Following a lot of disruption caused by COVID-19, the Prediction and Learning Lab are back with a bang - presenting four posters with new empirical data at the British Association of Psychopharmacology conference held in London this summer.
Tim Sandhu, a second year PhD student, presented new data showing that cueing people to recognise when environmental uncertainty is changing impacts how they learn from feedback. This work has implications for cognitive therapies that train people to recognise and cope with uncertainty (e.g. CUES)
Calum Guinea, a first year PhD student, presented work showing that the structural integrity of the habenula is compromised in Parkinson's disease, and that habenula volumes correlate with avoidance of losses in a reinforcement learning paradigm. This is consistent with studies in primates indicating that the habenula is an "anti-reward" structure.
Bronagh McCoy, one of our postdocs, presented the results from two studies trying to understand how unexpected uncertainty (i.e. volatility) and expected uncertainty (i.e. noise) interact to guide decision-making. Results suggest that noise has a much larger impact on learning rates than volatility does; which is surprising given the dominant theories on how volatility impacts learning.
Our research assistant, Levi Baljer, presenting work that tests an influential computational theory about the impact of anxiety on the value placed on 'free choice' in decision-making paradigms.
For three of the presenters it was their first even in-person conference and they all absolutely smashed their poster presentations!