Bhoomika R. Kar‎ > ‎


Research Interests
  • Cognitive development (development of attentional processes, cognitive and affective control, cognitive aging and positivity bias/emotion regulation)
  • Bilingualism and cognitive control
  • Affective conflict adaptation
  • Anxiety and cognitive control
  • Cognitive disorders (Dyslexia, ADHD)
Current Research Projects

Affective control: affective conflict adaptation

Our research program on affective control focuses on conflict monitoring, adaptation, and proactive control in task relevant positive and negative emotions using the face-word Stroop task. Our studies suggest that affective conflict adaptation is modulated by the content of emotions with negative emotions recruiting greater proactive control driven by narrowing of attention and complexity of processing in case of negative emotion (Nigam, Srinivasan, & Kar, 2018; 2019)


Anxiety and cognitive control

One of our ongoing studies on trait anxiety and dynamic adjustments in control in healthy individuals using behavioural and EEG ERP methodology, as well as in those with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) with the AX-CPT task demonstrate that trait anxiety affects processing efficiency and flexible cognitive control. Pathological anxiety (GAD) affects context processing required to exercise proactive control. In the past we have also investigated attentional control in the context of emotion stimuli in individuals with subclinical depression and anxiety. 


Bilingualism and cognitive control

We study the interaction between bilingualism and cognitive control. We find that L1 proficiency extends itself to general-purpose cognitive control mechanisms whereas L2 proficiency contributes to bilingual language control. ERP studies using the visual identity negative priming paradigm with linguistic stimuli have shown early latencies and larger amplitudes for inhibitory control in case of L1 (Dash & Kar, 2020). We have also found default state proactive control and reduced proactive inhibition cost in high proficiency bilinguals using eye movement method (Singh & Kar, 2018). The sociolinguistic factors are found to moderate the interaction between bilingualism and inhibitory control (Thanissery, Parihar & Kar, 2020). We are currently investigating the neural mechanisms of the interaction between language and cognitive control networks using control tasks in fMRI.


Cognitive Development

Our current studies examine affective conflict adaptation across positive and negative emotions in children and adolescents as predicted by child’s temperament and family expressivity. Our current projects on cognitive development investigate shifts in proactive-reactive control strategies from preschool to middle childhood and its relationship with academic and learning outcomes. The other ongoing project aims to investigate the development of social emotional competence and its relationship with variations in executive function profiles, temperament and learning/academic outcome in children using behavioural paradigms. One of our current projects investigates the effect of obesity on inhibition and reward sensitivity in adolescents and adults using functional MRI and correlated neuroinflammatory markers.


Cognitive and affective ageing

We also study the effect of cognitive aging on control processes and emotion regulation in middle aged and older adults. We found that the effects of aging in older adults may result in difficulties in early stages of perceptual processing, inhibitory control and unsuccessful suppression of irrelevant stimuli leading to difficulties in memory consolidation Jain & Kar, 2014). In addition, our recent studies on emotional ageing find a shift in affective bias towards positive affect in middle aged and older adults through implicit adjustments in cognitive control (Nigam & Kar, 2021). We have examined emotional aging across the life span using behavioural experimentation as well as experience sampling. Our current studies focus on understanding the mechanisms and implications of such positive affect bias for cognitive aging with behavioural and fMRI studies.


Cognitive Disorders

Our studies on dyslexia have looked at phonological awareness in Hindi and English language, central auditory processing deficits and script dependent vs central processing deficits in dyslexia. We have also been a part of a large-scale project on development and standardization of a multilingual tool for Dyslexia assessment for language of India (DALI) (Rao et al., 2021). One of our major projects on children with ADHD offers a classification system based on cognitive-motivational functions that are specifically impaired in ADHD children. This study indicates that response inhibition, error monitoring, task switching, and motivational style show considerable promise for the differential classification of ADHD (Gupta, Kar & Srinivasan, 2011).


Research Collaborations

Prof. Chandan J. Vaidya, Georgetown University, Washington, USA
Prof. Michaela Riediger, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin
Prof. Gopikrishna Deshpande, Auburn University, USA
Prof. Nandini C. Singh, NBRC, MGIEP, UNESCO, India
Dr. Ark Verma, IIT Kanpur
Dr. Sumitava Mukherjee, IIT Delhi