Current Research
The Neural Circuit Mechanisms of Reinforcement Learning

Joshua Dudman investigates how animals learn flexible and skillful behaviors from experience – described in disciplines from machine learning to animal behavior as “reinforcement learning” – and seeks to understand pathologies of volition. Dudman and his team focus on the cortex and basal ganglia, areas which together constitute the major descending pathways controlling voluntary, goal-directed action. They use a range of technical approaches in their work, from electrophysiology and imaging in behaving mice, to development of computational models, to cell-type specific perturbation. In addition, the team contributes to the development of custom electronics, electrodes, and molecular tools to support their and others’ neurobiological studies.

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