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Strategic brain routes for learning and plasticity

Mon 20 November 2017

Department of Chemistry

A Lecture by Professor Zoe Kourtzi, Professor of Experimental Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge.

The fourth talk in a series of lectures organised by the Cambridge Philosophical Society in the Michaelmas Term 2017.

Abstract : When immersed in a new environment we are challenged to make sense of initially incomprehensible event streams. At first, it seems like a befuddling cacophony that leaves us completely unprepared for what will happen next. And yet, quite rapidly, the brain is able to find meaningful structures, helping us to predict and prepare for future actions. We combine behavioural and brain imaging measurements with computational modeling, to understand the dynamics of learning complex structures. We show that individuals adapt to changes in the environment’s statistics and extract predictive structures. Importantly, extracting complex structures relates to individual decision strategy: faster learning relates to selecting the most probable outcomes (i.e. maximising) and is implemented by interactions between executive and motor cortico-striatal mechanisms, while learning the exact stimulus statistics (i.e. matching) is implemented by visual cortico-striatal circuits. Our findings provide evidence for alternate routes to learning of behaviorally-relevant statistics that facilitate our ability to predict future events in variable environments.

Cost: Free

Ages: 16+

Enquiries and booking

No need to book.

Open to all who are interested, no booking required. Entrance is free to all our Cambridge Philosophical Society Lectures. For further information please contact the Executive Secretary or visit the Society's website

Enquiries: Beverley Larner Website Email: philosoc@hermes.cam.ac.uk Telephone: 01223 334743


All times

Mon 20 November 2017 6:00PM - 7:00PM


Entrance to the lecture theatre is opposite the Scott Polar Research Building, off Lensfield Road
Address: Department of Chemistry
Bristol Myers-Squibb Lecture Theatre
Lensfield Road
Telephone: +44 1223 336300
Fax: +44 1223 336362