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About Gaby Pfeifer

Dr Gaby Pfeifer (CPsychol) is an experimental psychologist with a background in cognitive neuroscience and biological psychology. Gaby is interested in the psychology of aging, memory and emotion regulation.

Gaby joined the School of Social Sciences in July 2018 as Lecturer in Psychology.

Prior to her role at Leeds Beckett, Gaby worked as a Research Fellow in the department of Neuroscience at the Brighton and Sussex Medical. She was awarded her PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience jointly from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School and the University of Sussex in 2015. She also completed an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of York (2011) and holds a first class honours degree in Psychology from the University of Bournemouth (2010).

Gaby’s area of expertise includes the study of human perception, learning and memory. Her research has consistently examined wider influences, such as the effects of aging, individual differences (synaesthesia), personality, and mild cognitive impairment to gain a comprehensive understanding of the cognitive processes and neural representations that underlie memory. During her research fellowship, Gaby further extended her line of research, investigating the brain-body relationship in emotional learning and memory. This work has demonstrated that cardiovascular arousal, and the mere perception of cardiovascular arousal (i.e. interoception), mediate learning and memory of emotional information.

Gaby’s methodological expertise includes behavioural techniques, neuroimaging (fMRI), neuropsychology, electrocardiogram and pharmacological interventions (oxytocin, propranolol).

Gaby has an interest in Career Development and aims to embed career specific knowledge in the curriculum to help prepare students for the workplace. Gaby gives invited talks at events organised by the British Psychological Society and has delivered career-related workshops to students and staff at the University of Sussex. Her work is inspired by psychological theories and focuses on understanding the changing work-life structures in an age of longevity, identifying values to make satisfying career choices, and on empowerment/engagement at work.

Current Teaching

Gaby teaches cognitive and biological psychology on the first year Mind, Brain and Behaviour module, as well as developmental psychology on the first year Growing up in a Social World and second year Lifespan Development modules.

Gaby supervises Undergraduate and Master students conducting research in the areas of Memory and Perception; Emotions; Personality; Interoception; Aging.

Selected Publications

Journal articles (10)

  • Pfeifer G; Ward J; Sigala N (2019), Reduced Visual and Frontal Cortex Activation During Visual Working Memory in Grapheme-Color Synaesthetes Relative to Young and Older Adults. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience
    https://doi.org/10.3389/fnsys.2019.00029
    View Repository Record
  • Betka S; Harris L; Rae C; Palfi B; Pfeifer G; Sequeira H; Duka T; Critchley H (2019), Signatures of alcohol use in the structure and neurochemistry of insular cortex: a correlational study. Psychopharmacology, vol. 236 (9), p. 2579-2591.
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-019-05228-w
    View Repository Record
  • Betka S; Gould van Praag C; Paloyelis Y; Bond R; Pfeifer G; Sequeira H; Duka T; Critchley H (2018), Impact of intranasal oxytocin on interoceptive accuracy in alcohol users: An attentional mechanism?. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, vol. 13
    https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsy027
    View Repository Record
  • Betka S; Pfeifer G; Garfinkel S; Prins H; Bond R; Sequeira H; Duka D; Critchley H (2017), How do self-assessment of alexithymia and sensitivity to bodily sensations relate to alcohol consumption?. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Online, vol. 42
    https://doi.org/10.1111/acer.13542
  • Pfeifer G; Garfinkel S; Gould van Praag C; Sahota K; Betka S; Critchley H (2017), Feedback from the heart: emotional learning and memory is controlled by cardiac cycle, interoceptive accuracy and personality. Biological Psychology, vol. 126
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.04.001
    View Repository Record
  • Pfeifer G; Ward J; Chan D; Sigala N (2016), Representational account of memory: insights from aging and synesthesia. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
    https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_01014
  • Pfeifer G; Rothen N; Ward J; Chan D; Sigala N (2014), Associative memory advantages in grapheme-color synesthetes compared to older, but not young adults. Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 5
    https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00696
    View Repository Record
  • Pfeifer G (2013), The connected brain. Psychologist, vol. 26
  • McDougall SA; Pfeifer G (2012), Personality differences in mental imagery and the effects on verbal memory. British Journal of Psychology, vol. 103
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8295.2011.02094.x
  • Pfeifer G (2009), Factors in food choice. Psychologist, vol. 22

Conference contributions (10)

  • Pfeifer G; Betka S; Gould van Praag C; Garfinkel S; Critchley H (2017) Oxytocin attenuates the perception of cardiac signals and reduces fear learning at systole. Brighton 20170609. : .
    View Repository Record
  • Pfeifer G; Garfinkel S; Gould van Praag C; Critchley H (2016) Feedback processing during emotional learning is controlled by cardiac cycle, interoceptive accuracy and extraversion. Hungary 20160717. : .
    View Repository Record
  • Pfeifer G; Ward J; Chan D; Sigala N (2016) Aging and synaesthesia provide a window into the functions of sensory and higher cortical areas in working memory. Hungary 20160717. : .
    View Repository Record
  • Betka S; Pfeifer G; Garfinkel S; Rae C; Harris L; Sequeira H; Duka T; Critchley H (2016) The insular glutamatergic system in Alexithymia: A combined fMRI and MRS study. Lille, France 20160101. : .
    View Repository Record
  • Betka S; Pfeifer G; Garfinkel S; Eccles J; Gould van Praag C; Sequeira H; Duka T; Critchley H (2016) Interoception and activation in the anterior insula cortex in binge drinkers. York 20160101. : .
    View Repository Record
  • Pfeifer G; Sigala N (2014) Age-related changes in hippocampal-neocortical connectivity during successful associative retrieval. London 20140101. : .
    View Repository Record
  • Sigala N; Ward J; Chan D; Pfeifer G (2014) Comparison of visual working memory maintenance and associative memory retrieval in ageing and synaesthesia. Cambridge 20140101. : .
    View Repository Record
  • Pfeifer G; Sigala N (2014) Brain activity underlying successful memory retrieval: A comparison of young and older adults. Brighton 20140101. : .
    View Repository Record
  • Pfeifer G; Ward J; Rothen N; Sigala N (2013) Cognitive mechanisms in visual associative learning and retrieval: Insights from synaesthesia and old age. Harrogate 20130101. : .
    View Repository Record
  • Pfeifer G; Rothen N; Chan D; Ward J; Sigala N (2012) Visual Associative Memory: Age- and Individual differences during Learning & Retrieval Brighton 20120101. : .
    View Repository Record

Presentations (3)

  • Pfeifer G (2018), Working and Living in an Age of Longevity: Implications for Career Planning at Young and Older Age..
    View Repository Record
  • Pfeifer G (2017), Preparing for a multitrack life career: Working and living in an age of longevity..
    View Repository Record
  • Pfeifer G (2017), Integrating personal values in your job: Transitioning from job desperation to job inspiration..
    View Repository Record

Theses or dissertations (1)

  • Pfeifer G (2015), The Neural Processes Underpinning Visual Associative Memory: A Comparison of Young Grapheme-Colour Synaesthetes, Older Adults and Young Controls..
    View Repository Record
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