Our past provides a context for everything we experience. Our lab uses computational models, behavioral experiments, and brain recordings to track (and manipulate!) the ever-changing thoughts we carry into each new moment.
Read on for an overview of some of our ongoing work. If you want to acquaint yourself with the nitty-gritties of our science, check out our publications or play around with our software. For our lab’s take on how to do research, read our lab manual.
Improving real-world learning
Imagine that you could learn a new language in a day, or memorize an entire textbook in an hour. How would that change your life? We are working to revolutionize real-world learning by developing customized brain-based tools that allow people to acquire information as quickly and efficiently as possible. Our training programs are built around computational models of how each individual learner acquires information. The models adapt and improve over time as the learner interacts with our system. We are working towards a classroom of the future where students easily learn vast quantities of information, and where they have fun doing it!
Tracking our Thoughts
In everyday life, what does it look like when someone else remembers a past experience? Unless they're retrieving a particularly evocative memory (e.g. remembering a joke that makes them laugh), there's often no obvious cue that a memory is being retrieved. The vast majority of our thoughts and mental processes are hidden from others. Our lab builds tools for tracking those otherwise-hidden thoughts (especially the memory-related ones) using brain recordings. We apply these tools during memory experiments to test out our theories about how memory works and how we can manipulate it.
Building Better Brain Models
Brain recordings are incredibly complex, but that doesn't mean our brain activity is random! Rather, the patterns of activity our brains exhibit are beautiful, highly structured, and dynamic. We build computational models to describe (quantify), compute with, and visualize these dynamic brain patterns. A special focus in our lab is on exploring dynamic connectivity patterns (how our brain structures communicate as we perform different tasks). We are especially interested in how these patterns relate to memory, and how information flows between the world and our memory systems.