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URPP Adaptive Brain Circuits in Development and Learning (AdaBD)

Functional brain network mechanisms underlying multisensory learning

Research project

One of the key aims of the URPP AdaBD is to identify functional brain network mechanisms underlying multisensory learning that may be disrupted in children with learning disorders. To this end, we are developing a task to assess both reward-based and statistical multisensory learning in healthy adults. We combine this task with fMRI to identify brain areas where neural activity tracks the learning of multi-sensory associations. The focus of the analyses is not only on local activity but also on functional connectivity between these areas. We will then employ non-invasive brain stimulation methods (TMS) to test whether activity disruptions in the identified cortical areas lead to problems with either reward-based or statistical multisensory learning, or both.

The task, modelling approaches, and findings of this project form a backbone for the work conducted across several arms of the URPP. Variants of this task will be employed in URPP projects in mice and typically and atypically developing children. The project establishes novel collaborations that bridge the basic and clinical studies of brain network function during multisensory learning.

Research Groups

Principal Investigators: Christian Ruff, Fritjof Helmchen, Silvia Brem

Postdoc: Gilles de Hollander

PhD Students: Ella Casimiro, Saurabh Bedi