We do not perceive the world directly. Rather, our brains must decipher what is out there using the window of information we receive from our senses. The result of this process is referred to as a ‘model’ of the world. Understanding how brains construct and use internal models is a central problem in neuroscience. This problem can be approached by thinking of the brain as a kind of an intuitive scientist, collecting and analysing data, constructing and testing hypotheses based on those data, and revising them in light of new data. Each brain gets different data and produces a different model, making the beliefs that guide our actions subjective and sometimes wrong. Fortunately, like a good scientist, our brains can and do evaluate the quality of the data. This gives us a sense of confidence in our beliefs and decisions, helping us to know when our our subjective reality is worth acting on and when to question it. Understanding how all this works in terms of neural circuits is the long-term goal of research in the Systems Neuroscience lab.

Read more about our research HERE

Main Interests

How the brain uses perceptual information to create and act on models of the world, the role of confidence, uncertainty and neuromodulators in these processes

Methods

Optogenetics, Theory, Behaviour, Electrophysiology

Models and Regions

Rats, Mice, Humans / Cortex and Raphe Nuclei

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AFFILIATION

Champalimaud Foundation

Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown

Avenida Brasília, 1400-038 Lisbon, Portugal

T (+351) 210 480 200

zmainen(at)research.fchampalimaud.org

FUNDING