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portrait of Professor Tina Forster

Professor Tina Forster

Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience

School of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Psychology

Contact Information


Visit Tina Forster

D411, Rhind Building

Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom



Professor Forster's research investigates neural basis of body perception and its role in cognition. She is an expert in electrophysiology (i.e. EEG) of body / touch perception. She leads the Cognitive Neuroscience Research Unit and is co-director of the Center for Psychological Well-being and Neuroscience. Current research questions include:
- what is the role of attention in body awareness? and what is its neural basis?
- what is the neural signature of attention to the body?
- Is the way we attend to our body and our awareness of it malleable and what factors play a role?
- embodied cognition: when and how does the body representation in out brain contribute to it?
- what is the role of somatosensory cortex in emotion processing? is it automatic or dependent of certain (personality/experience?) factors?
- how do psychological therapies, like mindfulness, or body centred practise, like yoga or dance, affect one's body awareness and well-being?

Prior to taking up a lectureship at City University London Professor Forster has held post-doctoral positions at Birkbeck College, University of London and at the University of Verona, Italy.

Professor Forster contributes to teaching in Biological Psychology on the BSc Psychology (PS1005 and PS2004) and in Fundamentals of Cognitive Neuroscience and Research Methods (PSM204 and PSM209) on the MSc in Clinical, Social and Cognitive Neuroscience. In addition, she supervises research students at undergraduate and postgraduate level. She has held a wide range of administrative leadership roles within the Psychology Department (i.e. Chair of the Research and the Ethics Committee, Undergraduate student Admissions, BSc Psychology Programme Director).


Professor Forster researches the brain processes that underlie perception of ones body by using electroencephalography (EEG) to track changes of electrical brain activity, Her research describes neural processes that occur when we perceive touch considering the influence of seeing or moving our body, expectations and social interactions. Her research aims to understand the role of body perception in embodied cognition including emotion perception and self-awareness. Further, she is investigating the neural basis of psychological therapies, like mindfulness training.

Research supervision

PhD and internship applications related to her field research are welcome.

Current research students:
Hana Villar ' the neurocognitive changes induced by mindfulness based therapy'
Carmen Kohl 'the neural basis of speeded decision making' (co-supervised with Kielan Yarrow')
Alejandro Galvez-Pol 'the neural basis of sensorimotor memory' (co-supervised with Beatriz Calvo-Merino)

Former PhD students:
Silvia Goss (2008 – 2012) “Mirror Touch”
Alexander Jones (2007 – 2012) “Neural Correlates of Tactile Attention”
Chiara F. Sambo (2005 – 2009) “Crossmodal Spatial Representations”

Research grants and awards

• K. Yarrow, B.Forster, S. Bestmann (2014). 'Novel neurometric measures of speeded decision making' funded by Leverhulme Trust (£216K)
• B.Forster (2012). City University Pump Priming Funding (£4,362) ‘The Bodily Self’
• B. Calvo-Merino & B. Forster (2010). City University Pump Priming Funding (£3,981) ‘Neurocognitive mechanisms of aesthetic perception’
• Staff Research Prize for excellence in research (£1000), City University London (December 2007)
• Forster, B (2006). ‘Mechanisms of tactile spatial orienting and selection’ funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC; £371K).



  1. Croballis, M.C. and Forster, B. (2003). Water under the bridge: Interhemispheric visuomotor integration in a split-brained man. In Iacoboni, M. (Ed.), The Parallel Brain; The cognitive Neuroscience of the Corpus Callosum (pp. 337–339). The MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-24044-4.

Conference papers and proceedings (5)

  1. Joly-Mascheroni, R.M., Forster, B., Valsera, C., Gomara, A., Crailsheim, D., Llorente, M. … Calvo-Merino, B. (2018). Beyond Humans: Contagious Yawning in Primates Elicited by a Non-Human Agent, (An Android).
  2. Joly-Mascheroni, R.M., Forster, B., Llorente, M. and Calvo-Merino, B. (2016). Beyond humans: contagious yawning in primates elicited by the visual perception of a non-human agent - an android.
  3. Sel, A., Calvo-Merino, B. and Forster, B. (2013). SOMATOSENSORY CORRELATES OF FACIAL EMOTION PERCEPTION: EVIDENCE FROM ERPS. 20th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive-Neuroscience-Society 13-16 April, San Francisco, CA.

