PhD student

Brónagh Mccoy

PhD student

Room: 1B-84


I am working on the ERC-project ‘What you get is what you see: How reward determines perception’ with professor Jan Theeuwes.


I’m from Ireland and studied physics (BSc) at Dublin City University. I moved to Nijmegen, The Netherlands to do a research master in Cognitive Neuroscience (MSc) at the Donders Institute, Radboud University, following the research theme perception, action and control. During this time I carried out a KNAW-funded project with Rob van Lier, investigating the effects of synesthetic congruency on temporal order judgements. I completed my master’s thesis internship in the group of dr. Floris de Lange, working on an fMRI project with Anke Marit Albers on representations in early visual and higher-order areas during visual mental imagery. We used multivariate pattern classification analysis to investigate patterns associated with imagery of simple and more complex features, and dissociation of these representations in different areas of the brain.

Research interests

I am interested in the interaction between top-down control mechanisms such as learning from reward and incoming sensory information; how does knowledge of previously rewarded objects change our perception of these objects over time? I am intrigued to know how changes may occur early in the visual cortex and how quickly this might happen. If representations in early visual cortex change rapidly in favor of more valuable stimuli, this has major implications not only for healthy individuals (leading to subjective biases toward particular items in the environment), but also for addicts and individuals who have disturbances in their reward system, such as Parkinson’s disease patients. I am investigating these topics using eye movement analysis techniques and fMRI imaging.


Google Scholar

Recent publications

G Engels, B McCoy, A Vlaar, J Theeuwes, H Weinstein, E Scherder & ... (2018) Clinical pain and functional network topology in Parkinson’s disease: a resting-state fMRI study. Journal of Neural Transmission
G Engels, A Vlaar, B McCoy, E Scherder & L Douw (2018) Dynamic functional connectivity and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease: a resting-state fMRI study. Frontiers in aging neuroscience 10, 388
B McCoy, S Jahfari, G Engels, T Knapen & J Theeuwes (2018) Dopaminergic medication reduces striatal sensitivity to negative outcomes in Parkinson's disease. bioRxiv
B McCoy & J Theeuwes (2018) Overt and covert attention to location-based reward. Vision research 142, 27-39
B McCoy & J Theeuwes (2016) Effects of reward on oculomotor control. Journal of Neurophysiology 116 (5), 2453-24667

View full list of publications on Google Scholar