My research adresses how humans achieve great performance when facing two kinds of problems : those that involve "guessing" what to do in a new situation (generalisation); and those where we need to make long sequences of decisions in order to reach a goal (goal-directed planning).
These seemingly unconnected issues have one thing in common: they are two key problems that any cognitive system must overcome. Understanding what's required to solve them would allow us to : have a better (more analytical) understanding of the underlying mechanisms of human decision-making; build a solid theoretical framework to help mapping brain areas and general functions; and making computers smarter, inspired by human strategies previously found.
The goal of my DPhil research is to describe the strategies and their neural correlates by which (how and where) humans learn the abstract categories that will allow them to generalise. To tackle this problem, I will set experiments that require a behavioural response and combine psychophysics, computational models (i.e. models that mimic human behaviour), eye-tracking and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) methods.
My DPhil is supervised by Christopher Summerfield.