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Laboratory of Brain and Cognition (LBC)

Research

The goal of the Section on Cognitive Neuropsychology is to elucidate the neural basis of perception, memory, and social functioning.  Functional brain imaging technologies (fMRI and MEG) are used to evaluate these functions in typically developing individuals and patients with neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders, including individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.  A major focus of our research is on semantic memory, the part of long-term memory composed of general information, such as facts, ideas, and the meaning of objects and words. We are particularly interested in characterizing the neural substrate mediating object and word meaning and its role in object perception. We are also interested in understanding how abstract forms of knowledge, such as information about social interactions, are represented.  Another major focus of our research is on priming, a form of implicit memory not dependent on conscious retrieval of prior events. These studies concentrate on characterizing changes in neural activity associated with this form of learning to provide a model system for studying cortical plasticity. Most recently, we have turned our attention to the analysis of spontaneous, slowly fluctuating neural activity recorded during the resting state to evaluate the brain’s intrinsic neural circuitry and to determine how these circuits are perturb in neuropsychiatric conditions.