Learning to adaptively respond to cues in the environment that predict behaviourally relevant events is critical for survival. However, in the natural world, where animals are exposed to myriad sensory stimuli, learning the predictive value of cues is non-trivial. How do animals figure out which cues are predictive, and of what? This is called the credit assignment problem. Conceiving of this problem as statistical inference in the time domain offers a parsimonious account of animals’ learning abilities. In other words, when cues occur relative to meaningful events is what determines their information content, their usefulness, and thus, whether they warrant learning about. However, we still do not understand how the brain might keep track of times. We aim to reveal neural mechanisms for time by observing and manipulating neurophysiology in behaving rodents performing tasks that lead them to estimate intervals.
How the brain learns to do and when to do it
Behaviour, Neurobiology, Molecular biology and Mathematical modelling
Rodents, Basal Ganglia, Thalamus, Frontal areas of Cerebral Cortex
If you are interested in joining our group, please contact Joe Paton at the email address bellow.