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BA Natural Sciences (2007-2010, Cambridge University), MSc Neuroscience (2011, Oxford University), DPhil Neuroscience (2011-2015, Oxford University)
MRC Skills Development Fellow
- Postdoctoral Researcher
I am a neuroscientist interested in understanding the psychological and neural mechanisms underlying motivated behavior. Specifically, how do humans learn what they value and how do they use this knowledge to make good decisions? I am furthermore interested in applying these concepts to understand psychiatric disorders, such as depression, and their treatments.
In my DPhil, my work was particularly focused on understanding the role different neurotransmitter systems (serotonin, NMDA receptors) play in reward and punishment-guided learning. As well as how different prefrontal brain systems act together for efficient learning in complex and naturalistic environments. The importance of these brain systems is underscored by the fact that they are targets of common psychiatric treatments such as antidepressants. To tackle these questions, I have used computational modelling in combination with brain imaging (fMRI, EEG, MRS spectroscopy) and pharmacological manipulations.
In my current fellowship, I am building on these methods to look at negative biases in different processes in depression and particularly in learning. I will also start to explore the effects of potential new treatment avenues, such non-invasive electric brain stimulation (tDCS), on these processes.
Beyond negative valence: 2-week administration of a serotonergic antidepressant enhances both reward and effort learning signals.
Scholl J. et al, (2017), PLoS Biol, 15
Excitation and inhibition in anterior cingulate predict use of past experiences.
Scholl J. et al, (2017), Elife, 6
The NMDA receptor partial agonist d-cycloserine does not enhance motor learning.
Günthner J. et al, (2016), J Psychopharmacol, 30, 994 - 999
Self-Other Mergence in the Frontal Cortex during Cooperation and Competition.
Wittmann MK. et al, (2016), Neuron, 91, 482 - 493
The Good, the Bad, and the Irrelevant: Neural Mechanisms of Learning Real and Hypothetical Rewards and Effort.
Scholl J. et al, (2015), J Neurosci, 35, 11233 - 11251