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Dr. Heleen Slagter


  • Position
  • Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology
  • Institute
  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam

Cognition and plasticity

The broad objective of my research is to better understand how the brain selects and coordinates information in accord with current goals, and the plasticity of these abilities throughout adulthood



Attention and cognitive plasticity

Part of my research focuses on how the brain pays attention. The brain has a limited capacity to perceive and respond to events in the environment and therefore must pay attention to those that are most important given the person’s goals. This line of research addresses questions like ‘How do we maintain focus in face of distraction?’, ‘Why do we sometimes miss important events?’, and ‘How does being tired influence our ability to concentrate?’.

The second line of my research examines to what extent cognitive abilities, like attention, can be improved through training and other kinds of manipulations. This line of research addresses questions like: ‘Can we improve our ability to focus in face of distraction through computerized cognitive training?’, ‘How does mental training (or meditation) influence brain and cognitive functioning?’, 'Can we use brain stimulation to improve working memory?', and ‘Do horizontal eye movements improve memory?’.