Hansem Sohn, Ph.D.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

I obtained my Ph.D. in neuroscience in South Korea, focusing on human vision and neuroimaging. I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at MIT, studying how the frontal cortex incorporates prior knowledge to optimize behaviors using electrophysiology in primates. My work broadly lies at the intersection of computational, cognitive and systems neuroscience. I have scientific and technical expertise in non-human primate electrophysiology, human EEG/fMRI and computational modeling of behavioral and neural data. I started my scientific career as an undergraduate participating in a project that analyzed EEG of psychiatric patients during cognitive tasks. I was fortunate to have the opportunity and now want to provide the same exciting research experience to fellows. Having experienced multiple disciplines — engineering, psychology and neuroscience — and different cultures as a first-generation immigrant, I endeavor to be a mentor who draws upon diverse experiences and provides multifaceted perspectives to fellows.

Principal Investigator: Mehrdad Jazayeri

Fellow: Sandy Wang

Mental simulation is one of the core cognitive functions that subserve decision making and planning across a variety of tasks. However, it has been difficult to tap into its underlying neural mechanisms due to its latent nature and lack of dynamic behavioral readout. In this project, we devised an interval timing task where subjects are asked to precisely respond when a ball reaches a target position in a maze. Crucially, we will monitor eye movements of subjects as a window into their mental simulations while the ball becomes invisible in the maze. This project currently involves human behavioral experiments and normative probabilistic modeling (e.g., Bayesian). It will be potentially extended to non-human primate electrophysiology and computational modeling with artificial neural networks, providing fellows with ample opportunities to experience diverse approaches.

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