Paul Hoffman


  • Psychology
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact details



Room S9, Psychology Building

7 George Square, Edinburgh
Post code



I completed a PhD in Cognitive Neuropsychology at the University of Manchester in 2008 and subsequently worked as a research fellow in the University's Neuroscience and Aphasia Research Unit. In 2013, I took up a six-month Visiting Scholar position at Stanford University before returning briefly to Manchester. In this year, I was also awarded the BNS Elizabeth Warrington Prize for outstanding early-career research.

In 2014, I came to Edinburgh as a Research Fellow in the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology and I am now a Reader in Psychology. I have served as Meetings Secretary of the British Neuropsychological Society and co-edited a special issue of the journal Neuropsychologia on the topic of semantic cognition.

A full list of my publications is available on my Google scholar page.

Undergraduate teaching

I am course organiser for Critical Analysis and a year 3 cohort lead

Postgraduate teaching

I am course organiser for Specialist Techniques in Cognitive Neuroscience

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

Past PhD students supervised

Grace Rice - Using neuroimaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation to probe conceptual knowledge in the right and left anterior temporal lobes, University of Manchester, 2012-2016 (co-supervised with Prof. Matt Lambon Ralph)

Loris Naspi - Characterising the effect of semantic and perceptual similarity in episodic memory. University of Edinburgh, 2018-2021 (co-supervised with Dr. Alexa Morcom)

Anke Lingscheid  - Effects of modality, administration and stimuli on picture descriptions in adults. University of Edinburgh, 2019-2022 (co-supervised with Dr. Thomas Bak)

Research summary

My research is concerned with the processes of semantic cognition – i.e., the ways in which we (a) maintain a store of conceptual knowledge about objects, words and people and (b) use executive control processes to access this information in a flexible, task-appropriate manner. I explore this using a variety of techniques, including:

  • Functional neuroimaging studies
  • Computational linguistic analyses
  • Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation in healthy subjects
  • Connectionist computational models
  • Neuropsychological investigations, primarily of patients with semantic dementia and semantic deficits following stroke