Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

You are here People

Dr Redmond O'Connell

Dr Redmond O'Connell

  • Position:Ussher Lecturer and PI, Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience
  • Contact details: Rm 4.58, Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Lloyd Building, Trinity College Dublin
  • Email:
  • Telephone: 353-01-896-4543
  • Lab page:


Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Monash University (2013-present)
Post-doc,Trinity College Dublin, Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (2008-2011)
Post-doc, University of Queensland, Queensland Brain Institute (2007-2008)
PhD, Trinity College Dublin, School of Psychology (2003-2007)
BA, Trinity College Dublin, School of Psychology (1999-2003)

Lab Members

PhD candidates: Siobhan Harty, Aoife Hayes,  Deirdre Twomey, Daniel Newman (co-supervised with Mark Bellgrove, Monash University), Gerard Loughnane (co-supervised with Edmund Lalor, TCD).
Undergraduates: Ciara Devine, Sarahjane McCreery, Keiran Mohr & Maedbh Ri.


Peter Murphy (Leiden University)

Research Interests

Research in the O’Connell lab is seeking to understand the neural mechanisms underpinning high-level cognition. This work comprises both basic and translational research and employs a range of psychophysiological techniques including EEG, fMRI, autonomic system measurement and transcranial stimulation. Our primary research interests include:

Perceptual Decision Making

One of the central challenges for the field of neuroscience is to understand how the brain allows us to make reliable categorical decisions from the noisy sensory information it receives. Recently, in collaboration with Simon Kelly of the City College of New York, we devised a novel paradigm that makes it possible to isolate and continuously track the key information processing stages intervening between sensation and action during simple perceptual decisions in discrete human brain signals (see O’Connell, Dockree & Kelly, in press). This technique is now allowing us to explore the mechanisms that influence the timing and accuracy of perceptual decision making in both clinical (e.g. mild cognitive impairment, ADHD) and non-clinical populations.

Performance Monitoring

The brain possesses specialized systems for continually monitoring our performance and for adjusting our behaviour if an error is detected. Occasionally however, this monitoring system fails us and an error can go unnoticed, depriving us of a crucial opportunity to take remedial action. Such failures of self-awareness can cause significant functional impairment in a range of clinical populations. Our group is currently exploring the neural processes that determine whether or not a performance error will enter consciousness (e.g. Murphy et al 2012).


Our research is also directed toward understanding how, why and when attention levels fluctuate. Lapses of attention are a leading cause of human error and a major focus of our work has been to develop laboratory tests that mimic real life situations and make it possible to continuously track neural signatures of spatial and non-spatial attention over time. In collaboration with Mark Bellgrove of Monash University, we are utilizing pharmacological and genetic analysis techniques to probe the neurochemical influences on visuospatial and vigilant attention. Our lab is also seeking to capitalize on an increased understanding of attention systems to develop novel cognitive training techniques that exploit known brain-behaviour relationships. With Professor Ian Robertson and Dr Jessica Bramham, we are currently engaged in a 3-year trial of a biofeedback-based attention training program for adults with ADHD.

Current Collaborators

  • Dr Joshua Balsters, ETH Zurich
  • Professor Mark A Bellgrove, Monash University
  • Dr Paul Dockree, Trinity College Dublin
  • Professor Hugh Garavan, University of Vermont
  • Dr. Robert Hester, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Simon P Kelly, The City College of the City University New York
  • Dr Edmund Lalor, Trinity College Dublin
  • Professor Carlo Miniussi, University of Brescia
  • Professor Ian Robertson, Trinity College Dublin

Current Funding

  • European Research Council Starting Grant (2015-2020)
  • National Science Foundation (2014-2017)
  • Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (2015-2017)
  • Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology (IRCSET)

Representative publications

Google Scholar profile:


Kelly, S.P. & O'Connell, R.G. (in press). Internal and external influences on the rate of sensory evidence accumulation in the human brain. Journal of Neuroscience.

Newman, D.P., O'Connell, R.G. & Bellgrove, M.A. (2013). Linking time-on-task, spatial bias and hemispheric activation asymmetry: A neural correlate of rightward attention drift. Neuropsychologia. 51:1215-1223 PDF

O'Connell, R.G., Dockree, P.M. & Kelly, S.P. (2012). A supramodal accumulation-to-bound signal that determines perceptual decisions in humans. Nature Neuroscience. 15(12):1729-35 PDF

Newman, D.P., O'Connell, R.G., Nathan, P.J. & Bellgrove, M.A. (2012). Dopamine transporter genotype predicts attentional asymmetry in healthy adults. Neuropsychologia.50(12):2823-9.PDF

Murphy, P.M., Robertson, I.H., Allen, D., Hester, R. & O’Connell, R.G. (2012). An electrophysiological signal that precisely tracks the emergence of error awareness. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Epub. PDF

