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Santiago Herce Castañón

Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD Student

I am interested in understanding the general mechanisms that underlie sensory-motor transformations. Decisions require the continuous processing and integration of information in different forms at different stages. For instance, early on, information might be anchored to its sensory features, later on it might become a categorical signal or be anchored as a more abstract representation and eventually it might inform a specific plan of action. I want to explore the factors that influence the extent to which information is processed and integrated at the different stages and the advantages and drawbacks that are associated integration at those different stages.

My project consists on exerting independent influences on the processing and integration at the different stages by means of showing subjects information (prior to the trial) that reduces their uncertainty about the states of a particular stage: for instance, by informing subjects at the beginning of the trial that a certain stimulus feature (or a category or motor action) is more likely to occur than other(s).  I want to generate models that explain 1) some of the general processing mechanisms at different stages or 2) he capacity limits of the different stages that dictate the extent to which information is integrated at each stage depending on task demands. Finally, I want to combine these approaches with different brain imaging techniques to generate biologically plausible hypothesis about the implementation of the processesI am interested in.