Welcome to the Dynamics of Cognition Lab
The overarching goal of the Fiebelkorn lab’s research is to understand how the brain flexibly allocates its limited processing resources to improve behavioral outcomes. Addressing this goal requires observing neural dynamics on multiple scales—at the levels of single neurons, local neural populations, and large-scale networks.
Research questions. How does the brain navigate our complex environments? In a busy street scene, for example, the brain relies on filtering mechanisms. Two primary functions interact to make this filtering possible: (1) spatial attention (enhanced or suppressed sensory processing) and saccades (exploratory shifts of gaze). A shared network of brain regions, known as the “attention network,” directs both. But how?
Key findings and new investigations. We recently demonstrated that these sensory and motor functions alternate over time (approximately every 250 ms). We continue to investigate the temporal dynamics of attention-related functions. This work covers the balance not only between sensory and motor functions, but also between enhancement (of behaviorally relevant information) and suppression (of distracting information). We are further investigating whether such temporal or rhythmic coordination is a more general mechanism in the brain for resolving potential functional conflicts, maintaining cognitive and representation flexibility.
Applications. We hope that our research will provide a new lens through which to investigate and treat brain disorders marked by abnormalities in cognitive flexibility, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).