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Humans exert control over thoughts and actions

Research Achievements

Humans exert control over thoughts and actions

Humans are able to exert considerable control over thoughts and actions: inhibiting habitual but situationally inappropriate actions, selectively attending goal-relevant aspects of the environment, maintaining information in short-term memory to coordinate demanding cognitive activities, and regulating automatic but maladaptive emotional responses. Moreover, breakdowns in these functions are associated with some of the more severe neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, depression and Alzheimer’s Disease. Students in the CCSN pathway that work with Deanna Barch and Todd Braver explore these issues through a wide-range of methodologies, including functional brain imaging, computational modeling, psychophysiology, behavioral analysis, and comparison of special populations. The CCSN pathway further broadens the perspective of students by exposing them to complementary perspectives from animal neurophysiological research and computational neurosciences approaches.