Our daily lives can be viewed as a series of actions. Some of them, like driving home, are well-rehearsed and habitual, while others, such as learning how to play a new sport, require goal-directed attention. We know intuitively that these different types of actions require different mental resources. For instance, while you could easily sing along with the radio while driving home, you probably wouldn’t manage it quite as well on your first day on the tennis court. This fact may seem trivial, but it raises many different questions as to how are these differences reflected on the level of the brain; Are habitual and goal-directed actions controlled by the same or different neural processes? How does the brain learn to perform new actions? What happens if the neural circuits that underlie action initiation or termination malfunction?

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Main Interests

How the brain generates and selects actions

Methods

Optogenetics, electrophysiology, behaviour.

Models and Regions

Rodents; Humans / Basal Ganglia; Orbitofrontal Cortex

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