Our research uses neuroimaging, patient neuropsychology, and eye-tracking to address the following theoretical issues:
Neural Representations of Space and Time
When we remember the past, our memories typically include the place where an event occurred and the sequence of events that unfolded over time. Space and time are critical features of our memories, yet little is known about how the brain, and in particular the human hippocampus, supports these aspects of memories. Our research aims to understand how space and time are represented separately in the human brain and how they are integrated into cohesive memory episodes.
The human hippocampus is traditionally thought of as a brain region that solely supports memory. However, there has been increasing interest in how this neural structure supports other cognitive processes, such as approach-avoidance conflict learning. When approaching a positive goal (e.g., food) in the face of a simultaneous negative consequence (e.g., a predator) the brain rapidly calculates the optimal way to address (i.e., either to approach or avoid) the situation.
Our goal is to understand how different subregions within the hippocampus support different aspects of the decision-making process to better understand how and why maladaptive behaviours may arise.
Memory, Perception, and Interference
Distracting information that you have experienced in the past can alter your memories, and surprisingly, can also alter your current perception of what is right in front of you. Our lab focuses on understanding how the brain deals with exposure to distracting information (i.e., interference) and how memory and perception become altered as a result.
Our research also focuses on understanding the circumstances under which regions of the brain that are traditionally thought to be dedicated memory regions also play a role in perception. In particular, we aim to understand what types of representational content they support.
Memory loss is a common and debilitating syndrome that occurs after traumatic head injury, viral illness, or as a result of dementia such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). One of the goals of our research, therefore, is to understand how memories are represented in the human brain, and importantly, how these memory processes can be disrupted following brain damage. Moreover, we seek to understand whether dysfunction in brain regions that typically produce memory loss result in other less obvious cognitive deficits, such as conflict resolution and perception.