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Centre for Cognitive Control and Associative Learning

The Centre for Cognitive Control and Associative Learning brings together researchers with an expertise in executive control and associative learning. Our major research agenda is to demonstrate how both executive processes and associative learning jointly contribute to cognitive control in ever-changing environments.

Cognitive control versus associative learning

Cognitive control of goal-directed behaviour has been the focus of controversy since the cognitive revolution against the behaviourists in the 1950s. Modern cognitive approaches often attribute control to executive processes that organise, monitor, regulate, and alter the settings of lower-level cognitive processes, in response to errors, conflict, or changes in the task environment. Behaviourist approaches attribute control to environmental contingencies learned from experience. The behaviourist approach is echoed in cognitive theories of automaticity and associative learning, which attribute control of skilled behaviour to memory retrieval.


Research in CCAL is supported by project grants and research studentships from BBSRC, ERC, ESRC, British Academy and the Wellcome Trust.