Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience
- Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator
- Associate Head for Research
Neural mechanisms of decision making and action selection
I am interested in how the brain makes decisions. Every day we make multiple choices about the best course of action to take in a variety of situations. My research is aimed at understanding the brain processes that allow us to work out how good the outcome of a choice might be and which allow us to make decisions between multiple choices.
I have a particular focus on the role played by areas of prefrontal and cingulate cortex. We have found that activity in these brain regions changes as a function of our expectations about how good a choice will be and when a decision is made.
When cognitive processes, such as those involved in decision-making, unfold they involve a number of different brain events. I am also interested in looking at the connexions between brain regions and the interactions they mediate during decision-making and attentional selection.
The lab's focus is on understanding how decision-making mechanisms work in the healthy brain. It is important to understand them because decision-making is such a fundamental aspect of our mental life. In addition, however, we think that some of these processes go awry when people suffer from psychological illnesses.