General Area of Research Interactions between attention, perception, and memory in the brain and in behavior
How are percepts transformed to memories, and how do we use memory to guide perception and action? I study the mechanisms by which attention and perception allow us to remember the world around us, and how — once we have formed those memories — we can use them to guide our attention, perception, and goal-directed behavior in the future.
To address these questions, I rely on multiple methods that together give us a holistic understanding of behavior and the brain. These methods include behavioral studies of healthy young individuals, behavioral studies of healthy older adults, studies of patients with brain lesions (e.g., as a result of epilepsy, stroke, hypoxia, tumors), and high-resolution functional neuroimaging (fMRI) with advanced multi-voxel pattern analysis and functional connectivity techniques.
These methods have allowed me to answer questions such as: what is the role of "memory systems", like the hippocampus, in perception? How does attention modulate the hippocampus, and how does that affect what we remember later on? How does the brain learn and remember temporal structure in the world, and how does it use that structure to generate predictions about the future? Together, my research helps elucidate the multifaceted and inherently interactive nature of cognition, bringing us closer to understanding the whole of the mind and brain as well as its parts.
Attention promotes episodic encoding by stabilizing hippocampal representations.