• Thursday, November 3rd 2016 at 15:00 - 16:00 UK (Other timezones)
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Multiple different neurocognitive players contribute to learning, which may be differentially engaged depending on task demands. While many studies implicate altered reward learning in patients with schizophrenia (SZ), parsing out the underlying mechanisms requires one to reliably attribute different aspects of their behavior to the relevant neural systems, and to understand how dysfunction in one system may impact the others. We developed new behavioral protocols and computational models that allowed us to extract the independent contributions to behavior of fast, capacity-limited working memory from the contributions of slow reinforcement learning. Across two experiments, we found that patients were significantly impaired at learning compared to match healthy controls. However, this impairment could be fully traced back to working memory contributions to learning, while reward-based value learning was spared. Our results show that SZ learning impairments are tied to WM function, and highlight the importance of targeted experimental design and mathematical modeling for disentangling multiple neuro-cognitive systems’ contributions to learning.

Anne Collins is Assistant Professor in the department of Psychology and a member of the The Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at UC Berkeley.

She is currently hiring a post-doc, a lab manager, and will be accepting graduate students for Fall 2017.

Anne Collins: How much does working memory contribute to learning impairments in schizophrenia?

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