The lab’s research is centered around the general goal of determining the neurobiological mechanisms of executive function irregularities associated with addiction. Our experiments fall into three interconnected domains:
Reinforcement-based association learning
Breaking old habits is the essence of recovery from addiction. To help understand how we form and break habits, we study how the brain enables us to learn and replace stimulus-response associations.
Selection bias for immediate rewards
Addiction is associated with a tendency to choose immediate rewards (“Now”) over larger delayed rewards (“Later”). This work focuses on determining the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the tendency to choose Now over Later.
Abnormal attention to conditioned cues
Addiction is also associated with enhanced attention toward addiction -related cues. We are characterizing the nature of attention abnormalities associated with addiction, and determining the underlying neural bases of these abnormalities.
In addition, we are interested in dissociating pre-existing risk factors from cognitive consequences of addiction, and in identifying the brain mechanisms of addiction treatment effects.