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Computational Neuroscience Seminar: Adaptive and maladaptive dynamics of reward learning and mood: new theory and how to test it

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Thursday, January 31, 2019
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9:00 am - 10:00 am
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Eran Eldar, Senior Lecturer Psychology and Cognitive Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research, University College London

Our mood reflects the good and bad outcomes we experience, but it also often seems to fluctuate without apparent reason. In this talk, I will show that mood dynamics such as escalations and oscillations that may otherwise seem chaotic could in fact arise out of a tractable interaction between mood and reward learning: unexpected rewards affect mood and mood in turn affects responses to subsequent rewards. I will present behavioral and neuroimaging evidence for this two-way interaction, and develop a computational model that reveals its adaptive and maladaptive consequences. On one hand, it can 'correct' learning to account for global changes in the availability of reward in the environment; on the other hand, it might give rise to unstable oscillatory dynamics that result in emotional instability. I will introduce a novel smartphone-based experimental approach that allows directly studying how such affective-cognitive dynamics unfold over extended periods of time.

Contact: Ariel Dawn