Center for Cognitive Neuroscience
Department of Psychology
University of Pennsylvania
Category-Specific Reward Representation and Evaluation
In one line of research, I am using fMRI methods to better understand the nature of reward encoding in the brain. While current research has suggested a "common" evaluative code across stimulus types, we still little about how category-specific information (in both frontal and visual cortex) interacts with this reward system. My studies so far have attempted to explore these questions by measuring neural activity while human subjects evaluate face and place attractiveness.
In another line of research, I am using behavioral methods to understand more about the nature of biases in judgment making. What role does previous experience play on subjective judgments? Specifically, I am asking how previous perceptual input and previous judgments themselves influence current judgments of face attractiveness. I am also curious to know whether these biases are specific to attractiveness/social judgments or whether they are indicative of more general mechanisms which influence judgments.
Neuroscience and Society
Complementary to my graduate work, I am also very interested in the role of psychology and neuroscience in the service of society, as well as a range of questions within the fields of bio- and neuroethics.