PhD in Psychology Boosting Creativity Through Sleep Engineering

Applicants are invited to apply for a PhD scholarship in computer science at Cardiff University. Applications should be sent before March 17, 2019.

We spend one third of our life asleep, and the brain is very busy during this time. The neural oscillations of sleep have known restorative functions, and are also critical for memory consolidation and emotional processing.

The NAPS research group studies all of these functions of sleep. Potential PhD projects include investigations into ways to manipulate sleep (called 'sleep engineering') in order to enhance all of these functions.

Sleep engineering involves both manipulation of oscillations through auditory and electrical (tACS / tDCS) stimulation and manipulation of memory replay (targeted memory reactivation) in sleep. See the TEDx talk for an easy introduction.

In the NAPS lab, we are interested in enhancing sleep to improve health (for instance by counteracting the impacts of ageing which lead to reductions in deep slow wave sleep). We are also interested in manipulating memory consolidation by triggering the replay of selected memories in different combinations and in different sleep stages. This can lead not only to stronger memory, but to integration of new memories with each other and with existing knowledge, providing a basis for creativity.

Many of our projects would be appropriate for students with a Psychology or Cognitive Neurological background, but we also have two projects that would be appropriate for a computer scientist (a student with both backgrounds would be great).

An example of a Computer Science project involves identification of neural replay during sleep using multivariate pattern classifiers. This is a very exciting area, as we have developed the first method for noninvasive identification of these replays in humans, and we are hoping to extend/improve this work.


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