Research Supervisor Connect

Memories of the future


Human memory is incredibly complex, allowing us to mentally travel back in subjective time to revisit the past. Mounting evidence points to the importance of memory in enabling us to anticipate or envisage the future, yet the underlying mechanisms supporting this ability remain unclear. This project seeks to tease apart the cognitive and neural mechanisms which support past and future forms of thinking, as well as unconstrained acts of mind-wandering. By studying how these functions are compromised in neurological disorders such as dementia, we can gain crucial insights into how the brain supports uniquely human cognitive endeavours.


Associate Professor Muireann Irish.

Research location

School of Psychology

Program type



How do we remember the past? How do we project ourselves forwards in time to imagine the future? What are the cognitive and neural mechanisms that must be functional to support these complex processes? Using novel experimental tasks and advanced neuroimaging techniques, this project will explore how memory and imagination are compromised in neurological disorders such as dementia, providing new insights into how the brain achieves sophisticated acts of mental time travel.

Additional information

Muireann is committed to equity and diversity in her research team. These projects may also be suitable for Honours students.

HDR Inherent Requirements
In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2255