abstract Nazanin Derakshan

Nazanin Derakshan (Birkbeck University London, UK)

The other side of fear

Nazanin Derakshan is a Professor of Experimental Psychopathology, in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Birkbeck University of London, and a former Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow in Experimental Psychopathology. She has conducted extensive research into understanding the cognitive and neural mechanisms behind the effects of anxiety and depression on cognitive performance, with a number of key papers including highly cited theoretical articles published. In this talk, and in support of her recent theoretical position on the modulating role of attentional control in resilience, Prof Derakshan will present behavioural, cognitive as well as neural data to show how deficits in attentional control and processing efficiency can be improved by engaging and targeting working memory capacity through adaptive structured cognitive training programmes, with direct implications in education and clinical health where enhancing processing efficiency can help protect against emotional vulnerability. In doing so, she will outline possible avenues on how cognitive flexibility can pave the way towards psychological strength and resilience and a richer more meaningful life. Drawing from her recent personal experience of breast cancer, she will highlight how the exercise of attentional control in embracing the experience of emotions such as anxiety, sadness and fear can make us stronger and more resilient in the face of fear.