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Eleanor Holton


DPhil Candidate

Neural and computational mechanisms of learning and decision-making

I'm a PhD student supervised by Nils Kolling, Jill O'Reilly, and Christopher Summerfield.

My first PhD project with Nils Kolling and Jill O'Reilly investigates the neural mechanisms by which humans plan and make decisions in temporally extended environments. Whether it be catching prey or making dinner, rewards in natural environments take time to pursue. Using computational models alongside functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), I look at how humans pursue goals and suppress alternative courses of action in the process. In particular, I’m interested in the role of the human frontal lobes in prospective value-based decision-making and goal maintenance. 

My later PhD work with Chris Summerfield investigate the differences between how humans and artificial neural networks learn continuously. Specifically, I am interested in how prior learning in ANNs and humans affects subsequent learning, and how new knowledge is integrated into pre-existing knowledge structures. 

My PhD is funded by the Wellcome Trust as part of the 1+3 Doctoral Programme in Neuroscience.