IISER Pune
INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE EDUCATION AND RESEARCH (IISER) PUNE
where tomorrow’s science begins today
An Autonomous Institution, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India
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Seminars and Colloquia

Biology

Reward sensitivity and how it affects our actions 
 
Tue, May 23, 2017,   12:00 PM to 01:00 PM at Seminar Room 34, 2nd Floor, Main Building

Dr. Arjun Ramakrishnan
University of Pennsylvania, USA

Sensitivity to reward is a fundamental mechanism that allows living organisms to navigate in an ever-changing environment. Severe changes in reward sensitivity has been, in fact, associated with many mental health conditions like depression and bipolar disorder. To understand how reward - be it in the form of food or social stimuli - influences action planning  and decision making, I have looked  at the representation of reward in sensorimotor brain areas of non-human primates. These studies for the first time revealed neurons that co-represent reward expectation along with movement kinematics in their activity, implicating primary motor areas in reward-based learning mechanisms. Considering the paramount role of reward in influencing our actions, I have recently developed an ecologically relevant, mathematically tractable, explore-exploit decision-making paradigm. By deploying the task in conjunction with various non-invasive measures like EEG, pupillometry and blink rate, I hope to establish neural biomarkers for depression and other mental health conditions.
 

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