Research Interests: I am interested in many aspects of human cognition (see blurbs below!), but recurring themes include the role of the frontal lobes in the regulation of thought, and the link between perceptual and memory systems.
Research in progress: One major theme in the lab right now is an effort to understand the costs, as well as the benefits, of frontally-mediated cognitive control. Our current ideas about this are summarized in Chrysikou et al., 2014, Neuropsychologia. A second major theme concerns how conceptual information is dynamically retrieved and reconfigured; this work includes studies of how visual features are integrated into concepts (e.g., Coutanche & Thompson-Schill, Cerebral Cortex), how new conceptual information is integrated with prior knowledge (e.g., Coutanche & Thompson-Schill, JEP:General), and how different variables affect how we retrieve conceptual information (e.g., Hsu et al., J of Cog Neuro).
Research Interests: I am interested in the acquisition and representation
of conceptual knowledge. An important observation is that conceptual
knowledge is not an undifferentiated, homogeneous system but is instead
organized into components specific to a domain (living, non-living) or
attribute type (color, shape, etc). One aspect of my research asks about
the factors that lead to such divisions and determine their cortical
placement. My most current line of work asks how different kinds of
conceptual knowledge are acquired, and to what end they are put to use
computationally. Specifically, I hope to account for the acquisition of
properties of objects that are not physical qualities (e.g., color or
shape) but which denote regularities in their interactions with the world
(e.g., the functions of artifacts and psychological properties of animate
kinds). This latter kind of property tends to be more abstract than the
former; an account of such property learning could thus yield insights into
how humans acquire abstract conceptual knowledge more generally.
Research Interests: I examine how semantic memory structure enables and constrains high level cognitive processes, such as memory retrieval and creative thinking, in typical and clinical populations (such as persons with autism). To achieve this, I use computational methods to represent semantic memory structure and empirical neurocognitive methods to directly examine these computational findings.
Research Interests: I’m interested in the how episodic memories are altered with consolidation, and how this process is related to the acquisition of semantic and conceptual knowledge. As a graduate student, I used behavioral and neuroimaging methods to examine how episodic memories with overlapping information come to be represented over time.
Research Interests: I am interested in the role of executive function in accessing, maintaining and manipulating semantic memories in the processing of both verbal and non-verbal input streams. For example, predictive processing may play a role in our ability to understand rapid linguistic input. Prediction may also contribute to our ability to rapidly identify objects and recall relevant information about them as we move through the visual world. However, open questions remain regarding the extent to which predictive processing in the verbal and non-verbal domains relies on shared neural and cognitive mechanisms, and the extent to which differences across domains can be explained by general principles of neural organization. Similar questions arise in comparing working memory function and the broader class of contextual facilitation effects across the verbal and non-verbal domains.
Research Interests: How are concepts structured to enable the generation of flexible, context-dependent representations? How is conceptual information manipulated in the brain such that an appropriate representation is formed?
Research in Progress: I have explored the flexible manipulation of conceptual representations in object-change, figurative language, and adjective-noun combinations. I am currently exploring the possibility of using network science approaches to model individual concepts, which might enable the quantitative modeling of conceptual flexibility and other phenomena.
Research Interests: I am interested in the cognitive and neural mechanisms of endogenous flexibility, the ability to adapt one’s behavior in the absence of explicit cues to do so. This ability requires the interaction of learning, decision-making, arousal, and cognitive control processes. Currently, I am studying endogenous flexibility in the domains of reinforcement learning and exploratory behavior. I have utilized a variety of methods in this work, including neuroimaging, pupillometry, noninvasive brain stimulation, genotyping, and computational modeling.
Research Interests: I study how and by what properties the brain leverages visual information in behaviors such as recognizing and categorizing objects and perceiving scenes. Using behavioral and neuroimaging methods with computational modeling, I aim to elucidate how certain ‘specialized’ layers of large-scale neural networks interact to give rise to visual perception and memory-related processes.
Research Interests: I have a broad interest in long-term memory.