Chris Eliasmith, Director of the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience, received the prestigious John C. Polanyi Award and is also an inaugural member of the Royal Society of Canada's College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists.
Centre for Neuroscience Studies
Spiking Networks for Decision Making and Working Memory
Decision making and working memory are central to cognition. Working memory is the transient retention and manipulation of information that can then be used to make a selection among choices, i.e. a decision. I propose a unifying framework of neural dynamics that could underlie different key features of decision making (such as the speed-accuracy trade-off) and working memory (such as capacity, distractibility and overload). We developed spiking neural models that capture decisions and working memory independently or within the same network as a function of a single (cognitive) control parameter, which we propose to be distal network disinhibition. The predicted neural mechanisms are helpful in understanding canonical computations underlying a variety of cognitive process beyond decisions and working memory.