Attention & Memory
Attention and memory are intricately linked: what we attend to strongly influences what we remember later on. We study the mechanisms by which attention influences neural systems like the hippocampus — systems that are integral for the formation of long-term memory. We also investigate the flip side of the coin: how we can use long-term memory to influence our attentional states.
Perception & Memory
Perception and memory have traditionally been treated as separate in the brain, but we now know that they are tightly linked. The same systems that perceive information are also important for remembering it, and traditional "memory systems" are also critical for perception. We study the interplay between perception and memory in behavior and in the brain.
One of the benefits of memory is being able to use the past to inform predictions about the future. We study how we use memory to anticipate upcoming events, the mechanisms by which this happens in the brain, and the consequences of prediction for ongoing behavior.
We emphasize an integrative approach that uses multiple methods to arrive at a comprehensive picture of the brain and behavior. This includes behavioral studies, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and neuropsychological studies of patients with brain lesions due to stroke, tumors, epilepsy, anoxia, or neurological disorders. Computational modeling and other techniques of measuring brain activity (e.g., EEG or intracranial EEG) are also useful for shedding insight on the questions we tackle. Finally, we are starting work with pharmacological manipulations (of cholinergic and dopaminergic systems) to determine how neurotransmitter systems bias information processing in the brain to influence behavior.