Research Focus


  • Ageing
  • Attention
  • VSTM
  • Intelligence
  • fMRI
  • Equipment & Techniques

  • Behavioural analysis
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Science Culture

  • Open Access
  • Reproducibility in Science
  • Back

    Dr Daniel Mitchell

    University Position
    Senior Investigator Scientist
    Dr Daniel Mitchell is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


    My research focuses on cognitive representations in visual short-term memory, perception, attention, mental imagery and task execution. I am interested in their capacity limits, relationships, and neural substrates. I study healthy adults and aging populations, using a combination of fMRI, MEG/EEG, intracranial recordings, and behavioural tasks, complimented by multiple analysis methods such as multivariate pattern analysis, functional connectivity and causal inference. By studying the links between brain and mind, I aim to understand constraints on cognition, and identify strategies to promote healthy cognitive aging. Collaborative projects also study fluid intelligence in children and glioma patients, and the neural basis of interventions to reduce anxiety.

    Cognitive challenge activates the multiple demand system of the brain (shown in orange, averaged over 252 people). This brain activity weakens with age, which partially mediates decline in fluid intelligence during healthy human aging (green). This relationship is moderated by the variety of physical activities that a person does (bottom right), suggesting that a varied active lifestyle may promote successful cognitive aging. For more details, see

    Key Publications

    Neural Contributions to Reduced Fluid Intelligence across the Adult Lifespan.

    Journal: J Neurosci
    E-pub date: 11 Jan 2023
    Authors: DJ Mitchell, ALS Mousley, MA Shafto, Cam-CAN, J Duncan

    The time-course of component processes of selective attention.

    Journal: Neuroimage
    E-pub date: 1 Oct 2019
    Authors: T Wen, J Duncan, DJ Mitchell

    Role of the Default Mode Network in Cognitive Transitions.

    Journal: Cereb Cortex
    E-pub date: 1 Oct 2018
    Authors: V Smith, DJ Mitchell, J Duncan

    Visual short-term memory through the lifespan: Preserved benefits of context and metacognition.

    Journal: Psychol Aging
    E-pub date: 31 Aug 2018
    Authors: DJ Mitchell, R Cusack, Cam-CAN

    Complexity and compositionality in fluid intelligence.

    Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
    E-pub date: 16 May 2017
    Authors: J Duncan, D Chylinski, DJ Mitchell, A Bhandari

    A Putative Multiple-Demand System in the Macaque Brain.

    Journal: J Neurosci
    E-pub date: 17 Aug 2016
    Authors: DJ Mitchell, AH Bell, MJ Buckley, AS Mitchell, J Sallet, J Duncan

    Encoding strategy and not visual working memory capacity correlates with intelligence.

    Journal: Psychon Bull Rev
    E-pub date: 31 Aug 2009
    Authors: R Cusack, M Lehmann, M Veldsman, DJ Mitchell


    Structural connectivity of the multiple demand network in humans and comparison to the macaque brain.

    Journal: Cereb Cortex
    E-pub date: 4 Nov 2023
    Authors: K Karadachka, M Assem, DJ Mitchell, J Duncan, WP Medendorp, RB Mars

    Parental Scaffolding during Book-Sharing Predicts Child General Intelligence.

    Journal: Psychon Bull Rev
    E-pub date: 1 Oct 2023
    Authors: J Duncan, E Phillips, DJ Mitchell, PJ Cooper, L Murray

    Cognitive segmentation and fluid reasoning in childhood.

    Journal: Q J Exp Psychol (Hove)
    E-pub date: 1 Jun 2023
    Authors: S O'Brien, DJ Mitchell, J Duncan, J Holmes

    Lifespan differences in visual short-term memory load-modulated functional connectivity.

    Journal: Neuroimage
    E-pub date: 15 Apr 2023
    Authors: S Lugtmeijer, L Geerligs, KA Tsvetanov, DJ Mitchell, Cam-Can, KL Campbell

    Frontal and temporal coding dynamics in successive steps of complex behavior.

