Dr Nerissa Ho

Dr Nerissa Ho

Lecturer in Psychology

School of Psychology (Faculty of Health)

Dr Nerissa Ho can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Psychology


Lecturer in Psychology



  • PhD in Psychology (neuropsychology), The University of Hong Kong
  • PGCert in Psychology, The University of Hong Kong
  • MBA (business administration), The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • BSc (computer science) , The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Professional Experience

  • 2018-20, Research Associate, Department of Psychology, University of York
  • 2016-18, Lecturer, Community College of City University, Hong Kong
  • 2015-16, Research Associate / Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Psychology, The University of Hong Kong



Teaching interests

  • Cognitive and biological psychology
  • Social, Cognitive, Affective Neuroscience

Courses teaching in 2021/2022
  • PSYC002 The Psychology of Everyday Experience
  • PSYC003 Psychological Influences on Health and Behaviour

  • PSYC415 Topics in Psychology (Neuroscience)

  • PSYC604 Current Topics in Psychology

  • PSYC605 Research Project

  • PSYC606 Applications of Psychological Theory

  • PSYC707 MSc Research Project

  • PSYC775 Foundations and Applications of Neuroimaging and Neurostimulation

  • PSYC783 Applied Clinical Research

  • PSYC785 Neuroscience Project



Research interests

I am interested in exploring the structural and functional architecture of the human brain. In particular, I seek to understand the brain’s architecture as reflected by our ongoing experiences and its implications to our cognitive performance and emotional well-being.

My research is founded on studies examining the neurocognitive mechanisms of mind-wandering and functions of the default mode network, a large scale brain network best known to be engaged in self-generated thoughts that are decoupled from the current environment and ongoing tasks. This research interest is developed from my early studies on alexithymia, a condition related to the lack of self-emotional awareness, and subsequent studies of the self-relevance effect and its influences on decisional processing using a social-cognitive perspective.

The overarching objective of my work is to better understand the neurocognitive underpinnings of our thought patterns, how they impact our cognitive and emotional experiences, and how to translate these basic science discovery into applications in the clinical and ageing domains.

Grants & contracts

BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants SRG 2020-21 Round (£10,000) “The wandertron: an intelligent protocol for deriving representative aspects of thought for characterizing ongoing experiences under different task contexts”



Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Turnbull A, Poerio GL, Ho NSP, Martinon LM, Riby LM, Lin FV, Jefferies E & Smallwood J (2021) 'Age-related changes in ongoing thought relate to external context and individual cognition' Consciousness and Cognition 96, , DOI Open access
Konu D, Mckeown B, Turnbull A, Siu Ping Ho N, Karapanagiotidis T, Vanderwal T, McCall C, Tipper SP, Jefferies E & Smallwood J (2021) 'Exploring patterns of ongoing thought under naturalistic and conventional task-based conditions' Consciousness and Cognition 93, , DOI Open access
Smallwood J, Turnbull A, Wang H-T, Ho NSP, Poerio GL, Karapanagiotidis T, Konu D, Mckeown B, Zhang M & Murphy C (2021) 'The neural correlates of ongoing conscious thought' iScience 102132-102132 Publisher Site , DOI Open access
Karapanagiotidis T, Vidaurre D, Quinn AJ, Vatansever D, Poerio GL, Turnbull A, Ho N, Leech R, Bernhardt BC & Jefferies E (2020) 'The psychological correlates of distinct neural states occurring during wakeful rest' Scientific Reports Open access
Ho N, Baker D, Karapanagiotidis T, Seli P, Wang HT, Leech R, Bernhardt B, Margulies D, Jefferies E & Smallwood J (2020) 'Missing the forest because of the trees: Slower alternations during binocular rivalry are associated with lower levels of visual detail during ongoing thought' Neuroscience of Consciousness , DOI Open access
Turnbull A, Garfinkel SN, Ho NSP, Critchley HD, Bernhardt BC, Jefferies E & Smallwood J (2020) 'Corrigendum to ‘Word up–experiential and neurocognitive evidence for associations between autistic symptomology and a preference for thinking in the form of words’ [Cortex 128 (2020) 88–106]' Cortex 131, 305-305 , DOI
Wang H-T, Ho NSP, Bzdok D, Bernhardt BC, Margulies DS, Jefferies E & Smallwood J (2020) 'Neurocognitive patterns dissociating semantic processing from executive control are linked to more detailed off-task mental time travel' Scientific Reports 10, (1) , DOI Open access
Ho NSP, Poerio G, Konu D, Turnbull A, Sormaz M, Leech R, Bernhardt B, Jefferies E & Smallwood J (2020) 'Facing up to the wandering mind: Patterns of off-task laboratory thought are associated with stronger neural recruitment of right fusiform cortex while processing facial stimuli' NeuroImage 214, 116765-116765 , DOI Open access
Turnbull A, Garfinkel SN, Ho NSP, Critchley HD, Bernhardt BC, Jefferies E & Smallwood J (2020) 'Word up – Experiential and neurocognitive evidence for associations between autistic symptomology and a preference for thinking in the form of words' Cortex 128, 88-106 , DOI Open access
Golubickis M, Falbén JK, Ho NSP, Sui J, Cunningham WA & Neil Macrae C (2019) 'Parts of me: Identity-relevance moderates self-prioritization' Consciousness and Cognition 77, 102848-102848 , DOI Open access
Ho NSP, Wang X, Vatansever D, Margulies DS, Bernhardt B, Jefferies E & Smallwood J (2019) 'Individual variation in patterns of task focused, and detailed, thought are uniquely associated within the architecture of the medial temporal lobe' NeuroImage 202, 116045-116045 , DOI Open access
Turnbull A, Wang HT, Murphy C, Ho NSP, Wang X, Sormaz M, Karapanagiotidis T, Leech RM, Bernhardt B & Margulies DS (2019) 'Left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex supports context-dependent prioritisation of off-task thought' Nature Communications 10, (1) 0-0 , DOI Open access
Golubickis M, Ho NSP, Falbén JK, Schwertel CL, Maiuri A, Dublas D, Cunningham WA & Macrae CN (2019) 'Valence and ownership: object desirability influences self-prioritization' Psychological Research 85, (1) 91-100 , DOI Open access
Falbén JK, Olivier JL, Golubickis M, Ho NSP, Persson LM, Tsamadi D, Marinopoulou E, Bianciardi B, Cunningham WA & Macrae CN (2019) 'Stop stereotyping' Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics 81, (5) 1228-1235 , DOI Open access
Golubickis M, Ho NSP, Falbén JK, Mackenzie KM, Boschetti A, Cunningham WA & Neil Macrae C (2018) 'Mine or mother’s? Exploring the self-ownership effect across cultures' Culture and Brain 7, (1) 1-25 , DOI Open access
Macrae CN, Mitchell JP, Golubickis M, Ho NSP, Sherlock R, Parlongo R, Simpson OCM & Christian BM (2016) 'Saving for your future self: The role of imaginary experiences' Self and Identity 16, (4) 384-398 , DOI Open access
Ho NSP, Wong MMC & Lee TMC (2016) 'Neural connectivity of alexithymia: Specific association with major depressive disorder' Journal of Affective Disorders 193, 362-372 , DOI Open access
Ho NSP, Sun D, Ting K-H, Chan CCH & Lee TMC (2015) 'Mindfulness Trait Predicts Neurophysiological Reactivity Associated with Negativity Bias: An ERP Study' Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015, 1-15 , DOI
Ho NSP & Lee TMC (2013) 'Alexithymia: The story of a survivor of childhood traumatic brain injury' Brain Injury 27, (10) 1199-1205 , DOI
Lee TMC, Ho NSP, Yin J, Lee C-F, Chan CCH & So K-F (2013) 'Neuroscience and Meditation' Annals of Traditional Chinese Medicine WORLD SCIENTIFIC 185-200 , DOI