Associate Professor of Psychology
Cognition and Brain Science
Ph.D. (1998) Psychology Cognitive Science &
Whether we're driving a car, cooking dinner, performing a psychology experiment, or even watching television, we're performing goal-directed behavior. We must keep track of our current goal (e.g., to cook dinner), so that we do not execute responses inappropriate for the present situation (e.g., sitting down to watch television). Yet, we must also flexibly adapt our goals to changing situations. For example, we must override our "cooking" goal with an "answering" one when we hear the doorbell ring. My research focuses on the mental processes required to carry out these and other types of goal-directed behavior.
A complicated set of mental processes are involved in behaviors like these. In addition to maintaining and updating our goals, we must attend to relevant stimuli, store relevant information in memory, and select and execute appropriate responses. What is the nature of these processes? How do they interact? What are their limitations? How do they change with training? And what are the neural mechanisms underlying them? These are they types of questions I investigate using a variety of experimental techniques: including behavioral testing, functional neuroimaging, and magnetic stimulation.