Psychology alumnus receives prestigious Rising Star award from the Association for Psychological Science

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University of Liverpool alumnus Dr Giovanni Sala (PhD Psychology 2017) has been named a Rising Star of the Association for Psychological Science. The Rising Star title is awarded to outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their post-PhD research career, “whose innovative work has already advanced the field and signals great potential for their continued contributions”.

Under the supervision of Professor Fernand Gobet, now at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Giovanni earned his PhD at the University of Liverpool with a theses titled Once Upon a Time There Was Far Transfer. Since then, Dr Sala has continued his research on cognitive training, specifically looking at how activities such as chess, music, and video games improve general cognitive abilities such as intelligence and short-term memory.

Most notably, through Dr Giovanni Sala’s research, he was able to demonstrate that cognitive training does not lead to any appreciable cognitive and academic benefits beyond the domain trained. Further information about Dr Sala’s research can be found in previous features in University of Liverpool News: Working Memory Training doesn’t work and Study finds link between handedness and mathematical skills.

The University of Liverpool is delighted to hear of Dr Sala’s career success and of the news of this prestigious achievement. Dr Andrej Stancak, Reader in Behavioural Neuroscience at the Department of Psychological Sciences and the second supervisor for Giovanni's PhD said: "Dr Sala's research shed new light on an important psychological concept of whether practicing a specific cognitive function would improve cognitive performance in other cognitive tasks.”

“Thanks to Giovanni's meticulous research comprising all published research studies, it became clear that the hypothesis of cognitive transfer did not receive sufficient empirical support. The findings are relevant for designing cognitive training programs such as cognitive training in neurological patients or cognitive development programs in children."

Dr Giovanni Sala

Now an Assistant Professor at Fujita Health University, Japan, Dr Sala (pictured above) said: "I express my gratitude to all the people at the Department of Psychology who supported my research. Thanks to them, I had the opportunity to benefit from a lively academic environment. I know first-hand that they are an asset for the Faculty and the students."

The University of Liverpool sends its congratulations to Dr Giovanni Sala for this incredible achievement, and wishes him every success in the future.