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James Danckert

Professor; Cognitive Neuroscience Research Area Head

Head shot of Dr. James DanckertBA (Melbourne University, Australia), MA, PhD (La Trobe University, Australia)

Contact information

Neurological Patient Database website

Danckert Attention Group website

Danckert Google Scholar Page

Former Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Cognitive Neuroscience

Recipient, 2007 Outstanding Performance Award

Recipient, 40 Under 40 Award, Region of Waterloo 

Research interests

My research group maintains three distinct foci: First, we explore the function of right inferior parietal cortex in the control of attention. Damage to this brain region often leads to neglect – a disorder in which the patient behaves as if the left half of the world has ceased to exist. Most current models of neglect suggest it arises due to impaired orienting of spatial attention. Our work goes beyond this to suggest that these patients fail to develop and update accurate mental representations of their environment. Our second research focus is related and explores the efficacy of rehabilitation techniques in neglect. We initially focused on prism adaptation and showed that while prisms improve some aspects of neglect (overt and covert attention shift more readily into left space) there are other perceptual biases that remain unchanged. We are now focusing on working memory training as a rehabilitation approach for neglect. Finally, our lab explores the cognitive and neural correlates of boredom. We recently showed that the often demonstrated relationship between boredom and depression is exaggerated in individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries. Furthermore, these individuals have a strong need for stimulation from the external environment – a need that they fail to satisfy, leading to an aggressively dissatisfying experience of boredom. The lab makes use of behavioural, psychophysiological and neuroimaging techniques to study these questions in healthy individuals, stroke patients and individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.

 Funding sources:

  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
  • HSF
  • ERA

 Selected publications

  • Stöttinger, E., Filipowicz, A., Marandi, E., Quehl, N., Danckert, J., & Anderson, B. (2014). Statistical and Perceptual Updating: correlated impairments in right brain injury. Experimental Brain Research.
  • Filipowicz, A., Anderson, B., & Danckert, J. (2013). Learning what from where: Effects of spatial regularity on nonspatial sequence learning and updating. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
  • Goldberg, Y., & Danckert, J. (2013) Traumatic brain injury, boredom and depression. Behavioural Sciences, 3, 434–444; doi:10.3390/bs3030434.
  • Merrifield, C., & Danckert, J. (2013) Characterising the psychophysiological signature of boredom. Experimental Brain Research.
  • Danckert, J., Stöttinger, E., & Anderson, B. (2012). Neglect as a disorder of representational updating. NOVA Open Access Publishers.
  • Danckert, J., Stöttinger, E., Quehl, N., & Anderson, B. (2012). Right hemisphere damage impairs strategy updating. Cerebral Cortex, 22:2745 – 2760.
  • Danckert, J., Ferber, S., Goodale, M. A. (2008) Direct effects of prismatic lenses on visuomotor control: An event-related functional MRI study. European Journal of Neuroscience. 28, 1696-1704.
  • Danckert, J., Ferber, S., Pun, C., Broderick, C., Striemer, C., Rock, S. and Stewart. D. (2007). Neglected time: Impaired temporal perception of multisecond intervals in unilateral neglect. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 19 (10), 1706-1720.
  • Danckert, J., & Ferber, S. (2006) Revisiting unilateral neglect. Neuropsychologia, 44. 987 – 1006.
  • Danckert, J., Revol, P., Pisella, L., Vighetto, A., Goodale, M., & Rossetti, Y. (2003) Measuring unconscious actions: Exploring the kinematics of pointing movements to targets in the blind field of two patients with hemianopia. Neuropsychologia, 41, 1068 - 101.

 Graduate course

Psych 783: Neuroimaging and Cognition

The first section of this course (~ 3 to 4 lectures worth) will introduce you to the fundamental aspects of functional MRI both in terms of the physics involved and the issues surrounding design and analysis (some comparison with other brain imaging techniques such as VEPs, TMS, PET etc. will also be covered). The second section intends to explore how fMRI can illuminate our models of various aspects of cognition, including attention, vision, language, memory and learning, executive functions, emotion and if time permits, various neuropathologies.

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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