Neural mechanisms of decision making
Description of Research Project:
Our lab is interested in understanding how the brain controls behavior. We approach this question by recording the electrical activity of neurons as subjects perform carefully-designed behavioral tasks, and electrophysiological techniques are augmented with optogenetics and computational analyses. Specifically, much of our work focuses on decision making tasks inspired by a wide-ranging set of models from psychology, neuroscience, economics, and ethology. Our primary focus is on how interactions between the hippocampus and cortical regions mediate these behaviors.
Description of Student Responsibilities:
Research assistants can contribute to a variety of projects currently underway in the lab. We have a several projects that revolve around designing, fabricating, and testing custom behavioral equipment that allow us to ask new experimental questions. This work involves learning to use CAD software to design and fabricate behavioral devices using in-house 3D printers. These projects will give students hands on experience with 3D printing and electronic sensor design for data collection in experimental settings. Completed behavioral devices will be validated experimentally, and then incorporated into new experiments that research assistants will help design and execute. We also interested in applying novel computational analyses to previously-collected data. This work will give students experience with state of the art deep neural network methods for analyzing behavioral and neural data. The results of these analyses will serve as preliminary data to aid the design of new experiments. Research assistants can help in the design and execution of new experiments that result from these exploratory data analysis projects.