RESEARCH TOPICS

We study the high-level mechanisms of perceptual decision making from a number of different angles. Below are three of the main lines of research.


CONFIDENCE AND METACOGNITION

One particular topic of interest is how we decide on the fidelity of our own decisions. This is usually determined by collecting confidence ratings. The correspondence of these confidence ratings to our actual performance can be used as a measure of our metacognitive insight. We study both how (and where) this is done in the brain, and computational mechanisms used in determining one's level of confidence.
COMPUTATIONAL MODELS OF PERCEPTION

There are many reasons to study perception: it is fundamental for our ability to navigate our environment, it shapes who we are by gating the information that we become conscious of, and it is really cool. But for those of us who want a deeper understanding of how the brain functions, perception research offers us the ability to exert exquisite control over the stimuli and therefore allows us to build much more detailed models of the processing that the brain performs. We employ diverse modeling approaches in our quest to understand how decisions are made, based on what information, how optimal the computations are, and what content is lost as information passes through the different visual areas.


THE ROLE OF PREFRONTAL CORTEX IN PERCEPTION

Another focus of the lab is to understand the role of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in modulating aspects of normal perception. For example, PFC plays a critical role in directing endogenous attention, forming expectations, setting perceptual criteria, directing the tradeoff between speed and accuracy, and evaluating the fidelity of the perceptual decision made. Research directions include describing the functional anatomy of PFC as related to these processes and relating this organization to what is known about PFC organization in working memory, maintaining task sets, and action preparation.