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Title: Shining Light on the Rodent Brain: Development of a Behavioral Task to Investigate the Mechanisms of Visual Attention in the Mouse Brain Using Optogenetics
Authors: Gregory, Jessica
Advisors: Buschman, Timothy
Department: Psychology
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: Cognitive control is essential for normal functioning and is often considered the necessary component of intelligent behavior. It describes the mechanisms responsible for coordination and integration of neural processes to effectively accomplish goal directed behaviors. The goal of this research is to gain a better understanding of the neural mechanisms that forge the processes of cognitive control. Through an exploration of the mechanisms involved in selective attention, a particular cognitive control process, we aim to investigate the neural contributions to the processes that govern this aspect of cognition that is so crucial to everyday functioning. While there are hypotheses surrounding the mechanisms responsible for normal cognitive control, a more detailed analysis is needed to truly understand these processes that are responsible for so much of our normal behavior. We chose to focus on the mouse as our source of investigation in order to take full advantage of the experimental manipulations made possible through this lane of research. We developed a visual attention task for mice that would elicit the type of cognitive control behavior we wished to study. Here, we outline our proposed behavioral task and the data we have acquired through preliminary training and recording tasks. We will also discuss future directions for subsequent studies and the implications of our work. Obtaining a better understanding of the mechanisms that regulate the normal operation of cognitive control will help us to better understand what happens in the cases where these processes are disrupted, thus providing greater insight into disorders like schizophrenia, autism, and ADHD.
Extent: 78 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2016

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