Assembling Information to Guide Decisions: When It Works, and How It Can Go Wrong

  • Speaker
  • Anne K. Churchland, Ph.D.University of California, Los Angeles
Date & Time

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Difficult decisions often rely on multiple sources of information, especially when each source individually is somewhat unreliable. In this lecture, Anne Churchland will discuss her lab’s discovery that rodents – like humans – understand when multiple sources of information bear on the same decision. Further, both species are skilled at figuring out the reliability of each information source and letting each piece of information appropriately guide the decision. She hypothesizes that similar brain circuits support these clever decisions in both rodents and humans and fail in similar ways during bad choices. Her team’s measurements of neural activity during decision-making are beginning to reveal which brain areas are involved and how neurons within those areas perform the computations needed to guide skilled decisions.

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About the Speaker

Churchland is a professor in neurobiology and the Arnold Scheibel Chair of Neuroscience at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. She combines experimental work with analysis and theoretical modeling to understand the neural circuits that perform the computations supporting decision-making. She is a co-founder of the International Brain Laboratory, serves on the advisory committee to the director of the National Institutes of Health and was a member of the BRAIN2.0 Working Group for the BRAIN Initiative.

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