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Jill O`Reilly


MRC Career Development Fellow

  • Associate Professor
Computer models of thought, behaviour and brain activity

In systems neuroscience, research typically categorizes brain structures in terms of their involvement in psychological processes (such as foraging, exploration, and attention) that describe the behaviour of the whole animal.

Yet at the cells- and circuits- level, there is no 'behaviour' per se, and neural processing is instead studied in terms of computations and the representation of information.

Therefore in order to understand the relationship between neural circuits and behaviour, it necessary to re-conceptualize psychological/behavioural constructs in terms of their constituent computations, and localize these computations, rather than behaviours, to specific neural structures and circuits.

The overarching aim of our research is to begin to develop a new taxonomy of cognitive processes in terms of their constituent computations, and to deliver models of computationally-specialized brain systems that are specified at the neural circuits level but at the same time make testable predictions about both behaviour and systems-level brain activity.

At least, that's the ultimate goal! In the mean time, you have to start somewhere...

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