Simon Cox

Senior Research Fellow

  • Lothian Birth Cohort Studies group
  • Psychology
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact details



Office F1

7 George Square, Edinburgh
Post code


  • Office Hours are generally 9am to 5pm, but please contact me to make an appointment.


I am based in the Lothian Birth Cohort Studies group, within the Psychology Department. I am the Principal Investigator on the current Medical Research Council-funded wave of brain MRI scanning of the Lothian Birth Cohort Study 1936, and a Co-Investigator on the Age UK-funded Disconnected Mind project. I work with UK Biobank neuroimaging data as part of my Co-I involvement on a 5-year NiH grant to investigate the brain's structural connectome with respect to cognitive function, health, and genes. I am also a contributing scientist to the Sackler Centre for Developmental Psychobiology and to the new Theirword Edinburgh Birth Cohort. Click to the Research tab below for more information. A full list of publications can be found here.

Selected publications

Cox SR, Lyall DM, Ritchie SJ, Bastin ME, Harris MA, Buchanan CR, Fawns-Ritchie C, Barbu MC, de Nooij L, Reus LM, Alloza C, Shen X, Neilson E, Alderson HL, Hunter S, Liewald DC, Whalley HC, McIntosh AM, Lawrie SM, Pell JP, Tucker-Drob EM, Wardlaw JM, Gale CR, Deary IJ. (in press). Associations between vascular risk factors and brain MRI indices in UK Biobank. European Heart Journal doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehz100

Cox SR, Ritchie SJ, Allerhand M, Hagenaars SP, Radakovic R, Breen D, Davies G, Riha R, Starr JM, Deary IJ. (in press). Sleep and cognitive ageing in the 8th decade of life. Sleep doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsz019

Cox SR, Bastin ME, Ritchie SJ, Dickie DA, Liewald DC, Muñoz Maniega S, Redmond P, Royle NA, Pattie A, Valdés Hernández MC, Corley J, Aribisala BS, McIntosh AM, Wardlaw JM, Deary IJ. (in press). Brain cortical characteristics of lifetime cognitive ageing. Brain Structure and Function doi: 10.1007/s00429-017-1505-0

Corley J, Cox SR, Deary IJ (2017). Healthy cognitive ageing in the Lothian Birth Cohort studies: marginal gains not magic bullet. Psychological Medicine, 9, 1-21.

Cox SR, Ritchie SJ, Dickie DA, Pattie A, Royle NA, Corley J, Aribisala BS, Harris SE, Valdés Hernández MC, Gow AJ, Muñoz Maniega S, Starr JM, Bastin ME, Wardlaw JM, Deary IJ. (2017). Interaction of APOE e4 and poor glycaemic control predicts white matter hyperintensity growth from 73-76 years. Neurobiology of Aging, 54, 54-58.

Cox SR*, Ritchie SJ*, Tucker-Drob EM, Liewald DC, Hagenaars SP, Davies G, Wardlaw JM, Gale CR, Bastin ME Deary IJ. (2016). Ageing and brain white matter structure in 3513 UK Biobank participants. Nature Communications, 7:13629.

Cox SR, Dickie DA, Ritchie SJ, Karama S, Pattie A, Royle NA, Corley J, Aribisala BS, Valdés Hernández MC, Muñoz Maniega S, Starr JM, Bastin ME, Evans AC, Wardlaw JM, Deary IJ. (2016). Associations between education and brain structure at age 73 years, adjusted for age 11 IQ. Neurology, 87, 1820-1826.

Deary IJ, Cox SR, Ritchie SJ. (2016). Getting Spearman off the skyhook: One more in a century (since Thomson, 1916) of attempts to vanquish g. Response to Kovacs and Conway. Psychological Inquiry, 27, 192-199.

Cox SR, MacPherson SE, Ferguson KJ, Royle NA, Muñoz Maniega S, Bastin ME, MacLullich AMJ, Wardlaw JM & Deary IJ. (2015). Does white matter or hippocampal volume mediate associations between cortisol and cognitive ageing? Psychoneuroendocrinology, 62,129-137.

Cox SR, Bastin ME, Ferguson KJ, Munoz Maniega S, MacPherson SE, Deary IJ, Wardlaw JM & MacLullich AMJ (2015). Brain white matter integrity and cortisol in older men: the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936. Neurobiology of Aging, 36,257-264.

Cox SR, Bastin ME, Ferguson KJ, Allerhand M, Royle NA, Muñoz Maniega S, Starr JM, MacLullich AMJ, Wardlaw JM, Deary IJ and MacPherson SE. (2015). Compensation or inhibitory failure? Testing hypotheses of age-related frontal lobe involvement in verbal memory ability using structural and diffusion MRI. Cortex, 63, 4-15.

Cox SR, MacPherson SE, Ferguson KJ, Nissan J, Royle NA, MacLullich AJM, Wardlaw, JM & Deary IJ (2014). Correlational structure of frontal tests and intelligence indicates two components with asymmetrical neurostructural correlates in old age. Intelligence, 46,94-106 

Cox SR, Ferguson KJ, Royle NA, Shenkin SD, MacPherson SE, MacLullich AMJ, Deary IJ & Wardlaw JM (2014). A systematic review of manual frontal lobe parcellation techniques in magnetic resonance imaging. Brain Structure and Function, 219(1): 1-22.

Books and book chapters

Della Sala S, MacPherson SE, Cox SR, Girardi A & Iveson M. Handbook of Frontal Lobe Assessment (2015). Oxford University Press, Oxford UK.

MacPherson SE & Cox SR (2017). The frontal ageing hypothesis: evidence from normal ageing and dementia In: The Handbook of Gerontology Research Methods: Understanding Successful Ageing, Riby, L (Ed). Routledge Psychology Press, UK.

Research summary

I am interested in how the brain facilitates complex cognitive abilities, how the structure and function of brain networks can be measured and how potential determinants of cognitive ageing might alter their composition, integrity and functioning. Ongoing projects include:


Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 - Brain Imaging and Cognitive Ageing (Medical Research Council)

Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 - The Disconnected Mind Phase 4 (Age UK)

Evaluating longitudinal changes in the human structural connectome in relation to cognitive ageing (US National Institute on Aging R01)

Lifecourse of Place - how environments throughout life can support healthy ageing (Economic and Social Research Council)