Motivation Science Lab Sorry, your browser does not support inline SVG.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Kou Murayama
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Reading
(Honorary Associate Professor, Kochi University of Technology)

Awards (selected)
F. J. McGuigan Early Career Investigator Prize (American Psychological Foundation)
The Richard E. Snow Awards for Distinguished Early Contributions (American Psychological Association, Division 15)
Current Grants (selected)
Leverhulme Trust Research Leadership Award
Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant
Marie Curie Career Integration Grant, European Commission

Lab Members


Dr. Johnny Lau
I am currently working with Kou on an exciting project that explores the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying how curiosity influences decision making. Before joining the Motivation Science Lab, I completed my PhD at the University of Birmingham in 2016. My doctoral research examined object and action perception, in both neurologically normal and brain-injured individuals. I have applied multiple techniques in my research ranging from neuropsychological assessment and experimental testing to structural (lesion analysis), functional and diffusion imaging.
Dr. Lily FitzGibbon
My research interests include curiosity, counterfactual and hypothetical reasoning, executive function and decision making. I am currently investigating the information seeking behaviour that occurs after decision making in adults and children. I completed my PhD at the University of Sheffield in 2015, and have since held postdoctoral positions at the University of Birmingham and the University of Southern California.
Dr. Carolyn McNabb
Prior to starting in the Motivation Science Lab, I completed my PhD at the University of Auckland, studying neuroimaging markers of treatment resistance in people with schizophrenia. I have experience in functional and structural brain network analysis and will be applying these skills in my current project, studying contagion of motivation in adolescents.


Greta Fastrich
My main interest is intrinsic motivation. In particular, I am interested in how (potentially different) kinds of intrinsic motivation influence our cognition. I especially aim to identify how interest, curiosity and challenge impact memory and decision-making. For this, I use a range of methods including fMRI, hierarchical latent growth curve modelling and computational modelling.
Alexandra Antonesei
I am interested in developing cognitive tasks along with pharmacological interventions to target impaired learning and decision-making in people with mood disorders. I rely on computational models to explain behavioural, physiological and neural data in order to generate evidence-based personalized interventions.
Laura Burgess
My ph. D. research project is a longitudinal investigation of motivation contagion in a school setting, carried out in collaboration with local schools. I am interested in using a range of methods including surveys and behavioural tasks along with neuroimaging techniques, the latter being the primary method in my most recent research project.
Sumeyye Aslan
My essential research interest is generally cognitive abilities and how and whether they can be measured. I aim to work on this topic using a variety of psychometric analyses.

Research Assistants

Jasmine Raw
I am interested in how our emotions can affect our cognitive abilities, in particular our memory. Over the past year and a half, I have been investigating how emotions influence our memory over time, by conducting a longitudinal study on people's memory for a large-scale, political event. More recently, I have started working on an fMRI project investigating emotion regulation across age, looking at the positivity effect in older adults.
Dr. Anthony Haffey
My previous research has been in social motivation, and I am interested in researching motivation in learning. I have used EMG, eye-tracking and fMRI and am currently investigating motivation by studying learned helplessness and curiosity.
Stef Meliss
Previous projects facilitated my interest in understanding brain networks underlying cognitive functions like memory. Due to work experience in both academic and clinical fields, I am passionate about bridging the gap between fundamental psychological science and its application, thus making it appealing to me to understand how motivation influences memory. Having experience in conducting behavioural and online experiments, I am interested in expanding my knowledge and skills to neuroimaging methods (e.g. fMRI) as well as to computational modelling.
Emmanuel Daveau
My previous works fostered my interest in investigating how emotion affects cognitive processing in a socio-emotional context. My current aim is to study the links between emotion and motivation, while also developing my knowledge in hierarchical linear modeling and bayesian statistics.