1 Column Template

Current Projects:

The neural basis of adaptive decision making

Decisions do not
always involve rewards or outcomes that are black and white. In
fact, when an outcome is deemed as rewarding or “worth it,” the
adaptive organism takes a wide variety of environmental factors into
consideration. For example, deciding between a goal that involves a
lot of work versus a goal that involves no work OR deciding between
an immediately-available reward versus a delayed one—these
characteristics are more akin to the kinds of decisions we are
required to make on a daily basis. Research in LCN seeks to
understand what brain mechanisms (and in under what conditions such
mechanisms) are involved in responding adaptively.  We use a variety
of biobehavioral techniques to address this question.

The effects of drugs of abuse on flexible behavior

Since abuse of drugs (such as psychostimulants) affect brain
circuitry that is recruited in flexible behavior, one of our lab
goals is to find out what changes in the brain contribute to the
compulsive, “automatized” behavior in drug addiction. Changes in the
neuromodulation of candidate areas like the prefrontal cortex,
amygdala, striatum and thalamus are a focus. Administration models
combined with automated and manual behavioral techniques are used to
explore this topic in LCN.


John Marshall (UCI)

Mimi Belcher (UCI-UCSB)