Dr Daniel Mitchell

Daniel Mitchell

University position

Senior Investigator Scientist

Dr Daniel Mitchell is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit



Home page


Research Theme

Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience


My research focuses on visual object representations in the human brain. I am interested in the flexible nature of such representations, their limited capacity and resolution in perception, visual working memory, and imagery, and their links with selective attention. These issues are explored in human cognition using a combination of behavioural experiments and neuroimaging (currently fMRI, and MEG).

% BOLD signal change associated with the limited number of objects encoded in a visual working memory task. Mean functional activity is overlaid on horizontal sections through an average TI-weighted MNI template brain. Positive signal is seen across a bilateral network of regions, peaking towards the posterior end of the intraparietal sulcus.
BOLD signal change associated with the limited number of objects encoded in a visual working memory task. Mean functional activity is overlaid on horizontal sections through a template brain. Positive signal is seen across a bilateral network of regions, peaking towards the posterior end of the intraparietal sulcus, where similar capacity-limited activity is also seen in the absence of a working memory task (Mitchell & Cusack, 2008).
Click image to view full-size

Research Focus







Clinical conditions

No direct clinical relevance


Behavioural analysis

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Magnetoencephalography (MEG)


No collaborators listed

Associated News Items

    Key publications

    Mitchell DJ, Mousley ALS, Shafto MA, Cam-CAN, Duncan J (2023), “Neural contributions to reduced fluid intelligence across the adult lifespan” J Neurosci 43(2):293-307 PDF

    Wen T, Duncan J, Mitchell DJ (2020), “Hierarchical representation of multi-step tasks in multiple-demand and default mode networks” J Neurosci 40(40):7724-7738 PDF

    Wen T, Duncan J, Mitchell DJ (2019), “The time-course of component processes of selective attention” NeuroImage 199:396-407 PDF

    Mitchell DJ, Cam-CAN, Cusack R (2018), “Visual short-term memory through the lifespan: Preserved benefits of context and metacognition” Psychology and Aging 33(5), 841-854 PDF

    Duncan J, Chylinski D, Mitchell DJ, Bhandari A (2017), “Complexity and compositionality in fluid intelligence” PNAS DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1621147114 PDF

    Mitchell DJ, Bell AH, Buckley MJ, Mitchell AS, Sallet J, Duncan J (2016), “A Putative Multiple-Demand System in the Macaque Brain” J Neurosci. 36(33):8574-85 PDF

    Mitchell DJ, Cusack R (2016), “Semantic and emotional content of imagined representations in human occipitotemporal cortex” Scientific Reports 6:20232 PDF

    Mitchell DJ, Cusack R (2011), “The temporal evolution of electromagnetic markers sensitive to the capacity limits of visual short-term memory.” Front Hum Neurosci 5:18 PDF Details

    Mitchell DJ, Cusack R (2008), “Flexible, capacity-limited activity of posterior parietal cortex in perceptual as well as visual short-term memory tasks.” Cereb Cortex 18(8):1788-98 PDF Details



    Kadohisa M, Kusunoki M, Mitchell DJ, Bhatia C, Buckley MJ, Duncan J (2023), “Frontal and temporal coding dynamics in successive steps of complex behavior” Neuron 111: 1-14 PDF

    Lugtmeijer S, Geerligs L, Tsvetanov KA, Mitchell DJ, Cam-CAN, Campbell KL (2023), “Lifespan differences in visual short-term memory load-modulated functional connectivity” NeuroImage https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2023.119982


    MacGregor LJ, Gilbert RA, Balewski Z, Mitchell DJ, Erzinclioglu SW, Rodd JM, Duncan J, Fedorenko E, Davis MH (2022), “Causal Contributions of the Domain-General (Multiple Demand) and the Language-Selective Brain Networks to Perceptual and Semantic Challenges in Speech Comprehension” Neurobiology of Language 3 (4): 665-698

    O’Brien S, Mitchell DJ, Duncan J, Holmes J (2022), “Cognitive segmentation and fluid reasoning in childhood” Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology https://doi.org/10.1177/17470218221116054

    Smith V, Pinasco C, Achterberg J, Mitchell DJ, Das T, Roca M, Duncan J (2022), “Fluid intelligence and naturalistic task impairments after focal brain lesions” Cortex 146: 106-115


    Smith V, Duncan J, Mitchell DJ (2021), “Roles of the Default Mode and Multiple-Demand Networks in Naturalistic versus Symbolic Decisions” Journal of Neuroscience 41(10): 2214-2228 PDF


