Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Psychological and neuroscientific aspects of cognition

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.09.00  Social sciences  Psychology   
3.03.00  Medical sciences  Neurobiology   

Code Science Field
S260  Social sciences  Psychology 

Code Science Field
5.01  Social Sciences  Psychology and cognitive sciences 
3.01  Medical and Health Sciences  Basic medicine 
cognition, cognitive control, cognitive neuroscience, neurophysiology, neurodegenerative disease, plasticity, cognitive enhancement, cognitive training, experimental psychology, individual differences, personality, motivation, emotions, subjective well-being, microgenetic approach
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on July 17, 2024; A3 for period 2018-2022
Data for ARIS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender , archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  361  6,318  6,027  16.7 
Scopus  394  7,497  7,105  18.03 
Researchers (21)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  50536  Lea Alič  Psychology  Junior researcher  2019 - 2024  10 
2.  18463  PhD Andreja Avsec  Psychology  Researcher  2019 - 2024  295 
3.  33621  PhD Jurij Bon  Psychiatry  Researcher  2019 - 2024  172 
4.  09182  PhD Valentin Bucik  Psychology  Researcher  2019 - 2024  654 
5.  37645  PhD Jure Demšar  Computer science and informatics  Researcher  2019  87 
6.  28624  PhD Milica Gregorič Kramberger  Neurobiology  Researcher  2019 - 2024  259 
7.  13425  PhD Darja Kobal Grum  Psychology  Researcher  2019 - 2024  640 
8.  24437  PhD Luka Komidar  Psychology  Researcher  2019 - 2024  150 
9.  50304  Aleksij Kraljič  Neurobiology  Technical associate  2019 - 2024  15 
10.  38946  Andraž Matkovič  Neurobiology  Technical associate  2019 - 2024  53 
11.  06835  PhD Sonja Pečjak  Psychology  Researcher  2019 - 2024  848 
12.  10811  PhD Cirila Peklaj  Social sciences  Researcher  2019 - 2024  417 
13.  31278  PhD Tina Pirc  Social sciences  Researcher  2020 - 2024  125 
14.  18919  PhD Anja Podlesek  Psychology  Head  2019 - 2024  542 
15.  37389  PhD Veronika Rutar Gorišek  Neurobiology  Researcher  2019 - 2024  46 
16.  36162  PhD Anka Slana Ozimič  Neurobiology  Technical associate  2019  127 
17.  15062  PhD Matija Svetina  Psychology  Researcher  2019 - 2024  363 
18.  54650  Andreja Špeh  Neurobiology  Junior researcher  2020 - 2024  13 
19.  58155  Taja Vidonja  Psychology  Junior researcher  2023 - 2024 
20.  39636  PhD Gaja Zager Kocjan  Psychology  Researcher  2019 - 2024  120 
21.  28100  PhD Gregor Žvelc  Psychology  Researcher  2019 - 2024  309 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  98,876 
2.  0312  University Medical Centre Ljubljana  Ljubljana  5057272000  77,929 
The topic of the research program is cognition in health and disease and its enhancement. The program studies cognitive functioning and interpersonal differences in cognitive abilities of normative populations in different periods of life (during formal education, adulthood, and in the elderly) and cognitive functioning in patients with neurodegenerative diseases. The main goal of the program is to determine the extent to which cognitive functioning can be improved and what characteristics of cognitive enhancement will result in the best effects, taking into account the individual characteristics that influence the effectiveness of enhancement.   The main interest of the program is the psychological interventions of cognitive enhancement, such as cognitive training, strategy training, and mindfulness training. The program develops new interventions of cognitive enhancement that take into account recent findings in the field of cognitive science, and evaluates their effects on cognitive functioning and non-cognitive variables, e.g. quality of life. It examines the macro-changes resulting from a certain intervention, but also monitors the micro-changes occurring during the intervention, in order to contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms of cognitive enhancement.   The studies mostly find positive effects of cognitive enhancement, but the effects are usually limited to the trained cognitive function. The limited effects of cognitive enhancement could be due to interpersonal differences in responsiveness to cognitive enhancement. In evaluating the effectiveness of cognitive enhancement, the program examines the relation between the effectiveness of interventions and the individual characteristics of the trained persons, and the factors that promote or inhibit enhancement.   Supporting activities in studying the central research problem are the study of the basic characteristics and mechanisms of various cognitive processes and the development of new methods of measuring them, the study of relationships between different cognitive functions, and the study of interpersonal differences in cognitive functioning and the relation between cognition and other psychological constructs. The program combines psychological and neuroscientific experimental research with correlational and qualitative research, and uses triangulation of methods for measuring cognitive processes. This approach enables a better understanding of the cognitive functions studied and their modification with interventions.