Hester, R., Nandam, L.S., O’Connell, R.G., Wagner, J., Strudwick, M., Nathan, P.J., Mattingley, J.B. and Bellgrove, M.A. (2012). Neurochemical enhancement of error awareness. Journal of Neuroscience. 32(8): 2619-2627. PDF

Murphy, P. R., Robertson, I. H., Balsters, J. H., & O'Connell, R. G. (2011). Pupillometry and P3 index the locus coeruleus-noradrenergic arousal function in humans. Psychophysiology. 48(11): 1532-43. PDF

O'Connell, R. G., Schneider, D., Hester, R., Mattingley, J. B., & Bellgrove, M. A. (2011). Attentional Load Asymmetrically Affects Early Electrophysiological Indices of Visual Orienting. Cerebral Cortex, 21(5), 1056-1065. PDF

Robertson, I.H. & O'Connell, R.G. (2010). Vigilant Attention. In A.C. Nobre & J.T. Coull, Attention and Time. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

O'Connell, R. G., Dockree, P. M., Robertson, I. H., Bellgrove, M. A., Foxe, J. J., & Kelly, S. P. (2009). Uncovering the Neural Signature of Lapsing Attention: Electrophysiological Signals Predict Errors up to 20 s before They Occur. Journal of Neuroscience 29(26), 8604-8611. PDF

O'Connell, R. G., Dockree, P. M., Bellgrove, M. A., Turin, A., Ward, S., Foxe, J. J., & Robertson, I. H. (2009). Two Types of Action Error: Electrophysiological Evidence for Separable Inhibitory and Sustained Attention Neural Mechanisms Producing Error on Go/No-go Tasks. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 21(1), 93-104. PDF

Shalgi, S., O'Connell, R.G., Deouell, L.Y., & Robertson, I.H. (2007). Absent Minded but Accurate: delaying responses increases accuracy but decreases error awareness. Experimental Brain Research, 182(1), 119-124. PDF

O'Connell, R.G., Dockree, P., Bellgrove, M.A., Kelly, S.P., Hester, R., Garavan, H., Robertson, I.H., Foxe, J. J. (2007). The role of Cingulate Cortex in the detection of errors with and without awareness: a high-density electrical mapping study. European Journal of Neuroscience, 25(8), 2571-2579. PDF


O’Connell, R.G. & Robertson, I.H. (2012). Training the brain: Non-pharmacological approaches to stimulating cognitive plasticity. In M.I. Posner (Ed), Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention. New York: Guildford

Barnes, J. J., Dean, A. J., Nandam, L. S., O'Connell, R. G., & Bellgrove, M. A. (2011). The molecular genetics of executive function: role of monoamine system genes. Biological Psychiatry, 69(12), 127-143. PDF

O'Connell, R.G., Bellgrove, M. A., Dockree, P. M., Lau, A., Hester, R....& Robertson, I. H. (2009). The neural correlates of deficient error awareness in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Neuropsychologia, 47(4), 1149-1159. PDF

O'Connell, R. G., Bellgrove, M. A., Dockree, P. M., Lau, A., Fitzgerald, M., & Robertson, I. H. (2008). Self-Alert Training: Volitional modulation of autonomic arousal improves sustained attention. Neuropsychologia, 46(5), 1379-1390. PDF


Balsters JH, O'Connell RG, Galli A, Nolan H, Greco E, Kilcullen SM, Bokde AL, Lai R, Upton N, Robertson IH (2013). Changes in resting connectivity with age: a simultaneous electroencephalogram and functional magnetic resonance imaging investigation. Neurobiol Aging. 34(9):2194-207

O'Connell, R.G., Balsters, J.H., Kilcullen, S.M., Campbell, W., Bokde, A.W., Lai, R., Upton, N. & Robertson, I.H. (2012). A simultaneous ERP/fMRI investigation of the P3 aging effect. Neurobiology of Aging, Epub ahead of print. PDF

Balsters, J.H., O'Connell, R.G., Martin, M.P., Galli, A., Cassidy, S.M., Kilcullen, S.M., Delmonte, S., Brennan, S., Meaney, J.F., Fagan, A.J., Bokde, A.L., Upton, N., Lai, R., Laruelle, M., Lawlor, B., Robertson, I.H. (2011) Donepezil impairs memory in healthy older subjects: behavioural, EEG and simultaneous EEG/fMRI biomarkers. PLOS One. 6(9):e24126. PDF

Finnigan S, O'Connell RG, Cummins TD, Broughton M, Robertson IH. (2011). ERP measures indicate both attention and working memory encoding decrements in aging. Psychophysiology. 2011 May;48(5):601-11. PDF


Cassidy, S., Robertson, I.H. & O’Connell, R.G. (2012). Retest Reliability of Event-Related Potentials: Evidence from a variety of paradigms. Psychophysiology, Epub ahead of print. PDF