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Dr Lei Zhang

L Zhang

Contact Details

Dr Lei Zhang

School of Psychology, University of Birmingham


Research Interests

Learning and decision-making, flexible & adaptive (learning) behaviour, decision neuroscience/neuroeconomics, social learning, reinforcement learning, cognitive modelling, Bayesian methods, neuroimaging, fMRI, TMS, pain, aversive learning, computational psychiatry

Scientific Inspiration

Peter Dayan inspired many of my research work, including the newly emerged field, Computational Psychiatry. Plus, I believe PhD students are likewise inspiring, because they are absolutely amazing in showing the highest level of curiosity about research.


Supervision Style

In three words or phrases: Supportive, collaborative, growing together.

Provision of Training

I provide individualized training with my own experience and perspectives. As the students getting more expertise and experience, I gradually retreat from my supervision and provide them the freedom to help with their independence.

Progression Monitoring and Management

Goals will be jointly discussed and set between the students and the supervisor, with the aim to produce high quality research and scientific productivity. Progress will be monitored in a relaxed manner once a week in face to face “catch-up” meetings. In addition to the regular meetings, I am available for advice and guidance to reach the goals.

Communication

Main contact between supervisor and students is conducted through email – this is to ensure all communications are well documented. The contact also includes brief weekly face to face “catch up” meetings, during which, students are encouraged to freely discuss various topic, such as research-related issues, technical problems, and career developments. More in-depth meetings for detailed discussion (e.g., experimental design, data analysis, practice talks) will be held during weekly lab meetings. The lab maintains a flat structure, and keeps a healthy social life (which is entirely voluntary): meeting for coffee, social events, sports, etc.

PhD Students can expect scheduled meetings with me:

In a group meeting

At least once a week

In year 1 of PhD study

Regular short meetings once a week of under 30 minutes + longer duration meetings whenever required

In year 2 of PhD study

Regular short meetings once a week of under 30 minutes + longer duration meetings whenever required

In year 3 of PhD study

Regular short meetings once a week of under 30 minutes + longer duration meetings whenever required


These meetings will be mainly face to face, and I am usually contactable for an instant response 3 or 4 days a week.

Working Patterns

Lab members are encouraged to be on site 3-4 days a week between 11am and 4pm. This is aimed at encouraging interactions with other lab members for both good mental health and to learn from other experienced researchers. However, flexible working is certainly possible in discussion with the PI, and the ongoing needs of students are always considered. A shared calendar is implemented to know each other’s schedule and availability.

Notice Period for Feedback

I usually need at least 1 week’s notice to provide feedback on written work of up to 5000 words, although students will be notified when a longer lead-time may occur.