Significance for science
The research program contributes new fundamental knowledge in the field of cognitive psychology and neuroscience. It contributes to our understanding of different cognitive processes - visual attention, working memory, cognitive control, metacognition, learning, problem solving, etc. - and relationships between them. It also provides new insights about the factors that contribute to cognitive processes, namely, emotions and their regulation, motivation, personality, self-concept, psychological well-being, and the relation between cognitive processes and such non-cognitive constructs.   The multidisciplinary approach in studying the research problem (linking psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry), the use of different research strategies for the observation and explanation of cognitive processes (experimental, correlational, phenomenological approach), triangulation of methods for measuring cognitive processes (behavioral measures, neurophysiological measures, physiological measures, self-reports) and the study of interpersonal differences in combination with intraindividual changes provide a more comprehensive insight into cognitive processes and their enhancement. Such an integrated approach enables a better understanding of interpersonal differences in cognitive functioning and the fundamental mechanisms of change during psychological cognitive enhancement interventions and the outcomes of these interventions. By combining approaches from differential psychology with experimental and qualitative approach, the research program contributes to the construction of a new paradigm to the study of cognitive processes.   The program links basic and applied research. The development of theoretical models of mechanisms of cognitive processes and cognitive enhancement is closely intertwined with the development and practical application of cognitive enhancement interventions and with testing their effects in practice in different normative groups and groups that experience problems in cognitive functioning, e.g. pupils with special needs, elderly people, neurological patients. Developed psychological cognitive enhancement interventions and instruments for assessing cognitive functioning will be useful in various fields of psychological practice: in education, healthcare, social welfare, sport, economy, and elsewhere.
Significance for the country
In the general public, there is an increasing interest of individuals to improve their cognitive abilities and increase their (working) efficiency and subjective well-being, as well as the interest of work organizations to increase the efficiency of employees. Social needs and commercial interests have led to the creation and use of numerous ad hoc intervention programs for cognitive enhancement without a clear scientific basis. Expensive trainings are available on the market, for which there is not enough empirical evidence of effectiveness. The trainings are partial, they train one or a limited set of cognitive functions, use tasks that do not have a satisfactory ecological validity and therefore have no major effects on the daily functioning of the trained individuals and the quality of their life. Empirical research in this field is too fragmented, it has a number of methodological weaknesses, it is not supported well with theories about mechanisms of cognitive processes, and does not contribute to the development of such theories.   The aim of the research program is to develop causal models of interpersonal differences in the responsiveness to psychological cognitive enhancement interventions and to enable the development of personalized interventions that would show far transfer and larger and longer-lasting effects, promote general cognitive functioning and functioning in everyday life, and contribute to a higher quality of life. With the use of cognitive enhancement interventions we want to help various groups of people to be as successful and productive as possible in their everyday life.   Developed intervention programs or products that would prove effective could be used by institutions and work organizations as a way of developing human resources or by individuals for individual (home) use. They would contribute to greater productivity of individuals, maintenance of "cognitive fitness" in older employees and economic competitiveness of work organizations. They would help the elderly maintain cognitive abilities at the highest possible level in order to have the highest possible quality of life and maintain autonomy, which would consequently lead to lower costs for health and social services. Similarly, in neurological patients or patients with brain damage, early detection of cognitive impairments and the use of cognitive enhancement interventions can help prevent the development of mental distress and disorders, such as depression and anxiety, and can help patients in coping with illness, integration into society, returning to work, or training for alternative employment. The effects of cognitive enhancement interventions are reflected directly in the quality of life of the patients and their caregivers and indirectly in lower economic costs for the society.
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