Journal articles (61)

  1. Galvez-Pol, A., Calvo-Merino, B. and Forster, B. (2020). Revealing the body in the brain: An ERP method to examine sensorimotor activity during visual perception of body-related information. Cortex, 125, pp. 332–344. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2020.01.017.
  2. Arslanova, I., Galvez-Pol, A., Calvo-Merino, B. and Forster, B. (2019). Searching for bodies: ERP evidence for independent somatosensory processing during visual search for body-related information. NeuroImage, 195, pp. 140–149. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.03.037.
  3. Karlinski, M., Jones, A. and Forster, B. (2019). Electrophysiological evidence for changes in attentional orienting and selection in functional somatic symptoms. Clinical Neurophysiology, 130(1), pp. 85–92. doi:10.1016/j.clinph.2018.09.027.
  4. Galvez-Pol, A., Forster, B. and Calvo-Merino, B. (2018). Modulation of motor cortex activity in a visual working memory task of hand images. Neuropsychologia, 117, pp. 75–83. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2018.05.005.
  5. Galvez-Pol, A., Calvo-Merino, B., Capilla, A. and Forster, B. (2018). Persistent recruitment of somatosensory cortex during active maintenance of hand images in working memory. NeuroImage, 174, pp. 153–163. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.03.024.
  6. Spieser, L., Kohl, C., Forster, B., Bestmann, S. and Yarrow, K. (2018). Neurodynamic evidence supports a forced-excursion model of decision-making under speed/accuracy instructions. eNeuro, 5(3). doi:10.1523/ENEURO.0159-18.2018.
  7. Kohl, C., Spieser, L., Forster, B., Bestmann, S. and Yarrow, K. (2018). The neurodynamic decision variable in human multi-alternative perceptual choice. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 31(2), pp. 262–277. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01347.
  8. Gherri, E., Gooray, E. and Forster, B. (2016). Cue-locked lateralized components in a tactile spatial attention task: Evidence for a functional dissociation between ADAN and LSN. Psychophysiology, 53(4), pp. 507–517. doi:10.1111/psyp.12596.
  9. Forster, B., Tziraki, M. and Jones, A. (2016). The attentive homunculus: ERP evidence for somatotopic allocation of attention in tactile search. Neuropsychologia, 84, pp. 158–166. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.02.009.
  10. Gherri, E. and Forster, B. (2015). Independent effects of eye gaze and spatial attention on the processing of tactile events: Evidence from event-related potentials. Biological Psychology, 109, pp. 239–247. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2015.05.008.
  11. Sel, A., Calvo-Merino, B., Tuettenberg, S. and Forster, B. (2015). When you smile, the world smiles at you: ERP evidence for self-expression effects on face processing. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience.
  12. Jones, A. and Forster, B. (2015). Body in mind. Frontiers in Psychology, 6(JAN). doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00056.
  13. Sel, A., Forster, B. and Calvo-Merino, B. (2014). The emotional homunculus: ERP evidence for independent somatosensory responses during facial emotional processing. J Neurosci, 34(9), pp. 3263–3267. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0106-13.2014.
  14. Gherri, E. and Forster, B. (2014). Attention to the body depends on eye-in-orbit position. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(JUL). doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00683.
  15. Jones, A. and Forster, B. (2014). Neural correlates of endogenous attention, exogenous attention and inhibition of return in touch. European Journal of Neuroscience, 40(2), pp. 2389–2398. doi:10.1111/ejn.12583.
  16. Jones, A. and Forster, B. (2013). Independent effects of endogenous and exogenous attention in touch. Somatosensory and Motor Research, 30(4), p. 161. doi:10.3109/08990220.2013.779243.
  17. Jones, A. and Forster, B. (2013). Lost in vision: ERP correlates of exogenous tactile attention when engaging in a visual task. Neuropsychologia, 51(4), pp. 675–685. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.01.010.
  18. Gherri, E. and Forster, B. (2012). The orienting of attention during eye and hand movements: ERP evidence for similar frame of reference but different spatially specific modulations of tactile processing. Biological Psychology, 91(2), pp. 172–184. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2012.06.007.
  19. Sambo, C.F., Forster, B., Williams, S.C. and Iannetti, G.D. (2012). To blink or not to blink: fine cognitive tuning of the defensive peripersonal space. J Neurosci, 32(37), pp. 12921–12927. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0607-12.2012.
