Paper of the month – Dr Andrew Martin

24 May 2017
Dr Andrew Martin

Understanding how the brain processes social information could advise brain stimulation treatments in conditions such as schizophrenia and autism.

Researcher Dr Andrew Martin, a cognitive neuroscientist from the Brain and Mental Health Group said one of the primary goals of cognitive neuroscience is to understand how the brain processes social information.

“The uniquely human capability to understand the perspective, emotion, and belief state of others is of significant interest for understanding the human experience, both across the healthy lifespan, but also in disorders associated with social deficits such as schizophrenia and autism,” Dr Martin said.

Dr Martin’s publication in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience is the first to provide causal evidence for a specific role for the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex in integrating information from external sources into the self.

“This significantly increases our knowledge of how the brain processes others perspectives and thoughts which may underlie higher-order functions such as empathy and theory of mind.

“Moreover, this is one of the first studies to employ a high definition transcranial direct current stimulation (HD-tDCS) that allows for more focal stimulation to a specific region,” he said.

The research has the potential to advise brain stimulation treatments in conditions such as schizophrenia and autism.

“As the current pharmacological treatments have little to no positive impact on cognitive functioning, this research could improve the lives of those with serious mental illness,” said Dr Martin.

Dr Martin’s paper was selected as UQCCR’s paper of the month and he will give a brief presentation at the 16 June UQCCR Staff and Student meeting. He will also deliver a UQCCR Seminar at 12pm on Tuesday 6 June titled: Stimulating the Social Brain.

Media: Kim Lyell,, 0427 530647.