Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore left OHS in 1992 to study Experimental Psychology at Oxford followed by a PhD at UCL. She is currently Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London and co-director of the Wellcome Trust PhD Programme in Neuroscience at UCL.
Her career began with an international postdoctoral research fellowship in France on the perception of causality in the human brain. This was followed by a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship and a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at UCL.
Professor Blakemore is actively involved in increasing the public awareness of science, frequently giving public lectures and talks at schools as well as providing scientific consultancy to the BBC series The Human Mind in 2003. Professor Blakemore consolidated her interest in the links between neuroscience and education when, with Uta Frith, she co-authored the 2005 study The Learning Brain: Lessons for Education.
As of 2017 Blakemore’s research focuses upon the development of social cognition and decision-making during human adolescence. Her most recent book on the subject of adolescent cognition, Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain, won the 2018 Royal Society Prize for Science Books.
‘Almost 400 years ago, Shakespeare was portraying adolescents in a very similar light to the light that we portray them in today – but today we try to understand their behaviour in terms of the underlying changes that are going on in their brain.’
Professor Blakemore has been awarded numerous prizes and honours, including the British Psychological Society Doctoral Award 2001, the British Psychological Society Spearman Medal for outstanding early career research 2006, the Lecturer Award 2011 by the Swedish Neuropsychology Society, the Young Mind & Brain Prize 2013 from the University of Turin, the Royal Society’s Rosalind Franklin Award, also in 2013, the Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize in 2015 and the Presidents’ Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge from The British Psyhological Society in August 2018, which also confers lifetime membership of the Society.
Professor Blakemore is a member of Royal Society BrainWaves working group for neuroscience and the Royal Society Vision Committee for Maths and Science Education. In July 2018, Professor Blakemore was elected Fellow of the British Academy (FBA).