My research investigates the brain mechanisms that enable humans to adapt rapidly to new environments. For example, when traveling abroad, we can quickly work out how to operate an unknown train ticket machine by leveraging prior knowledge from related past experience. I want to understand how the brain builds such flexible representations that encode structured knowledge about the world, and afford generalisation of existing knowledge to new situations.
To do so, I am conducting behavioural experiments in combination with different neuroscience methods, e.g., functional brain imaging, scalp electrophysiology, and intracranial brain recordings. Combining these tools permits to measure brain activity with high spatial and temporal resolution, and to overcome limitations that are inherent to every individual approach. Through the use of sophisticated analysis techniques (e.g., pattern classification or computational modelling), I aim to delineate the mechanisms by which the brain dynamically constructs, maintains, and uses representations as humans learn to perform novel categorisation tasks.
As as whole, this research aims to reveal the fundamental biological mechanisms that underpin goal-directed behaviour in complex and open-ended environments, and to provide insights that could be of help in building more intelligent machines.