Neural and computational mechanisms of categorisation


  • Prof Bradley Love

    University College London

Project summary

Judging a person as a friend or foe, or a tumour as cancerous or benign are examples of categorisation tasks. Category knowledge provides a necessary basis for almost every cognitive act, ranging from assessing the value of an object to problem solving. This project evaluates a novel theory about how people learn and use category information to make critical decisions. The theory emphasises how people sample their external world (e.g. eye movements) and their internal world (e.g. memory retrieval) when learning and making decisions. A computer model is used to simulate how people learn and categorise novel objects. The psychological and neural plausibility of this model will be evaluated in a series of brain-imaging studies. The outcomes of this project should inform best practices for treating people who have difficulties in the mental processes supporting categorisation, including those related to learning, memory retrieval and attention.