In the Kuhl Lab at the University of Oregon, we are interested in how our perceptual experiences are transformed into memories and how we recreate these experiences when we remember. Research in the lab makes use of behavioral and neuroimaging methods, including fMRI.
How do we filter our perceptual experience to selectively encode (Kuhl, Bainbridge, Chun 2012)? Can we use neuroimaging methods to understand how the brain represents our experiences and translates this information into long-lasting memories (Kuhl, Rissman, Wagner, 2012)?
How do we selectively bring one memory to mind when many similar (competing) memories exist (Kuhl et al., 2007,2008)? What are the prefrontal and parietal mechanisms that support mnemonic decision making (i.e., comparing retrieved memories to each other or to goals, evaluating the veridicality of memories, etc.) (Kuhl et al., 2011)? How do neural measures of memory reactivation relate to behavioral expressions of memory retrieval, and can these measures inform our understanding of how and why memory succeeds vs. fails (Kuhl, Bainbridge, Chun 2012)?
Many mnemonic processes can be construed as acts of selective attention. For example, selectively attending to aspects of our external environment will give rise to selective long-term memory for attended information. Likewise, memory retrieval may be thought of as selective attention to internal representations of past experience (with these acts of retrieval again influencing future memory). Thus, we are also broadly interested in how selective attention is implemented. Are there common neural mechanisms that support distinct forms of attention or is selective attention a property of multiple, distinct cognitive processes.
fMRI Pattern Analysis
We use a variety of multivariate pattern analyses to decode, predict, and reconstruct the contents of memory from distributed patterns of neural activity. These methods exploit approaches developed in the fields of machine learning and computer science.