Princeton neuroscientists to explore how human brain accomplishes real-world tasks

Published on November 14, 2012 at 6:35 AM · No Comments
  • How do we exert self-control over impulses, such as resisting the urge to scratch a mosquito bite or the temptation to cheat on a diet? (Led by Cohen and Matthew Botvinick, associate professor of psychology and PNI)
  • How does the brain manage and remember goals and competing subgoals? For example, if you need to study for a test, how do you decide how long to spend studying each of the particular topics that may be on the test? (Led by Botvinick and Yael Niv, assistant professor of psychology and PNI)
  • What goes into prospective memory and planning? For example, how do we decide when to commit a plan to long-term memory and return to it later, rather than keep it actively in mind? (Led by Kenneth Norman, associate professor of psychology and PNI and Cohen)
  • How do we balance goal-directed behavior with discovery and learning? When immersed in achieving a goal such as completing a homework assignment, how do we decide to postpone that goal in favor of exploring and learning about other things - for example, going to a seminar rather than completing the homework assignment? (Led by Cohen and Niv)
  • How can we improve on the machine-learning algorithms that take brain scans and decode what people are thinking about at a particular time? (Led by Norman and Cohen)

Support from the foundation will enable researchers to move away from simplified models of human behavior that neuroscientists use because they are relatively easier to study in the laboratory and interpret than the complicated behaviors of real life. "The grant will enable Princeton researchers to design experiments that are much closer to what goes on in the real world," Cohen said.

Source: Princeton University

Posted in: Medical Science News | Medical Research News

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