Dr. Graham Pluck
Minds, Brains, & Internationalism

Pluck Lab

My Lab is focused on clinical cognitive sciences research. We combine knowledge from cognitive and neurosciences to applied contexts, particularly clinical issues. The lab is currently based in the Faculty of Psychology at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. It was previously based at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), in Ecuador, and was part of the Institute of Neurosciences, which I also directed.

Founded in May 2014, the lab has provided research opportunities for numerous local research students as well as interns who came for research experience from the USA and Europe. Indeed, the lab has always been very diverse, with guests from Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, the USA, etc. The lab also organizes academic seminars throughout the academic semesters. These ‘Brain Meetings’ bring guest scientists to the Lab to present their research, and these have been similarly international. Over the years we have hosted presenters from many renowned research institutes including. University of Oxford, Harvard University Medical School, University of Geneva, University of Tehran, and Heidelberg University, as well as local researchers presenting on a wide range of topics in psychology and brain sciences. A list of past Brain Meetings organized by the lab can be viewed here.

The research focus is primarily behavioral, using established and experimental tests of cognitive function. Data collected at the lab has been published in journals such as Child Neuropsychology, Applied Neuropsychology: Child, International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, eNeurologicalSci, and British Journal of Developmental Psychology. The lab’s work is focused on understanding cognitive and social-cognitive function in clinical contexts and in the real world. The lab’s three principal lines of research are:

How variation in brain and cognitive functions relate to socioeconomic deprivation/privilege.
This includes studies of homeless adults, street-connected youth, and how socioeconomic gradients influence cognitive test performance. Language skill is an important topic in this field, and how it relates to other cognitive factors such as general intelligence, memory, and executive function. This line of research provides important information on how society functions, or perhaps, should function.

Neurobehavioral and cognitive predictors of achievement.
This includes using standard tests of intelligence, executive functions, and biological traits (such as hand preference), to predict real-life performance in challenging environments (such as in school, college, or the workplace). This provides important information about how the human mind produces high-level organization of behavior, and has multiple practical implications, such as in educational and organizational psychology. 

Development and validation of cognitive assessments for use in with non-WEIRD populations.
Most neuropsychological and cognitive function tests are not validated for used in non-WEIRD contexts (i.e., Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic; Henrich et al., 2010). This limits the ability of clinicians to detect and measure impairments. We therefore provide this test development, which helps our own research, as well as contributing to research, clinical, and educational work in the country. Some of these tests are available to download on this website, on the Tests page. 

However, we are usually flexible, and have recently collaborated on other studies including in computer science and education. If you’d like to discuss a research idea, please feel free to message me via the Contact page

Henrich, J., Heine, S. J., & Norenzayan, A. (2010). The weirdest people in the world?. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33(2-3), 61-83.