    Pelekanos V, Premereur E, Mitchell DJ, Chakraborty S, Mason S, Lee ACH, Mitchell AS. (2020), “Cortico-cortical and thalamocortical changes in functional connectivity and white matter structural integrity after reward-guided learning of visuospatial discriminations in rhesus monkeys” J Neurosci 41(41):7887-7901

    Wen T, Mitchell DJ, Duncan J (2020), “The Functional Convergence and Heterogeneity of Social, Episodic, and Self-Referential Thought in the Default Mode Network” Cerebral Cortex 30(11):5915–5929 PDF


    Shashidhara S, Mitchell DJ, Erez Y, Duncan J (2019), “Progressive Recruitment of the Frontoparietal Multiple-demand System with Increased Task Complexity, Time Pressure, and Reward” J Cogn Neurosci 31(11):1617-1630

    Smith V, Mitchell DJ, Duncan J (2019), “The effect of rule retrieval on activity in the default mode network” NeuroImage 202:116088 PDF


    Ainsworth M, Browncross H, Mitchell DJ, Mitchell AS, Passingham RE, Buckley MJ, Duncan J, Bell AH (2018), “Functional reorganisation and recovery following cortical lesions: A preliminary study in macaque monkeys” Neuropsychologia 119:382-391 PDF

    Smith V, Mitchell DJ, Duncan J (2018), “Role of the Default Mode Network in Cognitive Transitions” Cerebral Cortex PDF

    Wen T, Mitchell DJ, Duncan J (2018), “Response of the multiple-demand network during simple stimulus discriminations” NeuroImage 177:79-87 PDF


    Tschentscher N, Mitchell DJ, Duncan J (2017), “Fluid intelligence predicts novel rule implementation in a distributed frontoparietal control network” Journal of Neuroscience 37(18): 4841-4847 PDF

    Veldsman M, Mitchell DJ, Cusack R (2017), “The neural basis of precise visual short-term memory for complex recognisable objects” NeuroImage 159: 131-145 PDF


    Crittenden BM, Mitchell DJ, Duncan J (2016), “Task Encoding across the Multiple Demand Cortex Is Consistent with a Frontoparietal and Cingulo-Opercular Dual Networks Distinction” J Neurosci 36(23):6147-55 PDF

    Muhle-Karbe PS, Duncan J, De Baene W, Mitchell DJ, Brass M (2016), “Neural Coding for Instruction-Based Task Sets in Human Frontoparietal and Visual Cortex” Cereb Cortex doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhw032


    Crittenden BM, Mitchell DJ, Duncan J (2015), “Recruitment of the default mode network during a demanding act of executive control” eLife Sciences 4(4) PDF

    Cusack R, Vicente-Grabovetsky A, Mitchell DJ, Wild CJ, Auer T, Linke A, Peelle JE (2015), “Automatic analysis (aa): efficient neuroimaging workflows and parallel processing using Matlab and XML” Frontiers in Neuroinformatics 8

    Duncan J, Mitchell DJ (2015), “Training refines brain representations for multitasking” PNAS 112(46): 14127-14128

    Finoia P, Mitchell DJ, Hauk O, Beste C, Pizzella V, Duncan J (2015), “Concurrent brain responses to separate auditory and visual targets” Journal of Neurophysiology 114(2):1239–1247 PDF


    Kievit RA, Davis SW, Mitchell DJ, Taylor JR, Duncan J, Cam-CAN Research team, Henson RN, Cam-CAN Research team (2014), “Distinct aspects of frontal lobe structure mediate age-related differences in fluid intelligence and multitasking.” Nat Commun 5:5658 Details


    Farooqui AA, Mitchell D, Thompson R, Duncan J (2012), “Hierarchical organization of cognition reflected in distributed frontoparietal activity.” J Neurosci 32(48):17373-81 Details


    Cusack R, Veldsman M, Naci L, Mitchell DJ, Linke AC (2011), “Seeing different objects in different ways: Measuring ventral visual tuning to sensory and semantic features with dynamically adaptive imaging.” Hum Brain Mapp Details


    Linke AC, Vicente-Grabovetsky A, Mitchell DJ, Cusack R (2010), “Encoding strategy accounts for individual differences in change detection measures of VSTM.” Neuropsychologia Details


    Cusack R, Lehmann M, Veldsman M, Mitchell DJ (2009), “Encoding strategy and not visual working memory capacity correlates with intelligence.” Psychon Bull Rev 16(4):641-7 Details

    Cusack R, Mitchell DJ, Duncan J (2009), “Discrete Object Representation, Attention Switching, and Task Difficulty in the Parietal Lobe.” J Cogn Neurosci Details