Lab Staff

Simon DurrantSimon Durrant

Principal Investigator

Originally a musician, I received my BA in Music from the University of Durham. I followed this with an MA and a PhD in the Psychology of Music from the University of Sheffield, focusing on the perception of musical metre. After a post-doc year in Ohio, I returned to the UK and student life by taking an MSc in Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems and following this with a DPhil in Computational Neuroscience, both at the University of Sussex. Having finally satiated the student in me, I was a Research Fellow at the University of Plymouth investigating the Neuroscience of Music, and then a Research Associate at the University of Manchester where I first got involved in cognitive sleep research. I joined the University of Lincoln in July 2011.

As a cognitive neuroscientist and chartered psychologist, my research covers three quite distinct areas: sleep, music, computational neuroscience. My research has been funded by the BBSRC, EPSRC, and the BPS, as well as various universities.

I am interested in the benefit of sleep for cognition, memory and insight; I was a founder member of the sleep lab the University of Manchester, and I am the founding director of the Sleep and Cognition Laboratory (SaC) here in Lincoln. My sleep research has combined polysomnography with fMRI to help understand how the brain reorganises itself while you‘re asleep. I also engage in health-related sleep research, including the side effects of sleeping tablets used in the treatment of insomnia.

As well as sleep, I am interested in the psychology and neuroscience of music, the cognition of tonality, and the perception of musical meter. I am currently investigating parallels between music and spoken language, and statistical learning in music.

While most of my research has involved behavioural, polysomnographic and neuroimaging experiments, I am also an experienced computational modeller and retain an active interest in computational modelling, both with artificial neural networks but also with more realistic neural models such as Hodgkin-Huxley neurons. I am particularly interested in how apparently random fluctuations in neural firing can in fact be beneficial for neural signal processing.



Marcus HarringtonMarcus Harrington

PhD Student

Whilst studying for my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology I focused most prominently on the link between affective state and cognitive function, taking a particular interest in the neuroscience which underpins this connection. In my PhD I will explore the interaction between REM sleep and emotional memory consolidation; and the role that this may play in the aetiology of depression. Working within the sleep lab will introduce me to new investigative techniques which will allow me to explore this three-way relationship in the interest of improving the understanding and treatment of depression and other mood disorders.


Jen Johnson
Jennifer Johnson

Senior Research Assistant

Having always had a keen interest in the interactions between sleep and biological rhythms as well as the neuroscience involved in the cognitive processes underlying sleep and how this relates to sleep disorders, I’m eager at the prospect of developing my understanding, and thankful for the opportunity since I was a second year psychology undergraduate; I am now an MSc student.




Peter GoodwinPeter Goodwin

Research Assistant

I am in the final year of single honours psychology at Lincoln. My main interest lies in the workings of the visual system so I am especially grateful for this opportunity and its chances to study perceptual phenomena such as dreams. I also look forward to expanding my current knowledge on sleep and cognition as a whole, believing that findings from these two elements of psychology have a numerous array of applications to everyday settings.




Agata MarcanteAgata Marcante

Research Assistant

I am a final year Psychology with Clinical Psychology undergraduate. What particularly interests me about sleep is its function and impact on our daily lives, and, more specifically, the role of dreaming within this. I am thankful for this opportunity and I am looking forward to collaborate with the Sleep and Cognition Lab team while learning new skills and expanding my knowledge.



Caroline ParishCaroline Parish

Research Assistant

As a current final year psychology student I feel very privileged to be part of the Sleep and Cognition Lab team and have the opportunity to learn more about the psychology of sleep. As a Clinical Psychology student I have a particular interest in the role of sleep and biological rhythms in mental health and disorders. I am greatly looking forward to expanding my knowledge in this area and gaining practical skills for the future.



Ashleigh SimpsonAshleigh Simpson

Research Assistant

The psychology of sleep is a fascinating area of research and as a BSc Psychology Undergraduate, I hope to develop my knowledge within this field. I look forward to gaining experience using the equipment within the Sleep Lab and am excited at the prospect of being able to assist with future research.



Tom MarriottTom Marriott

Research Assistant

My first exposure to the psychology and cognition of sleep was during a research skills 2 project in my second year. Our study looked into the effect of sleep quality and duration on emotional recognition, to which we found people with poorer sleep quality and shorter sleep duration were worse at determining the emotion displayed by a person’s facial expression. This project put me in contact with Marcus Harrington who subsequently offered to supervise me with my third year dissertation on a project investigating the impact of sleep on memory consolidation. During this project i am looking forward to developing experience using the equipment in the Sleep Lab and i am keen to be able to help with research projects in the future.



Beth BrownBeth Brown

Research Assistant

Studying for my BSc Psychology with Clinical Psychology has introduced me to the research area of sleep. I find myself to be particularly interested in its interaction with emotion and memory. I’m certain that the knowledge I gain as a Research Assistant will provide me with a solid foundation for my future pursuits in all areas. I am pleased to have the opportunity to develop my knowledge and skills in this area whilst furthering my studies at the University of Lincoln.



Stacy SmalesStacy Smales

Research Assistant

I am currently a second year psychology undergraduate at the University of Lincoln. I’m extremely interested in sleep research and understanding the idea behind sleep and dreaming, of how and why dreams occur and how different mental illnesses, such as depression can have an impact on our sleeping cycle. I’m very excited about the opportunity to help out with upcoming research and feel like I will benefit from this massively.



Hannah MilgateHannah Milgate

Research Assistant

After being introduced to the topic of sleep disorders whilst studying for my psychology with clinical psychology degree I have become fascinated with the subject of sleep. I am particularly interested in the effect that sleep has on mental health and on our everyday lives. The experience and insight I will gain as a research assistant is something that I feel will be invaluable for both my future studies and the development of my knowledge and I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity.

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