The neural computations underlying perceptual decisions have been a central interest for psychology and cognitive neuroscience for decades but, to date, this work has largely focussed on decisions with just two potential outcomes. Yet, in daily life we make countless decisions along a continuous dimension and the precision of these choices is of critical importance, such as when judging the direction of a tennis ball or adjusting course to avoid obstacles while driving. How does the brain implement such decisions while balancing the need for speed and accuracy? Separate parallel breakthroughs in computational modelling and neural signal tracing now provide me with an unprecedented opportunity to address this challenge and gain a mechanistic understanding of continuous-outcome decisions. I will be trained in innovative electrophysiological methods recently developed by my proposed supervisor, which will allow me to trace neural markers of the decision process in the human brain using electroencephalography. These signals will provide powerful constraints on a new computational model for decisions on a continuum that I worked on at the University of Melbourne. My unique background and expertise will allow me to incorporate methods from psychology, neuroscience and engineering to develop a novel computational and experimental paradigm that stands to have a major impact on basic and clinical research in the field of decision making. In so doing, the work will create a collaboration and skill exchange between three highly complementary labs in Dublin and Melbourne. After several years abroad, I will have the opportunity to reintegrate into the scientific community in Ireland and establish vital collaborations with world-class neuroscientists and clinicians at the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience. The networks and skills I will develop will set me up to establish an independent program of research on neurally-informed computational models of decision making.
Field of science
- /social sciences/psychology
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/neurobiology
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/neurobiology/neuroscience/cognitive neuroscience
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/neurobiology/neuroscience
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