Neural Circuits & Computations for Behavior

Animals are capable of complex behaviors and cognitive functions. What fundamental neural computations underlie them, and how are these computations implemented by circuits in the brain? Our research attempts to answer these questions.
Currently, a central focus of our work is to understand how the brain implements the selection of one alternative among many, to allow animals to pay attention to the most important information at any instant. This ability to attend 'appropriately' is critical for adaptive behavior, and abnormalilites in this ability are a prominent symptom of several psychiatric disorders such as ADHD, autism and schizophrenia. By identifying the principles of circuit organization and function that underlie selection for attention, we wish to discover new, specific treatment targets to combat attentional dysfunction. We expect that the principles
that we identify will shed light also on how the brain implements selection in a range of other complex cognitive behaviors such as decision-making and perceptual discrimination.
In parallel, we also wish to uncover how different species neurally solve the problem of selection: do they do it in the same way or do their brain circuits implement selection differently?
Finally, we are interested in using insights from neurobiology to design efficient, artificial intelligent systems.


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