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Dynamic directed functional connectivity of causal learning

Objective

Humans have an extraordinary capacity to infer cause-effect relations and form beliefs about the causal effect of actions. This ability provides the basis for rational decision-making and allows people to engage in meaningful life and social interactions. In fact, alterations of cognitive processes involved in causal learning have been found in patients affected by psychiatric disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia and addiction. The formation of causal beliefs relies on learning rules determined by the contingency between actions and outcomes. Although fronto-striatal areas are known to be involved in the cogntive architecture of causal beliefs, it is still unknown how these brain regions interact to learn causal structures. This project aims to unravel the link between functional brain networks and causal reasoning. We hypothesize that causal representation are implemented in a dynamic distributed network of directed functional interactions between brain regions and that this network is shaped by learning. We will characterize the modulations of brain circuits involved in learning phases as well as the brain networks responsible of internal representations of contingency values and associated uncertainty. We are going to pursue these two aims by analyzing magneto-encephalografic and intracranial electro-encephalographic data collected during a causal reasoning task. We will use state-of-the-art methods for dynamic directed connectivity estimation. In addition, we will develop machine learning pipelines to found those subnetworks that implement the cognitive architecture of causal learning. Overall, we will be able to understand whether causal learning and the psychological internal variables predicted by rational theories are reflected in dynamically changing directional influences in whole-brain circuits.
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Coordinator

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS

Address

Rue Michel Ange 3
75794 Paris

France

Activity type

Research Organisations

EU Contribution

€ 196 707,84

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 841684

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 June 2019

  • End date

    31 May 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 196 707,84

  • EU contribution

    € 196 707,84

Coordinated by:

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS

France