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-- BSc (Hons.), Flinders University, double majoring in Physics and Chemistry.

-- Graduate Diploma in Science Communication, Australian National University

-- MSc Neuroscience, University of Oxford

Emma Lawrance

DPhil Student

Research Interests

I am part of the Computational Cognitive Neuroscience lab. This research seeks to understand the systems and mechanisms that underlie cognition - how we make decisions, pay attention, learn and remember. What are the component computations of these processes and how does the brain perform them? I use a combination of task-based fMRI and modelling approaches to link behaviours to underlying computations and explore their neural basis.

We are interested in how a brain represents and updates a "model of the world", that can be used at all levels of the processing hierarchy to guide efficient representations and generate relevant behaviour. The world is inherently uncertain however, and we must be able to represent and incorporate this uncertainty into our internal models to guide behaviour.

During my DPhil I first explored how uncertainty in the form of "missing information", or ambiguity, influences value-guided decision-making. Working primarily with Assoc Prof Sonia Bishop, we showed how susceptibility to anxiety is related to altered decision-making under missing information, with corresponding neural differences.

My second project investigates how we assess reliability of a strategy to reach a goal, and when/how we switch strategies. We are also interested in how the representation of the best current strategy (with associated uncertainty) in frontal cortex can bias sensory processing to optimise for that strategy (mechanisms of selective attention).

Recent publications

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