Dr Zara Bergström

Programme Director Cognitive Psychology/Neuropsychology MSc,
Assistant Lecturer Coordinator
+44 (0)1227 827507
Dr Zara Bergström


Dr Zara Bergström is a Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology and Deputy Head of School. She is a member of the Cognition and Neuroscience Research group, and she teaches on a number of cognitive and neuroscience modules.

Research interests

Zara's research investigates the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying long-term memory, with particular focus on memory retrieval control, forgetting, and memory distortions.

She uses a combination of behavioural and cognitive neuroscience techniques (primarily EEG) to address questions such as:

  • Can retrieval induce updating of existing memories?
  • Is memory retrieval under voluntary control, and if so, what are the implications for tests that use markers of memory as evidence of criminal guilt?
  • What are the neurocognitive mechanisms that enable people to stop unwanted retrieval?
  • What are the effects of healthy ageing on retrieval processes, retrieval-induced updating, and memory detection?


Zara teaches on and convenes a number of cognitive psychology/neuroscience modules at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including:

  • PSYC5660: Cognition in Action (convenor)
  • PSYC8500: Advanced Cognitive Neuroscience Techniques in Practice (convenor)


Zara is happy to consider supervision of research projects that are closely related to her area of expertise in cognitive neuroscience of memory (see publications). Please contact Zara directly to discuss potential supervision of PhD or postdoctoral projects.

Current PhD students:

  • Chloe Brunskill: (ESRC-funded 1+3 PhD student): How does counterfactual imagination produce memory distortions across ages?

Past PhD students:

  • Akul Satish (PhD, 2021): An investigation of our ability to control unwanted autobiographical memories of past morally relevant actions: EEG and behavioural evidence.
  • Louisa Salhi (PhD, 2021): Factors that affect incidental encoding during recognition attempts: effects of reward, retrieval processes and ageing.
  • Sapna Gupta (MSc-R, 2021): Is face recognition biased by unintentional recognition of distracting information?
  • Matthew Plummer (PhD, 2020): Recognition-induced updating of face memories: behavioural and electrophysiological evidence.
  • John Allen (MSc-R, 2019): Distraction by unintentional recognition: Neurocognitive mechanisms and effects of aging.
  • Phot Dhammapeera (PhD, 2019): Memory distortion via imagination: neural correlates and forensic applications.


Grants and Awards

2018Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant (Co-I)£192,118
2018Experimental Psychology Society Workshop Grant (PI)£4030
2017Faculty of Social Sciences Research Grant (PI)£4870
2016Public Engagement with Research Grant (PI)£900
2016Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant (PI)£191,067
2013Experimental Psychology Society Workshop Grant (Co-I)£3500
2013Experimental Psychology Society Small Grant (PI)£2500
2013Faculty of Social Sciences Research Grant (PI)£2490

Ad hoc Reviewer

Zara regularly reviews for cognitive neuroscience/psychology journals, and has reviewed for over 30 different journals in the past. She also reviews grants for funding bodies including the MRC, BBSRC, ESRC, and more.

Professional Memberships

  • British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental Psychology Society
  • Psychonomic Society
Last updated