The Cognitive Neuroscience of Category Learning


Project Description

Categorization plays an important role in our day-to-day lives. Friend or foe? Food or poison? A person's ability to categorize allows them to respond differently, for example, to predators and prey. Categorization is essential for survival. I am interested in how people learn to categorize, and specifically what makes this categorization easier or more difficult. Through this summer's project, I (along with my interns!), will investigate the role that feedback plays in category learning and what neurobiological mechanisms are involved. What type of feedback facilitates learning? Does it ever make learning more difficult? What brain regions are involved? We will do original behavioral research to investigate these questions.


Students will be able to run a behavioral experiment to investigate the role of feedback in category learning. They will have the opportunity to run the experiment, collect the data, analyze the data, and investigate and learn about the implicated brain regions. Students are not required to have any knowledge about category learning, neuroscience, or any type of programming. They have to be able to work with computers and having the basics of Algebra would be helpful. An overview of MATLAB software and basic knowledge of category learning and the related neuroscience will be provided.

Project Files