Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco, 2003
The study of decision-making provides a window on the family of brain functions that comprise cognition. It intervenes between perception and action, and can link one to the other. Although much is known about both sensory processing and motor control, much less is known about the circuitry connecting them. Some of the most interesting circuits are those that make it possible to deliberate among different interpretations of sensory information before making a choice about what to do.
In my laboratory, we investigate the neural machinery underlying decision-making. We use carefully designed paradigms that encourage experimental subjects to deliberate over incoming sensory evidence before making a decision. We collect behavioral data on decision-making tasks from both humans and rodents. To connect this behavior to its underlying neural circuitry, we measure electrophysiological responses of cortical neurons in rodents as they perform the task. Our current focus is on parietal cortex because this area appears to be at the midpoint between sensory processing and motor planning. We also use theoretical models of varying complexity to further constrain how the neural responses we observe might drive the behavior. This approach generates insights into sensory processing, motor planning and complex cognitive function.
Please visit Anne's Lab home page.
Sheppard, J. P., Raposo, D., and Churchland, A. K. 2013. Dynamic weighting of multisensory stimuli shapes decision-making in rats and humans. J. Vision 13: 1–19.
Raposo, D., Sheppard, J.P., Schrater, P.R. and Churchland, A.K. 2012. Multisensory decision-making in rats and humans. J. Neurosci. 32: 3726–3735.
Churchland, A.K. and Ditterich, J. 2012. New advances in understanding decisions among multiple alternatives. Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 22: 920–926.
Churchland, A.K , Kiani, R., Chaudhuri, R., Wang, X.J., Pouget, A., and Shadlen, M.N. 2010. Variance as a signature of neural computations during decision making. Neuron 69: 818–883.
Churchland, A., Kiani, R. and Shadlen, M.N. 2008. Decision-making with multiple alternatives. Nat. Neuroscience. 11: 693-702.