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Professor of Cognitive-Neuroscience , Department of Psychology, Northumbria University, Newcastle

Prof. Riby began his academic life studying for a PhD at Bristol University in experimental psychology on the topic of attentional control and multi-tasking in ageing. He then moved on to Stirling University to obtain his post-doctoral training in the use of multimodal brain imaging in the investigation of human memory. This early work was influential in driving his interest in the use of mixed methodology (behavioural, neuropsychological and imaging) to explore some of the critical research challenges in the field of gerontology. For instance, a programme of work is using brain imaging techniques (EEG and fMRI) to examine self-generated thought and mind-wandering patterns across the lifespan. The research examines how differences in brain network connectivity in ageing between temporal and prefrontal brain regions predicts positive impacts on behaviour (e.g. creativity; problem-solving; positive aspects of self-reflection). Beyond fundamental science, his intervention work aims to use what we have learnt in the lab to build novel and engaging programmes to encourage the use of untapped brain resources, promoting enhanced mental performance and wellbeing as we grow older. Prof. Riby’s work overall aims to lead theoretical and methodological development of successful and less successful ageing (e.g. diabetes; dementia) with the emphasis that decline is not inevitable. Further interests include the nutritional neurosciences, cognitive neuroscience of mindfulness/meditation and the link between mindful running and psychological wellbeing. More recently, Prof. Riby is conducting a series of behavioural and neuroscience investigations on music's potential to heal the mind.


  • 2011–2023
    Professor Cognitive Neuroscience, Northumbria University