Areas of interest: 

  • The functions and purpose of the neurotransmitters serotonin (5-HT) and norepinephrine.
  • Brain imaging techniques such as PET and fMRI.
  • Sex differences in response to serotonergic depletion.
  • Sex differences in the prevalence of depression, anxiety, addiction, AD/HD and impulse control disorders.
  • Impulsivity (behaviour and strategy on neuropsychological tests).
  • Drug addiction, PTSD, transcultural research and developmental issues.


Astrid Bjørnebekk

Post Doctoral Fellow

 I have my PhD from the Karolinska Institute, Department of Neuroscience where I investigated molecular mechanisms of depression and antidepressant treatments in a rodent model of depression. Of particular interest was the potential of voluntary running to induce plasticity in the brain and how it relates to alleviation of depressive symptoms. We investigated factors involved in hippocampal plasticity or affecting neurotransmission in striatal dopamine pathways as neurogenesis, and gene expression of endogenous opioids, the neurotrophic factor BDNF, the neuropeptide NPY, as well as dopamine and serotonin receptors. My main research interest I have a broad interest in neuroscience, and I’m fascinated by the "new" understanding of the brain as a plastic organ that changes and where nerve cells are added throughout the lifespan. My main research interest concerns how biological and environmental factors (and interactions between them) may influence brain development or induce changes in the adult brain, and how these brain changes relates to behavior/personality, cognition, and psychiatric disease.


Guido Biele

I am a post doc at the department of Psychology at the University of Oslo. Before coming to Oslo I completed my PhD at the Max Planck Institue for Human Development in Berlin, and was a post doc at the same institute and later at the Freie Universität Berlin.

My main research interests are mechanistic models of decision making and learning. That is, I work on simple mathematical models that describe peoples behavior and the underlying cognitive and brain mechanisms as observed with fMRI and EEG. Most of the time I apply such models to describe decision making in the context of social learning and value based decisions.

I am also interested in fMRI methods, in particular in developping new methods for fMRI meta analysis and efficient denoising of fMRI data.


Christian K. Tamnes

Post-doctoral research fellow

I finished my Ph.D. entitled “Neurocognitive development from childhood to adulthood: Structural brain maturation and its relationships with higher-order cognitive functions” at the University of Oslo in 2010.

The main topics of my current research are brain maturation and cognitive development in childhood and adolescence, and the role of specific genes for these processes. I am particularly interested in the development of different aspects of cognitive control, such as performance monitoring, inhibition, shifting and working memory updating and how these changes are related to gray and white matter properties of the brain as measured by structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Another central interest is the combination and integration of different neuroscientific methods, including electrophysiology, MRI and DTI.


Lars Tjelta Westlye

Research Fellow, PhD

I’m part of a research team utilizing various structural and functional neuroimaging techniques (structural/functional magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI/fMRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), electroencephalography (EEG), event-related potentials (ERP)) in the study of brain/behaviour interactions. The research is aimed at characterizing the dynamic relations between cerebral structural/functional and cognitive alterations accompanying normal child development and aging, but also the interruptions of this dynamics in pathological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. Efforts are also aimed at understanding the genetic contribution to individual differences in cerebral structure, function and cognition, and further what role this genotypic variation is playing in the manifestations of pathological neurodegenerative phenotypes/conditions. For more details, please see my publications. 

I am currently a visiting researcher at Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain (FMRIB), University of Oxford, UK.


Siri Leknes


Research Fellow

A cognitive neuroscientist by training, my research interests span the fields of social, cognitive and affective neuroscience. "Pain, pleasure and relief," the title of my doctoral thesis (University of Oxford, 2008), describes a main theme in my research. Namely, the description of the neural processes which underpin hedonic (subjective) sensations. 

