Professor of Neurosurgery
Appointed McNair Scholar March 2023
The central goal of my lab is to use recordings of brain activity in humans to understand the neural basis of cognition, especially as it relates to rewards. Our research questions include goals of understanding the neural basis of self-control, value assignment and comparison, learning and curiosity. It also includes understanding social interactions, including strategic ones, and abstract thought. We have a major focus on constructs related to psychiatric illness, especially depression, anxiety and addiction. We are especially interested in the anterior and posterior cingulate cortices, orbitofrontal cortex and hippocampus.
Our lab’s research direction is distinguished by a focus on naturalistic decisions. This includes reliance on foraging theory as an intellectual foundation. It also includes a focus on understanding behavior within its naturalistic context – this includes free movement, video games, continuous decisions and virtual reality. As a consequence of our focus on naturalistic contexts, we spent a good deal of time and effort using state-of-the-art statistic methods to draw powerful inferences about latent factors leading to behavior and neural computations.