Sophie Scott

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Sophie Scott
Sophie scott photo.jpeg
Scott in June 2014
Born 1966/1967 (age 50–51)[1]
Blackburn, England[1]
Nationality British
Occupation Neuroscientist
Employer University College London
Known for
  • Neuroscience research
  • stand-up comedy

Sophie Scott FMedSci (born 1966 or 1967)[1] is a British neuroscientist[2] and Wellcome Trust senior fellow at University College London (UCL), researching the neuroscience of voices, speech, and laughter. She is also Deputy Director of UCL's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.


Scott was born in Blackburn, England.[1] She received her PhD in Cognitive Science at UCL in 1994 and went on to work in Cambridge at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (formerly Applied Psychology Unit).[citation needed] She returned to UCL as a Research Fellow in 1998.[citation needed] She was awarded a Wellcome Trust Fellowship in 2001 and has been funded by them since. She currently holds a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship. She is a member of the British Psychological Society, the Society for Neuroscience, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the Experimental Psychology Society.[citation needed] She was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2012.


Professor Scott is head of the Speech Communication Group at UCL's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. Her research investigates the neural basis of vocal communication – how our brains process the information in speech and voices,[3] and how our brains control the production of our voice.[4] Within this, her research covers the roles of streams of processing in auditory cortex, hemispheric asymmetries,[5] and the interaction of speech processing with attentional and working memory factors. Other interests include individual differences in speech perception and plasticity in speech perception, since these are important factors for people with cochlear implants. She is also interested in the expression of emotion in the voice.[6] In particular, research in recent years has focused on the neuroscience of laughter.[7]

Public engagement[edit]

Scott is known for her public engagement work, including performing standup comedy,[8] and was featured in a September 2013 edition of the BBC Radio Four programme The Life Scientific.[9] In March 2014, she was invited to give a Friday Evening Discourse at the Royal Institution on the science of laughter.[10] Her work on laughter has also toured science fairs and exhibitions as part of the Laughter_lab project. She has been awarded a UCL Provost's Award for Public Engagement.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d Wolfe, Alexandra (15 May 2015). "Sophie Scott and the Science of Laughter". The Wall Street Journal. Dr. Scott, 48 ... Born in Blackburn, England" 
  2. ^ "UCL Staff: Sophie Scott". University College London. 
  3. ^ Scott, S. K., Blank, S. C., Rosen, S., Wise, R. J. S. (2000). Identification of a pathway for intelligible speech in the left temporal lobe. Brain 123(12), 2400–2406 doi:10.1093/brain/123.12.2400.
  4. ^ Blank, S. C., Scott, S. K., Murphy, K., Warburton, E., Wise, R. J. S. (2002). Speech production: Wernicke, Broca and beyond. BRAIN 125, 1829–1838.
  5. ^ McGettigan, C., Scott, S.K. (2012). Cortical asymmetries in speech perception: what's wrong, what's right, and what's left? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16 (5), 269-276.
  6. ^ Sauter, D. A., Eisner, F., Ekman, P., Scott, S. K. (2010). Cross-cultural recognition of basic emotions through nonverbal emotional vocalizations. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107(6), 2408–2412 doi:10.1073/pnas.0908239106.
  7. ^ McGettigan, C., Walsh, E.,Jessop, R., Agnew, Z.K., Sauter, D.A., Warren, J.E., Scott, S.K. (2012) Individual Differences in Laughter Perception Reveal Roles for Mentalizing and Sensorimotor Systems in the Evaluation of Emotional Authenticity. Cerebral Cortex, doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht227
  8. ^ "Academics Making Forays Into Stand-Up Comedy", [1]The New York Times, December 19, 2010. Retrieved on 23 June 2014
  9. ^ "The Life Scientific, Sophie Scott". BBC. 2013-09-24. Retrieved 2014-06-24. 
  10. ^ Sophie Scott (11 June 2014). The Science of Laughter. The Royal Institution. 
  11. ^ "Provost's Awards for Public Engagement". University College London. 30 January 2013. 

External links[edit]