OMG. I wasn't expecting this apple to look like an orange inside. How surprising!
We all have expectations about how the how the world should look, feel, smell, taste and sound. When our expectations are violated this signals that something out of the ordinary is happening.
At the level of the neurons in your brain, expectations based on recent sensory experience update the way you actually see the world moment-to-moment, and expectations learned over longer periods of time will shape your perceptual predictions long in to the future.
But what would the world be like if we didn't have any expectations? How would it feel if your expectations were so rigid that no amount of experience could change them? Would everything feel out of the ordinary? Would everything be surprising?
The focus of the PaL Lab is to build computational models of how expectations are formed and understand individual differences in this process. This work will translate the same tasks and models from infancy, into adulthood and states of clinical disorder.
Watch this space for specific project information as these new studies get underway!
Sensory learning in ASD
Currently exploring how people with ASD use the predictive structure in the environment to inform perception and behaviour. We make use of behavioural, neuroimaging and pharmacological manipulations in conjunction with computational modelling to explore this area.
Adaptive coding mechanisms in ASD
Adaptation is a fundamental process in neural systems in which the neural and behavioural response to a stimulus changes as a function of recent spatial and temporal context. Adaptation changes our perception moment to moment, and this project explores how adaptive coding mechanisms might relate to "sensory overload" in ASD.
Confidence in perceptual awareness
When sensory information is noisy or impoverished we feel uncertain what we just saw, but does this uncertainty influence what we expect to see next? This project is using functional neuroimaging in healthy volunteers to explore this question.
The role of the habenula in aversive learning
An ongoing collaboration exploring the role of the habenula in signalling expectations about negative events in major depressive disorder.
Collaborators: Jonathan Roiser