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Cognitive Neuroscientist

Co-Director, Global Brain Health Institute

Professor Emeritus, Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience

University of Dublin



Ian Robertson, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and neuroscientist who studies how we pay attention and how our brains are physically changed by our environment and experience.  He is the author of The Winner Effect, The Stress Test, Mind Sculpture, and The Mind’s Eye, which have been translated into many languages.  He is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading researchers in neuropsychology.


He is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin and is Co-Director of the Global Brain Health Institute, a joint venture between University of California at San Francisco and Trinity College Dublin.  He has held senior academic appointments at Universities of Columbia, Toronto, Cambridge and London. He is also T. Boone Pickens Distinguished Scientist at the Center for Brain Health at University of Texas in Dallas.


Robertson held the chair in psychology at Trinity College Dublin and was the founding director of Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN), a multi-disciplinary research facility where social scientists, psychologists, geneticists, biochemists, engineers, physicians, psychiatrists, physiologists, and physicists work to solve some of the most pressing problems of human health, particularly those related to brain health, aging, and Alzheimer’s disease.


Robertson’s focus on the human brain’s attention systems has led to a number of innovative ways to measure how humans pay—or fail to pay—attention.  He has extended this research to help develop new therapeutic methods that have resulted in improved cognitive function in aging and other populations.  This work on attention has also created an important new theory about how socio-economic factors, such as poor education and social deprivation, interact with the biology of the brain to increase the risk of dementia.


His work has been recognized globally and published in more than 300 papers in journals such as Nature, Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Neuroscience, and Neuropsychologia, and in several books, including the leading international textbook on cognitive rehabilitation.


In 2014, Robertson was elected a Fellow of the American Association for Psychological Science in recognition of “sustained and outstanding distinguished contributions to psychological science.”

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