Joseph Paton

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Champalimaud Foundation, Lisbon


Higher Brain Functions

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Animals are exposed to countless sensory stimuli, which must be processed and filtered so as to make the appropriate behavioural adjustments. A fundamental part of this process is determining which cues hold predictive value of relevant events. How animals figure this out is dubbed the credit assignment problem. Joe Paton’s group at Champalimaud Research takes on the problem by investigating the time encoding mechanisms of the brain, for temporary proximity of the cues to important events determines their usefulness and thus, whether they warrant learning about. To delve into the problem, his group makes use of a wide array of computational, electrophysiological and molecular techniques to observe and manipulate the neurophysiology of rodents performing tasks that force them to estimate intervals.