To understand the relationship between physiology (signalling in the peripheral and central nervous system) and the subjective experience of touch, pain, taste etc., my research employs a variety of techniques, including:

  • fMRI 
  • Eye tracking/pupillometry
  • Pharmacological challenges (oxytocin, opioid agonists/antagonists)


Håkon Grydeland

PhD Research Fellow

I am working in a research group headed by Prof. Anders M. Fjell and Prof. Kristine B. Walhovd. We strive to understand the relationship between alterations in the brains structural make-up and its functional manifestations in normal development and aging, as well as following discontinuity in the normal development trajectories due to for instance disease. To this end, we use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), including diffusion tensor imaging, electroencephalography/event-related potentials, and various cognitive-behavioural tasks. Our current and planned research projects also include genetic data in order to investigate the influence of genetic variance on the structure-function relationships in the brain.


Andreas Berg Storsve

PhD Research Fellow in Cognitive Neuroscience

Supervisors: Kristine Walhovd and Anders Fjell

Academic interests

  • Lifespan changes in cognition
  • Neurobiological substrates of memory and executive functions
  • Behavioural and neural mechanisms of error-correction learning 
  • Associative learning theory
  • Quantitative research methods


Ines Blix

PhD student

E-mail:   ines.blix@psykologi.uio.no
Telephone: (+47) 22845204 

I graduated with a Master of Philosophy in Psychology in 2006 from the University of Oslo. Since 2007  I  have been a Ph.D student at the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo. In my research I focus on memory processes after trauma exposure. My PhD project is entitled  .” Memory processes in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: General impairments, negative biases, and trauma-specific components”, my supervisor is Professor Tim Brennen. 


Andreas Engvig


I´m currently pursuing my Ph.D. degree with funding from the Kavli Research Center for Ageing and Dementia. My project focuses on investigating short-term effects of systematic memory training on aging brain structure and cognition.

The project is lead by my supervisors, Professors Anders M. Fjell and Kristine B. Walhovd. During my time as a student research fellow (2007-2010) I´ve had particular interest in applying the FSL and FreeSurfer software packages in the study of longitudinal brain structure changes in middle-aged and older adults. Also, I´ve developed systematic 8-week memory training program for both healthy and mildly cognitively impaired individuals. For more details, see my publication list. 


Jan Egil Nordvik

Psychologist and PhD-student

I am accredited psychologist with a degree in clinical psychology from University of Oslo (cand. psychol) and a BA in psychology from COGS at University of Sussex (Brighton, UK). My areas of main interest today are: Clinical neuropsychology, cognitive rehabilitation/remediation/training, brain connectivity and plasticity, and rehabilitation psychology.


Olga Chelnokova


PhD Student

In spring 2010, I received a M.Phil degree in Psychology from the University of Oslo. My area of focus was Cognitive Neuroscience. Since February 2011, I have started working on my PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo.

My main fields of interest include:

  • face perception
  • object recognition
  • stereo vision
  • eye-tracking


Markus Handal Sneve

PhD student

I am working in a research group led by Professor Svein Magnussen, and Associate Professor Tor Endestad. Our main tool of investigation is functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and inspired by the psychophysical research tradition (and unlike most fMRI studies), we prioritize experimental control over large samples of participants. This gives us the opportunity to investigate not only which brain areas that are active during a given cognitive or perceptual task, but also how computations are performed within and between the individual areas. 

Ylva Østby & Pia Lyche

Psychologist and PhD-student
I am accredited psychologist with a degree in clinical psychology  from University of Oslo (cand. psychol).
My PhD-thesis is entitled: “Neuropsychological functions in Unipolar Major Depression with and without co-morbid anxiety disorders”.
The main topics of my current research are: clinical and experimental neuropsychology, mood disorders; depression, anxiety, co-morbidity, and their assosiation with executive functions and different  attention and memory functions.
Supervisor: Professor Nils-Inge Landrø (Department of Psychology, UiO)

Ylva Østby>

PhD student

I am a psychologist studying for a PhD, with a project about cognitive and brain development during childhood and adolescence (8-19 years). Ca 100 children and adolescents are undergoing MRI scanning, cognitive/neuropsychological testing, and electrophysiological measurements while doing cognitive tasks (ERP). The MRI scans acquired are both structural, morphometric scans, and DTI scans.