Current Research
The Neural Building Blocks of Thought

Michael Shadlen seeks to understand the brain’s neural mechanisms responsible for reasoning and decision making, as a window on cognition. Using a combination of electrophysiology, imaging, behavior, and computational methods, Shadlen and his team are working in non-human primates and mice to elucidate the neural mechanisms responsible for such tasks as integrating evidence from diverse sources, assigning weight, calculating costs and benefits of anticipated outcomes, processing time, and implementing rules. Shadlen believes that such rudimentary mechanisms are the building blocks of human cognition, and that failures in small sets of these mechanisms and others may be at the root of certain brain disorders.

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