Oskar MacGregor

Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience

School of Bioscience

Contact info

  • Room
  • G1256

My overarching research motivation lies in charting some of the methods required to successfully achieve compelling empirical and theoretical research findings. In particular, I am interested in the myriad ways in which research often fails to deliver just this. In practice, my focus is mostly on (electrophysiological) cognitive neuroscience and (moral) philosophy.

Background

I began my academic path right here in Skövde in 2003, as a student with the Consciousness Studies program. The focus of the program in those days was geared more toward philosophy, and it was within philosophy I continued my subsequent studies, first with a BPhil degree (a two-year Master's) from the University of Oxford in 2009, and then with a PhD degree from Swansea University in 2013.

Throughout this time, I kept in close contact with the department, teaching the odd course in logic or philosophy of science from 2006 onward, and distance-supervising Bachelor's theses from 2008 onward. At the same time, I also maintained my personal academic interest in cognitive neuroscience, looking in particular at ways in which empirical evidence from the field could be used to support or challenge various positions and arguments within different philosophical discussions.

I have now been a full-time senior lecturer in cognitive neuroscience at the department since spring 2013. I see great potential in our subject combination and the possible research topics emanating from it. I also see significant promise in our MSc programme (launched in 2011), and - as its Program Director - I look forward to helping establish it as a highly competitive and prestigious degree within the world of cognitive neuroscience.

Research

Although my research interests have varied somewhat from year to year, I find myself continually gravitating toward methodological concerns. When I am doing cognitive neuroscience, I am usually more interested in the limitations and restrictions imposed by the technologies adopted for the research than I am in the research topic itself. Likewise, when I am doing philosophy, I am usually more interested in what makes a position or argument work than in the content of the position or argument itself. I guess you could say that meta-cog-neuro and meta-philosophy intrigue me more than the regular subjects!

As a result, and perhaps not surprisingly, I am a keen follower of the growing literature on the various different ways in which research findings (often) reflect individual biases, systemic structural issues, and widespread misapplication of available (e.g. technological and statistical) tools.

What sort of actual topics do I apply these concerns to? It varies, but at the moment the list includes the following (subject to change, of course):

  • Electrophysiological correlates of error awareness
  • Electrophysiological correlates of emotionally salient face processing
  • Frontal alpha asymmetry
  • Anti-doping regulations in elite sport - both its ethical contours and its applicability as a model for facilitating less error-prone research findings
  • Moral behavior - causes and effects

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