Dr Heike Elchlepp


I completed my PhD in 2011 at Exeter under the supervision of Prof. Stephen Monsell and Dr. Aureliu Lavric. My thesis investigated how the brain organises itself to perform the many tasks it is capable of and how it switches flexibly among them. In addition to the recruitment of active cognitive control, our capability to switch tasks efficiently also depends on passive processes such as priming, associative retrieval and interference. Together with behavioural measures I use electro-encephalography (EEG), which records electrical activity on the scalp that results from voltage fluctuations when our nerve cells communicate. With this online measure of brain activity, I examined at what time in the chain of task processing interference and priming show their effect.

In June 2012, I was awarded a postdoctoral Fellowship by the ESRC. This project was aimed at developing a computational model that can explain the ERP components typically found in ERP studies of task switching.

In collaboration with my colleagues in the cognition group I have worked on projects combining EEG with eye-tracking, and with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

From 2013 to April 2016 I worked on a project with Prof. Frederick Verbruggen (funded by the European Research Council), which investigated the proactive and reactive control processes that enable goal-directed behaviour, in particular behavioural change. We used EEG to examine the subcomponents of action updating and response inhibition and how they are implemented in the brain. We are now investigating how emotional information influences those subcomponents.

Since May 2016 I am a lecturer in Psychology. I am still continuing with the above research strands but have also started a new project, which looks at whether and how mindfulness meditation modulates different aspects of attentional control. This project is funded by the British Academy.

My office hours for term 2 in 2018/19 are:

Wednesdays 11 - 12 pm 

Thursdays 4 - 5 pm


BSc Psychology, University of Exeter, 2006

MSc Psychological Research Methods, University of Exeter, 2007

PhD (Cognitive Neuroscience), University of Exeter, 2011

Research group links

Contact details

Internal tel4637
Tel+44 (0) 1392 724637
AddressWashington Singer Laboratories
University of Exeter
Perry Road
Prince of Wales Road

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