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, homogoenous 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: Broadly speaking, I am interested in how learning, specifically implicit distributional learning, unfolds over time in the human brain. Using a combination of behavioral and functional neuroimaging methods, I aim to better understand not only the types of regularities to which human learners are sensitive, but also how a network of specialized neural substrates works in concert to extract and make use of them. I am particularly interested in how the learning process is influenced by top-down control functions associated with the frontal lobe.
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: 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 study the relationship between cognitive control and learning. Areas of interest: individual differences and developmental changes in cognitive control, including costs and benefits of control; interaction of cognitive control and representational capacities in mental flexibility and learning; computational modeling.
Research in Progress: Current work includes studying the role of prefrontal cortex in biasing reinforcement learning
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: Tima has a broad interest in long-term memory.