  20. Gillmeister, H. and Forster, B. (2012). Adverse effects of viewing the hand on tactile-spatial selection between fingers depend on finger posture. Exp Brain Res, 221(3), pp. 269–278. doi:10.1007/s00221-012-3171-z.
  21. Calvo-Merino, B., Jones, A., Gillmeister, H., Tziraki, M. and Forster, B. (2012). The influence of experience on aesthetic processing: insight from ballet dancers watching dance postures. COGNITIVE PROCESSING, 13.
  22. Gherri, E. and Forster, B. (2012). Crossing the hands disrupts tactile spatial attention but not motor attention: evidence from event-related potentials. Neuropsychologia, 50(9), pp. 2303–2316. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.05.034.
  23. Gherri, E. and Forster, B. (2012). Crossing the hands disrupts tactile spatial attention but not motor attention: Evidence from event-related potentials. Neuropsychologia, 50(9), pp. 2303–2316. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.05.034.
  24. Jones, A. and Forster, B. (2012). Reflexive attention in touch: an investigation of event related potentials and behavioural responses. Biol Psychol, 89(2), pp. 313–322. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2011.11.004.
  25. Gillmeister, H. and Forster, B. (2012). Hands behind your back: effects of arm posture on tactile attention in the space behind the body. EXPERIMENTAL BRAIN RESEARCH, 216(4), pp. 489–497. doi:10.1007/s00221-011-2953-z.
  26. Jones, A. and Forster, B. (2012). Reflexive attention in touch: An investigation of event related potentials and behavioural responses. Biological Psychology, 89(2), pp. 313–322. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2011.11.004.
  27. Sambo, C.F., Vallar, G., Fortis, P., Ronchi, R., Posteraro, L., Forster, B. … Maravita, A. (2012). Visual and spatial modulation of tactile extinction: behavioural and electrophysiological evidence. Front Hum Neurosci, 6, p. 217. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2012.00217.
  28. Sambo, C.F. and Forster, B. (2011). When far is near: ERP correlates of crossmodal spatial interactions between tactile and mirror-reflected visual stimuli. Neurosci Lett, 500(1), pp. 10–15. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2011.05.233.
  29. Sambo, C.F. and Forster, B. (2011). When far is near: ERP correlates of crossmodal spatial interactions between tactile and mirror-reflected visual stimuli. NEUROSCIENCE LETTERS, 500(1), pp. 10–15. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2011.05.233.
  30. Forster, B. and Gillmeister, H. (2011). ERP investigation of transient attentional selection of single and multiple locations within touch. Psychophysiology, 48(6), pp. 788–796. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.2010.01147.x.
  31. Sambo, C.F. and Forster, B. (2011). Sustained spatial attention in touch: modality-specific and multimodal mechanisms. ScientificWorldJournal, 11, pp. 199–213. doi:10.1100/tsw.2011.34.
  32. Gillmeister, H. and Forster, B. (2011). Hands behind your back: effects of arm posture on tactile attention in the space behind the body. Experimental Brain Research pp. 1–9.
  33. Gillmeister, H. and Forster, B. (2010). Vision enhances selective attention to body-related information. Neuroscience Letters, 483(3), pp. 184–188. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2010.08.004.
  34. Gillmeister, H., Adler, J. and Forster, B. (2010). Object-guided spatial attention in touch: holding the same object with both hands delays attentional selection. J Cogn Neurosci, 22(5), pp. 931–942. doi:10.1162/jocn.2009.21265.
  35. Gillmeister, H., Sambo, C.F. and Forster, B. (2010). Which finger? Early effects of attentional selection within the hand are absent when the hand is viewed. Eur J Neurosci, 31(10), pp. 1874–1881. doi:10.1111/j.1460-9568.2010.07195.x.
  36. Forster, B., Sambo, C.F. and Pavone, E.F. (2009). ERP correlates of tactile spatial attention differ under intra- and intermodal conditions. Biol Psychol, 82(3), pp. 227–233. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2009.08.001.
  38. Sambo, C.F. and Forster, B. (2009). An ERP investigation on visuotactile interactions in peripersonal and extrapersonal space: evidence for the spatial rule. J Cogn Neurosci, 21(8), pp. 1550–1559. doi:10.1162/jocn.2009.21109.
  39. Sambo, C.F., Gillmeister, H. and Forster, B. (2009). Viewing the body modulates neural mechanisms underlying sustained spatial attention in touch. Eur J Neurosci, 30(1), pp. 143–150. doi:10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.06791.x.
