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Study Volunteers, Brains and Intelligence

We are conducting a series of investigations concerned with how genes contributing to the risk of schizophrenia influence brain structure, brain function, and how we think and feel. 

Who Can Participate?

Our studies involve both healthy volunteers and patients with psychosis (including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder).

Healthy volunteers must be:

  1. Aged 18 – 65 years old
  2. Born in Ireland, with Irish parents and grandparents on both sides
  3. Have no history of psychosis, and have no first degree relatives (parents, siblings) with a history of psychosis.

What Does the Study Involve?

We use three different approaches in these studies:

  1. Neuropsychological testing
  2. EEG (electroencephalography)
  3. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

Individuals can volunteer to participate in any one or more of these study types.


‘Neuropsychology’ involves using cognitive (i.e. thinking) tests as a measure of how your brain is functioning.  For example, tests of general intelligence (IQ), memory, perception, attention, language function etc.


EEG measures the small amount of electrical activity generated by your brain, via an electrode-cap  that is placed on the participants head.  This cap picks up the electrical impulses that are generated when certain parts of the brain are activated, for example when a person does thinking tasks such as measures of visual or auditory attention.  


MRI uses a combination of a magnetic field and radio waves to take pictures of the brain.  We are able to take two kinds of brain picture with MRI: (1) structural and (2) functional.  Functional MRI allows us to see which parts of your brain are activated when you do certain types of thinking or feeling tasks.  Structural MRI pictures allow us to see changes in the brain structure and connections between different areas of the brain that are influenced by various genes.

In addition, in all of our studies participants are required to provide either a saliva sample, used for the genetic aspects of the study.
If you are interested in participating in any of our studies, please email to submit your name and contact information.

Thank you

MRI Autism Reward Study

Researchers:  Sonja Delmonte, and Dr. Louise Gallagher.

About the Study

We are using brain imaging techniques to investigate how people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) process different kinds of rewards in their brain. Participants lie in an MRI machine which takes pictures of their brains while they do different computer based tasks (like computer games).

Who can take part?

We are looking for participants with and without ASD to take part in this study. Specifically, we are looking for right handed males between the ages of 12 and 21 who would like to take part.

What will it involve?

The study involves two testing sessions. In the first session participants are asked to do some pen and paper tests. This takes about an hour. In the second session, participants do an MRI scan and some other short tests. This session takes about an hour and a half.

Arrangements are also made for participants with ASD to complete ADOS and ADI-R assessments, if these have not yet been done.

Interested in taking part?

If you are interested in taking part in this study and would like more information please contact, Jacqueline Fitzgerald, by email: or Tel. +353 1 896 4102

Last updated 21 September 2016 by School Web Administrator.