How can 10^11 neurons, each forming up to 10^4 synaptic connections with other neurons, work in concert to process information and underlie the high cognitive functions we use daily? What is the neural code, or the language, these clusters of neurons use? We are mostly interested in dynamics of neuronal networks during learning and memory formation. We combine electrophysiological methods in behaving animals, behavioral paradigms adopted from cognitive psychology, functional imaging in humans, and computational methods from machine-learning and statistics, to unveil neuronal mechanisms and algorithms that underlie learning and memory formation.
We investigate the neural codes that underlie phenomena such as: reinforcement learning, generalization of learning, emotional modulation of memories, extinction and maintenance of memories, primitives of computation, social cognition and learning, and we derive simplified animal and computational models for pathologies that arise from abnormalities in the neural code (e.g. post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD), Mood and Anxiety disorders, Autism and more).
We believe that more and more experiments are essential for brain research and Science in general. As eloquently put by Martin Rees: "Our present satisfaction [with our state of understanding] may reflect the paucity of the data rather than the excellence of the theory".
We also believe that basic research that examines our most basic motives and uses simplified paradigms is a necessary tool. As eloquently put by Desmond Morris: This unusual and highly successful species spends a great deal of time examining his higher motives and an equal amount of time ignoring his fundamental ones.