  40. Forster, B. and Pavone, E.F. (2008). Electrophysiological correlates of crossmodal visual distractor congruency effects: Evidence for response conflict. COGNITIVE AFFECTIVE & BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE, 8(1), pp. 65–73. doi:10.3758/CABN.8.1.65.
  41. Forster, B. and Eimer, M. (2007). Covert unimanual response preparation triggers attention shifts to effectors rather than goal locations. Neurosci Lett, 419(2), pp. 142–146. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2007.04.027.
  42. Forster, B., Eardley, A.F. and Eimer, M. (2007). Altered tactile spatial attention in the early blind. Brain Res, 1131(1), pp. 149–154. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2006.11.004.
  43. Van Velzen, J., Eardley, A.F., Forster, B. and Eimer, M. (2006). Shifts of attention in the early blind: An ERP study of attentional control processes in the absence of visual spatial information. NEUROPSYCHOLOGIA, 44(12), pp. 2533–2546. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2006.03.025.
  44. Forster, B. and Eimer, M. (2005). Vision and gaze direction modulate tactile processing in somatosensory cortex: evidence from event-related brain potentials. EXPERIMENTAL BRAIN RESEARCH, 165(1), pp. 8–18. doi:10.1007/s00221-005-2274-1.
  45. Forster, B. and Eimer, M. (2005). Covert attention in touch: Behavioral and ERP evidence for costs and benefits. PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY, 42(2), pp. 171–179. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.2005.00268.x.
  46. Eimer, M., Forster, B. and Vibel, J. (2005). Cutaneous saltation within and across arms: A new measure of the saltation illusion in somatosensation. Perception & Psychophysics, 67, pp. 458–468.
  47. Eimer, M., Forster, B., Van Velzen, J. and Prabu, G. (2005). Covert manual response preparation triggers attentional shifts: ERP evidence for the premotor theory of attention. Neuropsychologia, 43, pp. 957–966.
  48. Forster, B. and Elmer, M. (2004). The attentional selection of spatial and non-spatial attributes in touch: ERP evidence for parallel and independent processes. Biological Psychology, 66, pp. 1–20.
  49. Eimer, M., Forster, B., Fieger, A. and Harbich, S. (2004). Effects of hand posture on preparatory control processes and sensory modulations in tactile-spatial attention. Clinical Neurophysiology, 115, pp. 596–608.
  50. Bueti, B., Costantini, M., Forster, B. and Aglioti, S.M. (2004). Uni- and cross-modal temporal modulation of tactile extinction in right brain damaged patients. Neuropsychologia, 42, pp. 1689–1696.
  51. Forster, B., Elmer, M. and Van Velzen, J. (2003). Anterior and posterior attentional control systems use different spatial reference frames: ERP evidence from covert tactile-spatial orienting. Psychophysiology, 40, pp. 924–933.
  52. Forster, B. and Elmer, M. (2003). The spatial distribution of attentional selectivity in touch: Evidence from somatosensory ERP components Clinical. Neurophysiology, 114, pp. 1298–1396.
  53. Elmer, M. and Forster, B. (2003). Modulations of early somatosensory ERP components by transient and sustained spatial attention. Experimental Brain Research, 151, pp. 24–31.
  54. Elmer M, , Van Velzen, J., Forster, B. and Driver, J. (2003). Shifts of attention in light and in darkness: An ERP study of supramodal attentional control and crossmodal links in spatial attention. Cognitive Brain Research, 15, pp. 308–323.
  55. Aglioti, S.M., Fiorio, M., Forster, B. and Tinazzi, M. (2003). Temporal discrimination of cross-modal and unimodal stimuli in generalized dystonia. Neurology, 60, pp. 782–785.
  56. Forster, B., Cavina-Pratesi, C., Aglioti, S.M. and Berlucchi, G. (2002). Redundant target effect and intersensory facilitation from visual-tactile interactions in simple reaction time. Experimental Brain Research, 143, pp. 480–487.
  57. Forster, B., Van Velzen, J. and Eimer, M. (2002). Temporal dynamics of liberalized ERP components elicited during endogenous attentional shifts to relevant tactile events. Psychophysiology, 39, pp. 874–878.
  58. Forster, B. (2000). Interhemispheric transfer of colour and shape information in the presence and absence of the corpus callosum. Neuropsychologia, 38, pp. 32–45.
  59. Forster, B., Corballis, P.M. and Corballis, M.C. (2000). Effect of luminance on successiveness discrimination in the absence of the corpus callosum. Neuropsychologia, 38, pp. 441–450.
  60. Forster, B. and Corballis, M.C. (1998). Interhemispheric transmission times in the presence and absence of the forebrain commissures: effects of luminance and equiluminance. Neuropsychologia, 36, pp. 925–934.
  61. Forster, B., Gebhardt, R.P., Lindlar, K., Siemann, M. and Delius, J.J. (1996). Mental-rotation effect: A function of elementary stimulus discriminability? Perception, 25, pp. 1301–1316.