Portrait of Dr Zara Bergström

Dr Zara Bergström

Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology
Research Participation Scheme Coordinator


Dr Zara Bergström is a Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology and Research Participation Scheme coordinator. 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 and fMRI) to address questions such as:

  • 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?
  • Can retrieval attempts enhance learning of new information and updating of existing memories?
  • What are the effects of healthy ageing on retrieval processes, retrieval-induced learning and memory updating?


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

  • PSYC6050 Cognitive Psychology (lecturer)
  • PSYC5660 Cognition in Action (convenor)
  • PSYC8500 Advanced Cognitive Neuroscience Techniques in Practice (convenor)

As coordinator of the Research Participation Scheme (RPS), she also convenes the core Stage 1 and Stage 2 RPS modules (PSYC3130 and PSYC5880).


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

Current PhD/MSc-R Students

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

Completed PhD/MSc-R supervision

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sapna Gupta (MSc-R, 2021): Is face recognition biased by unintentional recognition of distracting information?


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 have 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
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