Associate Professor Alan Pegna

Associate Professor

School of Psychology
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
a.pegna@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 56412

Overview

Associate Professor Alan Pegna is a neuropsychologist whose interests lie in the field of cognitive neuroscience and clinical neuropsychology. After receiving a Masters degree in Psychology from the University of Geneva (Switzerland) and a second Masters degree in Human Physiology from University College London (UK), he obtained his PhD from the University of Geneva, using brain imaging techniques to study spatial processing in both healthy controls and brain-damaged patients.

He worked for over 20 years as a clinical neuropsychologist at Geneva University Hospital, and as an academic at the University of Geneva, where he supervised numerous research projects in the field of visual processing, again in healthy participants and in persons with focal brain lesions.

He joined UQ in 2015, where he now explores the neural basis of visual and spatial processing of emotional stimuli. More specifically, using EEG, he examines the brain's response to different facial expressions, as well as to faces that vary in their perceived approachability (e.g., their apparent trustwothiness). When possible, these studies are also carried out with brain-damaged individuals, in order to investigate the role of particular brain regions in these processes.

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Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Geneva

Publications

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Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Evidence has shown that the amygdala is responsible for the rapid detection of threat and emotion, however hard evidence is lacking to confirm this idea. This project will examine the electrical brain response to emotional stimuli in healthy individuals as well as patients who have undergone surgical removal of their amygdala (amygdalectomies). The aim will be to establish whether the amydgala indeed contributes to the rapid processing of the visual stimuli.

  • Evidence has shown that the amygdala is responsible for the rapid detection of threat and emotion. One question that arises is whether this process is a prequisite for attention shifting. This project will investigate the electrical coorelate of attention-shifting in healthy individuals as well as patients who have undergone surgical removal of their amygdala (amygdalectomies). The project aims to determine if amydgala removal affects the automatic shift of attetion towards threatening stimuli..

  • It has been known for some time that different brain regions process stimuli according to whether they are situated in near (peripersonal) or far (extrapersonal) space. Furthermore, evidence has demonstrated the existence of a personal spatial boundary that, when crossed by another individual, creates a sense of discomfort. Using ERP in conjunction with Virtual Reality, this project will examine the brain response to neutral and emotionally expressive faces, as well as trustworthy and untrustworthy faces, situated within or beyond personal space.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Journal Article

Conference Publication

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Evidence has shown that the amygdala is responsible for the rapid detection of threat and emotion, however hard evidence is lacking to confirm this idea. This project will examine the electrical brain response to emotional stimuli in healthy individuals as well as patients who have undergone surgical removal of their amygdala (amygdalectomies). The aim will be to establish whether the amydgala indeed contributes to the rapid processing of the visual stimuli.

  • Evidence has shown that the amygdala is responsible for the rapid detection of threat and emotion. One question that arises is whether this process is a prequisite for attention shifting. This project will investigate the electrical coorelate of attention-shifting in healthy individuals as well as patients who have undergone surgical removal of their amygdala (amygdalectomies). The project aims to determine if amydgala removal affects the automatic shift of attetion towards threatening stimuli..

  • It has been known for some time that different brain regions process stimuli according to whether they are situated in near (peripersonal) or far (extrapersonal) space. Furthermore, evidence has demonstrated the existence of a personal spatial boundary that, when crossed by another individual, creates a sense of discomfort. Using ERP in conjunction with Virtual Reality, this project will examine the brain response to neutral and emotionally expressive faces, as well as trustworthy and untrustworthy faces, situated within or beyond personal space.