Overall Title of Project:
External and internal influences on decision-making
Major areas of Neuroscience in which these projects are located:
Cognitive neuroscience, neurophysiology
This line of research is aimed at elucidating how decisions to act or to choose between options are reached and what variables affect such decision making. We record scalp potentials with EEG from human participants making decisions under various conditions to better understand changes in the activity of neural circuits in the prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex that contribute to aspects of the decision making process. A growing body of evidence suggests that some executive processes monitor several variables including task difficulty, presence of unexpected events/information and unwanted results while other executive processes make use of this information to improve subsequent decisions. The present projects focus on how changes in one's expectations affect rapid decisions between acting and withholding an action.
Two to thee students may work as part of a team. Students need to be able to coordinate their schedules in coordination with me and the other students. Research assistants will be expected to work with participants and collect high quality EEG data, read pertinent literature and participate in lab meetings. Students with extra interest and motivation will have many opportunities to expand their experience and skills, including experimental design, writing new measures and stimulus materials, analyzing data, and participating in writing research articles.
Students highly motivated to continue with research have an opportunity to participate further in subsequent semesters and to design your own research problems. Some of these projects could easily lead to honors theses.
Time commitment requested:
4-10 hours per week
Dates of project:
Qualifications of students:
Junior/senior neuroscience major. I prefer students who have taken NSCI 319 or PSYC 305 in preparation for doing research in this project area. You must be willing to assist less experienced students in the project.
First or second year student considering science. Students should be energetic and enthusiastic about research. Working with participants and research colleagues requires organization, punctuality and responsibility. Completion of NSCI 201/204 is a plus. Most important is the desire to learn more about neuroscience and research.
Expressions of interest in a research position can be made via an email message explaining the applicant's interest and qualifications for the position. Initial contact is best if made well before registration in the spring for fall semester and in the fall for spring semester. Summer and Winter Term opportunities are also possible.
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