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Psychology Colloquium with Andrea Stocco, PhD
WhenWednesday, Sep 26, 2018, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Campus locationPhysics / Astronomy Auditorium (PAA)
Campus roomA114
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsDepartment of Psychology……

Andrea Stocco, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
University of Washington

The Role of the Basal Ganglia in the Human Cognitive Architecture: From Neural Circuits to Large-Scale Neuroimaging Data

The basal ganglia are one of the most studied circuits of the brain, playing a critical role in domains as diverse as motor control, language, memory, and decision-making. Multiple accounts of the basal ganglia’s role in human cognition have been put forward, but none can account well for the diversity of functions that involve this circuit. In this talk, Dr. Stocco will present a unifying theory of basal ganglia function, specifically, that it modulates the flow of signals to the prefrontal cortex. To support the theory, he will provide converging evidence from multiple experiments and approaches. First, he will show results of computational models and simulations, which describe how this function could be implemented at the biological level. Next, he will outline how the modulatory function of the basal ganglia interacts with other, well-studied, cognitive functions, and show that predictions of this model provide insight into selective attention and fluid reasoning. Then, he will show how the modulatory function of the basal ganglia provides a better account than alternative theories by analyzing the fMRI data from four published datasets and the data from 200 participants in the Human Connectome Project, the largest repository of young adult fMRI data. Finally, he will outline how this approach can be applied to shed light on the role of the basal ganglia in human psychopathology, and discuss two new research projects in the emerging field of computational psychiatry.

Dr. Stocco's talk is part of his promotion review in the Department of Psychology.

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