Simon Cox

Henry Dale Fellow

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

Contact details



Room F1, Psychology Building

7 George Square, Edinburgh
Post code


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


I am Director of the The Lothian Birth Cohort Studies. These are Edinburgh-based follow-up studies of the Scottish Mental Surveys of 1932 and 1947. I am the Principal Investigator on the Age UK-funded Disconnected Mind project, and current Medical Research Council-funded wave of brain MRI scanning of the Lothian Birth Cohort Study 1936. 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, and was recently awarded a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship, jointly supported by Wellcome and the Royal Society. Click to the Research tab below for more information. A full list of publications can be found here.

Selected publications

Cox SR, Harris MA, Ritchie SJ, Buchanan CR, Valdés Hernández MC, Corley J, Taylor AM, Madole JW, Harris SE, Whalley HC, McIntosh AM, Russ TC, Bastin ME, Wardlaw JM, Deary IJ, Tucker-Drob EM. (in press). Three major dimensions of human brain cortical ageing in relation to cognitive decline across the 8th decade of life. Molecular Psychiatry

Deary IJ*, Cox SR*, Hill WD* (in press). Genetic variation, brain and intelligence differences. Molecular Psychiatry.

Alloza C, Blesa-Cábez M, Bastin ME, Madole JW, Buchanan CR, Joost J, Gibson J, Deary IJ, Tucker-Drob EM, Whalley HC, Arango C, Cox SR*, Lawrie SM* (2020).  Psychotic-like experiences, polygenic risk scores for schizophrenia and structural properties of the salience, default mode and central-executive networks in healthy participants from UK Biobank. Translational Psychiatry, 10:122.

Buchanan CR, Ritchie SJ, Liewald DC, Madole J, Tucker-Drob EM, Deary IJ, Bastin ME, Cox SR (2020). The effect of network thresholding and weighting on structural brain networks in the UK Biobank. NeuroImage, 211, 116443.

Harris SE, Cox SR, Bell S, Starr JM, Marioni RE, Tucker-Drob EM, Bastin ME, Wardlaw JM, Butterworth A, Deary IJ (2020). Neurology-related protein biomarkers are associated with general cognitive ability and brain structure in older age. Nature Communications, 11:800.

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. (2019). Associations between vascular risk factors and brain MRI indices in UK Biobank. European Heart Journal, 40:2290-2300

Cox SR, Ritchie SJ, Fawns-Ritchie C, Tucker-Drob EM, Deary IJ (2019). Structural brain imaging correlates of general intelligence in UK Biobank. Intelligence, 75:101376.

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, 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, 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.

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

Emily Wheater

Yeung Hon Wah

Eleanor Conole

Jure Mur

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)   Factors of biological ageing: does it all go together when it goes? (Wellcome and the Royal Society)