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The Neuropolitics Research Lab produces transdisciplinary research, utilizing developments in the cognitive neurosciences, to shed new light on political attitudes, identities and decision-behaviours. Our aim is to test the utility of methods more typically associated with neuroscience, informatics and cognitive psychology in helping us to understand more about political attitudes and behaviours.

Our neuropolitics research is produced in collaboration with colleagues from the social sciences, psychology, informatics and the brain imaging centres at the University of Edinburgh. We also work closely with colleagues from other Universities at home and abroad as well as with partners in industry.

Our group uses a range of experimental approaches, including fMRI brain scanning, survey experiments, behavioural games, face-emotion coding, eye-tracking and physiological hormone testing as well as big data analysis, to explore the mind–brain–action nexus in political and policy context.

We are currently running a series of fMRI brain scanning, face-emotion coding and eye-tracking experiments. If you are interested in participating in our research, we are always looking for healthy volunteers. Please email (fMRI) Sujin Hong at or (face emotion coding/eye tracking) Robin Hill at  to get involved.

You can watch the BBC coverage of our lab's work and it's relevance to the referendum on the constitutional status of Scotland.

You can follow our work on Facebook or on Twitter #NRLabs.



Contact Sujin Hong,

Group identity is a central aspect of political behaviour. In  a series of fMRI experiments we explore the neural correlates of this behaviour and ask what additional information this can provide beyond the more traditional large-scale cross-sectional surveys of political attitides and behaviour.


Identity and Empathy for Others' Pain

This study examines the extent to which our identities shape the extent to which we feel empathy for others' pain. This research is conducted with our colleagues from the Interacting Minds Centre at the University of Aarhus.


Identity and Cooperative Behaviour

Participants take part in a stag hunt to examine how the relationship between our identity and that of our partner impacts upon our williness to cooperate with others or our propensity to defect.


Identity During an Interactive Game

We explore the relationship between identity and its relating emotional processing in the social context while participants play an interactive game in an fMRI environment.

Our fMRI research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council's Transformative Research Programme.


Face-emotion coding and eye-tracking

Contact Robin Hill,

Working with our partners at CrowdEmotion we are testing the applicability of face-emotion coding approaches to political behaviour.


Engagement with audio-visual information

We are testing how the public respond to different representations of audio-visual materials with contemporary political relevance  - from politicians and in various media delivery formats.

Big-data and cognitive framing in social media

Contact Clare Llewellyn,

Using big data analysis we are investigating the drivers that form political opinion and how this influences public on debate on contemporary political issues.



We are exploring how the debate on the EU is being framed and reframed in the twitter-sphere and examining how this relates to the cognitive frames that predominate in the offline public and political dialogue and in the more traditional large-scale cross-sectional surveys.

Those with an interest in how the debate on the UK's referendum on EU membership is playing out in the public imagination should follow our regular analysis of the twitter debate @myimageoftheEU our storify and the Twitter demo. 


Laura Cram

Laura Cram Profile 

Professor of European Politics, Director NRLabs Neuropolitics Research, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh.


European public policy, European Identity, Neuropolitics of identity, Neuropolitics of public policy, experimental research, fMRI studies, physiological studies, behavioural games, identity triggers, national identity, symbols.

Robin Hill

Robin Hill

 Research Fellow, NRLabs Neuropolitics Research, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh.


A cognitive scientist who was previously based at the University of Edinburgh in the Institute for Language, Cognition and Computation, and the Human Communication Research Centre, specialising in Human-Machine Interaction (robots, virtual agents, computer interfaces), multimodal communication and technology use for the older population. Involved in analysing people’s eye movements while they read, interact with technology, or engage in dialogue and co-operative actions to unravel the mysteries of human cognition while simultaneously improving the efficiency, interfaces and design of computer systems.

Sujin Hong

Sujin Hong 

Research Fellow, NRLabs Neuropolitics Research, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh.

Researcher working in Neuropolitics, group identity, empathy, emotion and cognitive neuroscience. Specialising functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) studies, and working in the fMRI team of Edinburgh imaging. Has a PhD in Music at the University of Edinburgh where she has worked on fMRI studies about neural correlates of temporal processing in rhythm perception.

Clare Llewellyn

Clare Llewellyn 

Research Fellow, NRLabs Neuropolitics Research, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh.


Researcher and current Informatics PhD student specialising in the analysis of social media. Interested in natural language processing, extraction of meaning and topics from conversations in social media and other user generated content on the web. Analysis and filtering of data in order to present it in a useful and appropriate way. In general interested in social media, text and data analytics, argument mining, digital libraries and computational linguistics.

Adam Moore


Lecturer in the School of Philosoph, Psychology and Language Science.


Researches judgement and decision making, particularly moral and economic decisions. The interplay of emotion and cognition, their relationship to automatic and controlled information processing, and the roles of working memory, intelligence, self control, and empathy in decision making about the self and others. Uses behavioural experiments, computational modelling, and neuroimaging as tools to approach these questions.

Work with us

We welcome contact from those who would like to work within the Neuropolitics Research Lab. We would particularaly like to hear from postdoctural fellows who have received or plan to apply for funding from Marie Sklodowska-Curie, Leverhume Trust, the British Academy and ESRC. For futher information please contact Laura Cram.