Extracting patterns across memories to guide decisions

Year of award: 2016


  • Dr Aidan Horner

    University of York

Project summary

I will investigate how we use past experience to guide behaviour and how this process breaks down in specific patient populations.

I will do this by developing a novel experimental-computational tool to understand how people transform memories of previous events into generalised models of the world that allow them to behave appropriately in the future. For past experience to guide behaviour, we need to extract patterns across a set of events. These patterns allow us to predict what will happen in novel but related situations. I will use a new experimental technique in healthy humans (based on rodent research), where participants are required to extract patterns across a set of past events in order to make accurate predictions about future events. I will build computational models to predict and explain the participants’ behaviour. The models will assess what pattern has been extracted and how this differs from the pattern that would optimise future predictions. Critically, when a participant does not behave appropriately, the experimental-computational technique will reveal what is impaired and why.

This technique will be used to pinpoint impairments in memory-guided decision-making.