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Games for the Brain

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  • UserProfessor Barbara Sahakian, University of Cambridge
  • ClockFriday 19 February 2016, 17:30-18:30
  • HouseLMH, Lady Mitchell Hall.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Janet Gibson.


There is nothing more important than good brain health and wellbeing throughout our lives. Yet while many people are concerned with their physical health and utilise wearable tech and mobile devises to monitor their exercise, steps, heart rate etc, we are not yet using technology to enhance our brain health and wellbeing. In this lecture, I will discuss how neuroscientists can work together with other experts in game development, IT and computing to develop enjoyable games for enhancing cognition, such as memory. In addition, I will discuss how we can use games to improve cognition, motivation and the ability to function in daily life for people with neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia. Everyone likes to play games, so why not play one that is fun and good for your brain?


Barbara J Sahakian is Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at the University of Cambridge Department of Psychiatry and MRC /Wellcome Trust Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute. She is also an Honorary Clinical Psychologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. She holds a PhD and a DSc from the University of Cambridge. She is President of the International Neuroethics Society, Past-President of the British Association for Psychopharmacology and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Sahakian is also a Member of the International Expert Jury for the 2017 Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung Prize. She is a member of ACNP , CINP Council and ECNP Review Board and a member of the Human Brain Project. She is co-author of ‘Bad Moves: How decision making goes wrong and the ethics of smart drugs’ (Oxford University Press, 2013) and co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics (OUP, 2011).

Sahakian has an international reputation in the fields of psychopharmacology, neuropsychology, neuropsychiatry, neuroimaging and neuroethics. She is perhaps best known for her work on ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ cognitive deficits in depression and early detection and early treatment with cholinesterase inhibitors in Alzheimer’s disease. She has over 390 publications in high impact scientific journals. The ISI Web of Science database credits her with a Hirsch (h) index of 102, with some publications having over 300 citations. Sahakian co-invented the neuropsychological CANTAB tests. She serves as a Senior Consultant to Cambridge Cognition, a University of Cambridge spin-out that provides CANTAB ( She is also a Consultant for Peak (Brainbow) ( Sahakian has contributed to Neuroscience and Mental Health Government Policy and has spoken on resilience, brain health, neuroscience and mental health at the World Economic Forum, Davos, 2014. She was also a finalist for a World Technology Award 2014 under the category of ‘Health and Medicine’. She is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Brain Research.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Lecture Series series.

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