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Department of Psychology


My work aims to understand the role of learning and experience in enabling humans of all ages to translate sensory experience into complex decisions and adaptive behaviours. Adaptive cognitive abilities are critical for survival and social interactions, yet extracting meaning from the complex, and frequently ambiguous, input of the natural world is a computationally demanding task that is far from understood. I address this challenge through an interdisciplinary approach that combines behavioural paradigms with multimodal brain imaging (MRI, EEG, MEG, TMS) and state-of-the-art computational methods. I apply these techniques to study the young and ageing brain and understand learning and cortical plasticity across the lifespan.


  • learning and brain plasticity
  • visual perception and cognition
  • cognitive ageing
  • brain imaging
  • computational neuroscience


Key publications: 

Kuai S, Levi D, Kourtzi Z (2013). Learning optimizes decision templates in the ventral visual cortex, Current Biology, 23, 1799-804.

Kuai S, Kourtzi Z (2013). Learning to see, but not discriminate visual forms is impaired in aging. Psychological Science, 24, 412-22.

Mayhew SD, Li S, Kourtzi Z (2012). Learning acts on distinct processes form visual form perception in the human brain. J Neuroscience, 32, 775-86.

Kourtzi Z, Connor E (2011). Neural representations for object perception: structure, category and adaptive coding. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 34, 45-67.

Zhang J, Kourtzi Z (2010). Learning-dependent plasticity with and without training in the human brain. PNAS, 107,13503-8.

Li S, Mayhew S D, Kourtzi Z (2009). Learning shapes the representation of behavioral choice in the human brain, Neuron, 62, 441-52.

Professor of Experimental Psychology
Deputy Head (Research)

Contact Details

+44 (0)1223 (7)66558
Not available for consultancy