Neural and behavioural mechanisms underlying associative learning.

Summary

My current interests are concerned with the processes that underlie Pavlovian conditioning, in particular the extinction and inhibition of responding. This topic is investigated with behavioural experiments in rats as well as neurophysiological experiments using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in humans.

Supervisor(s)

Professor Justin Harris

Research Location

School of Psychology

Program Type

Masters/PHD

Synopsis

Learning about relations among events is crucial for the survival of any complex organism, allowing it to use the past to predict the future and adjust its behaviour accordingly. Pavlovian conditioning is an attempt to bring such relations into the laboratory in order to isolate those that produce learning, describe its contents, and specify its influences on behaviour. I am interested in understanding the content of such simple learning - how the events are represented and what is learned about the relationships between those events. I study these questions using a simple behavioural paradigm with rats. I also use Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) in humans to investigate conditioned excitation and inhibition within the motor system.

Additional Information

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

  • Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
  • Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
  • Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
  • Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
  • Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
  • Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
  • Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
  • Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
  • Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
  • Hold a current scuba diving license;
  • Hold a current Working with Children Check;
  • Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Keywords

Pavlovian Conditioning Associative Learning Somatosensory System Cross-modal perception TMS

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 559