My research is focused on using computational approaches from reinforcement learning and decision making to reframe the study of emotion and to understand the function of the mesolimbic circuits, especially the amygdala, in both health and disease.
Redefining the role of the amygdala in reinforcement learning
Emotion and decision making are typically thought of as separate psychological processes. This dichotomy has also shaped our thinking about which parts of the brain contribute to reinforcement learning. The amygdala which is conceived as contributing to emotion, is usually not thought to play a role in value guided decision making - especially in comparison to the roles ascribed to the ventral striatum, orbitofrontal cortex, or dopamine.
Research in my laboratory at Oregon Health & Science University is focused on understanding the role of the amygdala in reinforcement learning and decision making, beyond signaling of Pavlovian value or the coordination of emotional responses.
I am currently recruiting for a postdoctoral position in my laboratory.