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Department of Psychology


Jon Simons is a cognitive neuroscientist who leads a research programme seeking to understand the brain regions involved in human memory.

After studying Psychology at the University of Aberdeen, Jon undertook a PhD at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, before moving to a post-doctoral position at Harvard University. On returning to the UK, he took up a senior research fellowship at UCL, followed by a move back to Cambridge, where he is now Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and principal investigator in the Memory Laboratory at the Department of Psychology. The laboratory's research has been funded by support from UKRI (BBSRC, ESRC, and MRC) and from a number of charitable organisations (Isaac Newton Trust, James S. McDonnell Foundation, Leverhulme Trust, Mental Health Research UK, Rosetrees Trust, and Wellcome Trust).

Jon has published more than 100 papers in top-ranking international journals, and has held positions on editorial boards (e.g., Science magazine's open access section, Science Advances) and funding panels (e.g., BBSRC). His work has been recognised with the Experimental Psychology Society EPS Prize, a James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award, the Memory Disorders Research Society Laird Cermak Award, and Fellowship of the Royal Society of Biology and the Association for Psychological Science.

In January 2020, Jon was appointed Deputy Head of the School of Biological Sciences.  His work for the School involves the strategic development of cross-Departmental research initiatives aimed at enhancing interdisciplinary interactions, including the School-wide Research Themes. He also has a strong interest in efforts to improve the research culture, such as in widening participation, increasing the diversity of those in leadership roles, empowering early-career researchers and professional services staff, and exploring opportunities for institutional incentivisation of open research practices.


My research investigates the cognitive and brain mechanisms responsible for the subjective experience of remembering, and how we use mental experiences to make sense of the world. This work involves inter-relating cognitive hypotheses with evidence from functional neuroimaging of healthy volunteers and from examining the effects of neurological and psychiatric disorders, and normal aging, on memory abilities.

I provide commercial consultancy to address problems faced by companies, governmental groups, charities and NGOs.


Key publications: 

Simons, J.S., Ritchey, M., & Fernyhough, C. (2022). Brain mechanisms underlying the subjective experience of remembering. Annual Review of Psychology, 73, 159-186.

Humphreys, G.F., Lambon-Ralph, M.A., & Simons, J.S. (2021). A unifying account of angular gyrus contributions to episodic and semantic cognition. Trends in Neurosciences, 44, 452-463.

Richter, F.R., Bays, P.M., Jeyarathnarajah, P., & Simons, J.S. (2019). Flexible updating of dynamic knowledge structures. Scientific Reports, 9, 2272.

Bonnici, H.M, Cheke, L.G., Green, D.A.E., FitzGerald, T.H.B., & Simons, J.S. (2018). Specifying a causal role for angular gyrus in autobiographical memory. Journal of Neuroscience, 38, 10438-10443.

Simons, J.S., Garrison, J.R., & Johnson, M.K. (2017). Brain mechanisms of reality monitoring. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 21, 462-473.

Richter, F.R.*, Cooper, R.A.*, Bays, P., & Simons, J.S. (2016). Distinct neural mechanisms underlie the success, precision, and vividness of episodic memory. eLife, 5, e18260. (* joint first-authors)

Garrison, J.R., Fernyhough, C., McCarthy-Jones, S., Haggard, M., ASRB, & Simons, J.S. (2015). Paracingulate sulcus morphology is associated with hallucinations in the human brain. Nature Communications, 6, 8956.


(see full publication list)

Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience
Deputy Head of the School of Biological Sciences
Fellow, Emmanuel College

Contact Details

jss30 @
Office phone: 33566
Person keywords: 
executive function
human memory
Takes PhD students
Available for consultancy