High-field neuroimaging of computational processes that drive cognitive control.
How do humans control their thoughts and actions, and what can high-field brain scanning reveal about the underlying processes?
To reach our goals we have to control our behavior in response to a constantly changing environment. Cognitive control refers to the ability to choose the optimal strategy for the situation at hand: should we exploit (i.e. ‘stay’) or explore (i.e. ‘go’) to acquire what we need? It has been shown that the processes that underlie this ability are driven by complex interactions between frontal and striatal neural systems, which are modulated by dopamine and other neurotransmitters. In this project, we will investigate the flexibility of these control mechanisms and the individual differences herein. By using high-field (7T) imaging, we will be able to identify the specific brain regions in each individual separately, which in turn allows us measure the relevant neurocognitive systems in tasks that are tapping into cognitive control, including task switching, decision-making, and reasoning.