    Journal: Neuron
    E-pub date: 1 Feb 2023
    Authors: M Kadohisa, M Kusunoki, DJ Mitchell, C Bhatia, MJ Buckley, J Duncan

    Causal Contributions of the Domain-General (Multiple Demand) and the Language-Selective Brain Networks to Perceptual and Semantic Challenges in Speech Comprehension.

    Journal: Neurobiol Lang (Camb)
    E-pub date: 1 Aug 2022
    Authors: LJ MacGregor, RA Gilbert, Z Balewski, DJ Mitchell, SW Erzinçlioğlu, JM Rodd, J Duncan, E Fedorenko, MH Davis

    Fluid intelligence and naturalistic task impairments after focal brain lesions.

    Journal: Cortex
    E-pub date: 1 Jan 2022
    Authors: V Smith, C Pinasco, J Achterberg, DJ Mitchell, T Das, M Roca, J Duncan

    The effect of rule retrieval on activity in the default mode network.

    Journal: Neuroimage
    E-pub date: 15 Nov 2019
    Authors: V Smith, DJ Mitchell, J Duncan

    Progressive Recruitment of the Frontoparietal Multiple-demand System with Increased Task Complexity, Time Pressure, and Reward.

    Journal: J Cogn Neurosci
    E-pub date: 1 Nov 2019
    Authors: S Shashidhara, DJ Mitchell, Y Erez, J Duncan

    Response of the multiple-demand network during simple stimulus discriminations.

    Journal: Neuroimage
    E-pub date: 15 Aug 2018
    Authors: T Wen, DJ Mitchell, J Duncan

    The neural basis of precise visual short-term memory for complex recognisable objects.

    Journal: Neuroimage
    E-pub date: 1 Oct 2017
    Authors: M Veldsman, DJ Mitchell, R Cusack

    Neural Coding for Instruction-Based Task Sets in Human Frontoparietal and Visual Cortex.

    Journal: Cereb Cortex
    E-pub date: 1 Mar 2017
    Authors: PS Muhle-Karbe, J Duncan, W De Baene, DJ Mitchell, M Brass

    Training refines brain representations for multitasking.

    Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
    E-pub date: 17 Nov 2015
    Authors: J Duncan, DJ Mitchell

    Concurrent brain responses to separate auditory and visual targets.

    Journal: J Neurophysiol
    E-pub date: 31 Aug 2015
    Authors: P Finoia, DJ Mitchell, O Hauk, C Beste, V Pizzella, J Duncan

    Recruitment of the default mode network during a demanding act of executive control.

    Journal: Elife
    E-pub date: 13 Apr 2015
    Authors: BM Crittenden, DJ Mitchell, J Duncan

    Distinct aspects of frontal lobe structure mediate age-related differences in fluid intelligence and multitasking.

    Journal: Nat Commun
    E-pub date: 18 Dec 2014
    Authors: RA Kievit, SW Davis, DJ Mitchell, JR Taylor, J Duncan, Cam-CAN Research Team, RNA Henson, Cam-CAN Research Team

    Automatic analysis (aa): efficient neuroimaging workflows and parallel processing using Matlab and XML.

    Journal: Front Neuroinform
    E-pub date: 1 Aug 2014
    Authors: R Cusack, A Vicente-Grabovetsky, DJ Mitchell, CJ Wild, T Auer, AC Linke, JE Peelle

    Hierarchical organization of cognition reflected in distributed frontoparietal activity.

    Journal: J Neurosci
    E-pub date: 28 Nov 2012
    Authors: AA Farooqui, D Mitchell, R Thompson, J Duncan

    Encoding strategy accounts for individual differences in change detection measures of VSTM.

    Journal: Neuropsychologia
    E-pub date: 1 May 2011
    Authors: AC Linke, A Vicente-Grabovetsky, DJ Mitchell, R Cusack

    Discrete object representation, attention switching, and task difficulty in the parietal lobe.

    Journal: J Cogn Neurosci
    E-pub date: 1 Jan 2010
    Authors: R Cusack, DJ Mitchell, J Duncan