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Christopher Summerfield


Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience

  • ERC Starter Investigator
  • Fellow of Wadham College

Neural and computational bases of human decision-making

Research SummarY

My work is concerned with understanding the neural and comptutational mechanisms that underlie human perception and cognition.  The main function of the nervous system is to select an appropriate action in response to incoming sensory information.  In my lab, we attempt to understand how this occurs by using simple judgment tasks in which participants view a visual stimulus and classify it into one of two categories (i.e. is this grating tilted leftwards or rightwards? Is this face male or female?).  We begin by measuring behaviour (choices and response times), eye movments and pupil diameter, and performing computer simulations to try to provide a mechanistic account of how information is transformed en route from sensation to action.  Subsequently, we record brain activity using electroencephalography (EEG) or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which can help validate the computational model and identify how it is implemented in the neural circuitry of the human brain.