Dr Louise Brown Nicholls

Senior Lecturer

Psychology

Personal statement

My research is focused on understanding human memory and attention, and how these cognitive processes are affected by adult ageing, emotion (especially anxiety), and lifestyle factors (such as cognitive engagement). 

I gained my PhD in cognitive ageing at Glasgow Caledonian University in 2007. I then worked as a postdoctoral fellow, first at Glasgow Caledonian and then at The University of Edinburgh, where I worked on European Research Council and Leverhulme Trust-funded research projects. Prior to joining Strathclyde, I was a Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University (2011-2014). Some of my research on cognitive ageing has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

I am Director of the Strathclyde Ageing Network, comprising Strathclyde's multidisciplinary ageing-related researchers and professionals, including the Centre for Lifelong Learning.

I am a Fellow of the Psychonomic Society and the Higher Education Academy, and a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society.

Publications

Anger linked to illness in old age
Brown Nicholls Louise
(2019)
Globalising strategies to meet global challenges : the case of ageing and dementia
Parra Mario A, Butler Stephen, McGeown William J, Brown Nicholls Louise A, Robertson David J
Journal of Global Health (2019)
Multimodal coding and strategic approach in young and older adults' visual working memory performance
Nicholls Louise A Brown, English Brad
Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, pp. 1-45 (2019)
Suffix interference and processing speed effects in young and older adults' visual feature binding
Brown Nicholls Louise, Niven Elaine, Hartley Emma, Mulgrew Aimee, Nemec Martin, Smith Catherine
British Psychological Society Cognitive Section Conference (2018)
Older adults benefit from symmetry, but not semantic availability, in visual working memory
Hamilton Colin J, Brown Louise A, Rossi-Arnaud Clelia
Frontiers in Psychology Vol 8, pp. 1-10 (2018)
https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02373
Language production in Parkinson’s Disease : an investigation into the characteristics and underlying linguistic and cognitive mechanisms
Wagstaff Rebecca, Lowit Anja, Brown Louise, Kuschmann Anja
Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists Conference 2017 (2017)

more publications

Teaching

My teaching is focused in cognition and the psychology of ageing. I am the class leader of the honours topic "psychology and ageing", and I teach in this area in the level 3 Development class. I also supervise undergraduate, masters, and PhD level research. 

Research interests

I am interested in cognitive ability in young and older adults. My research focuses upon understanding short-term ("working") memory and attention mechanisms, with an emphasis on processing and retaining visual information. A current area of focus is upon the ability to associate ("bind") visual information in working memory, and the ways in which this may be affected by ageing. Some of my research in this area has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. I am also interested in how young and older adults can maintain and even improve their cognitive functioning, for example by using cognitive strategies or by considering lifestyle factors such as level of cognitive engagement, nutrition, or exercise.

Professional activities

Speaker at the University of the Third Age, Paisley & District.
Speaker
5/7/2018
Debate on Universal Basic Income
Participant
22/6/2018
Working Memory Discussion Meeting
Organiser
6/2018
Working Memory Discussion Meeting
Speaker
6/2018
Attendance at Scottish Older People's Assembly, Scottish Parliament.
Contributor
23/4/2018
University of Strathclyde:Our Research into Ageing and Intergenerational Engagement
Speaker
18/4/2018

more professional activities

Projects

Information processing in visual perception and ageing
Guest, Duncan (Principal Investigator) Howard, Christina (Co-investigator) Brown Nicholls, Louise (Co-investigator)
Project funded by the School of Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, to investigate visual information processing and visual working memory in younger and older adults.
01-Jan-2012 - 31-Jan-2012
Encoding and interference effects on visual working memory binding in young and older adults
Brown Nicholls, Louise (Principal Investigator) Logie, Robert H. (Co-investigator) Allen, Richard J. (Co-investigator) Niven, Elaine (Fellow)
This Economic and Social Research Council-funded project was aimed at investigating the existence of age-related binding deficits in visual working memory, and to establish the possible role of encoding processes. There were three specific objectives:

1) To determine whether or not encoding time influences binding efficacy in older adults. Experiment 1 was designed to test the hypothesis that older adults' binding memory performance may suffer only when exposed to longer-than-required encoding durations, potentially implicating a central executive deficit.

2) To investigate the effects of presentation format (i.e., simultaneous – all at once – or sequential – one item at a time) and, within the sequential condition, whether serial position effects exist in binding memory performance. Experiment 2 was designed to reveal any difficulties experienced by older adults during the encoding phase of the task, which would have indicated limited central executive and/or working memory storage capacity.

3) To test the theory that older adults are less able than young adults to inhibit irrelevant information from working memory. Experiment 3 was designed to involve the brief presentation of a suffix (a new object irrelevant to the task) immediately after encoding of the to-be-remembered items. If older adults were more affected than young adults, reduced inhibitory processes would be implicated.
01-Jan-2011 - 30-Jan-2012
Optical Imaging Methods in the Study of Visual Cognition
Brown Nicholls, Louise (Principal Investigator)
The Carnegie Trust funded my visit to the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to investigate novel neuroimaging techniques.
01-Jan-2008 - 29-Jan-2008

more projects