Research areas

Research areas

The Department of Cognitive Science carries out research in a number of areas of cognition spanning  belief formation, collective cognition, cognition, hearing and audition, language, memory, perception in action, and reading.

Department Research Areas

Belief Formation

The Belief Formation Research Group incorporates a group of researchers within the department and their collaborators, investigating the cognitive and brain systems underlying our ability to formulate and test beliefs about the world. We focus primarily on disorders of belief formation, such as delusion, and its related symptoms, as well as the consequences of these symptoms for patients’ daily living. Find out more about our Belief Formation Research Group.

Collective Cognition

The Collective Cognition Research Group integrates psychological, philosophical and other approaches to explore individual memory, individual memory in small groups and small-group collective memory. Motivated by philosophical theories—such as distributed cognition—the program uses and extends experimental memory paradigms in innovative ways. This approach is designed to bridge the gap between the laboratory and everyday memory phenomena.

Cognition, Hearing and Audition

The Cognition, Hearing and Audition Group investigates the relationship between cognitive processes and the way in which the human brain processes auditory information, as associated with hearing loss, hearing restoration and cognitive disorders. Find out more about our Cognition, Hearing and Audition Group.


The Language Research Group showcases the collaborative effort of researchers investigating language processing and representation, including bilingual language. The program has a particular focus on using cognitive neuropsychological methods to explore spoken and written word production, with studies conducted across three interrelated strands of investigation:

  • theory
  • impairment and
  • treatment.

Find out more about our Language Research Group.

Perception in Action

The Perception in Action Program is headed by Dr Matthew Finkbeiner, Associate Professor Anina Rich, and Associate Professor Mark Williams. This program is interested in the way in which the human brain processes information and uses it to act on the world. To investigate this issue we employ a variety of behavioural, psychophysiological and neuroimaging techniques. Find out more about our Perception in Action Research Group.


The Reading Research Group develops theoretical and computational models of reading and spelling. It uses these models as the basis for investigating how children learn to read and spell, why some children have difficulty (developmental dyslexia and dysgraphia), and how reading and spelling can break down after brain damage (acquired dyslexia and dysgraphia). Our findings inform educational and clinical practice and the development of targeted treatment programs for reading and spelling disorders. Find out more about our Reading Research Group.

University & Faculty Research Centres

Centre for Elite Performance, Expertise and Training

Macquarie University's "Centre for Elite Performance, Expertise, and Training (CEPET) carries out multidisciplinary research  on three core aspects of elite performance and expertise: its  acquisition , its  maintenance , and its  loss . Members of CEPET come from numerous departments including PsychologyCognitive ScienceLinguisticsAnthropologyMusic , and Computer Science .

The Centre for Scaffolding the Ageing Mind

The Centre for Scaffolding the Ageing Mind brings together a diverse set of researchers from across disciplines, all focussed on understanding how people live and age within their psychological, bodily, material and social contexts, placing individuals within "cognitive ecologies". Understanding how cognition can be scaffolded by internal and external resources will have important applications for enhancing cognitive capacities in old age.

The Macquarie University Centre for Reading

Reading is a most remarkable human ability. It unlocks for the reader a world of ideas and information, providing a gateway to education, employment, and cultural engagement. The Macquarie University Centre for Reading (MQCR) brings together a critical mass of researchers from across a range of disciplines to understand the complex process of reading.

The Perception in Action Research Centre

Research at the Perception in Action Research Centre explores the way humans perceive and interact with the world. We examine the neural and cognitive mechanisms that allows us to perceive and process our environment, make decisions, and select appropriate actions. As part of the Faculty of Human Sciences, the centre bridges the research gaps between the Departments of Cognitive Science and Psychology.

ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders

The ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders built on a rich history of research excellence in cognitive sciences at the department. Established in 2010 and completed in 2018, the centre offered unique opportunities for interdisciplinary and international collaborative research in the study of cognition, its disorders and their treatment focusing on the five areas of cognition:

  • Belief Formation
  • Language
  • Memory
  • Person Perception
  • Reading

Engage With Us

Research Participation

Research is conducted at all age groups and across both targeted and control population groups. If you are interested in being a participant for the research conducted in our department you can do so by signing up for our Neuronauts (0-17 years old) or the Cognitive Science Register (18-70 years) or the Cognitive Science 60+ Register (aged 60 years and over). People who sign up to these Registers can take part in interesting and important research studies that help us to learn about how the brain functions, both normally and where there is a problem.

Content owner: Department of Cognitive Science Last updated: 09 Jul 2020 1:42pm

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