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Learning and Behavior

Beyond clinical issues of health and wellbeing, many researchers at the Berenson-Allen Center are interested in utilizing brain stimulation to explore processes common to every human being: namely learning and behavior. By combining imaging with neuromodulation, we hope to better understand complex cognitive and personal processes including learning, speech generation and recognition, and emotional regulation.

Online/Offline Learning and Skill Consolidation

How do human beings form procedural and declarative memories? What happens to this knowledge over time? How do sleep and wakefulness impact learning and memory? These are all questions we are exploring at the Berenson-Allen Center. Through the combination of brain stimulation, imaging, and behavioral tasks we are investigating neural mechanisms behind the learning/memory process and are examining the effects of varied environmental or modulatory influences. Current studies include:

  • Combining motor learning with auditory feedback to explore learning: Zachary Gray
  • Utilizing measures of plasticity to explore the neural effects of working memory training: Anna-Katharine Brem
  • Examining the effects of interference during the memory consolidation phase: Sanjin Tunovic
  • Combining TMS and EEG to explore the role of sleep upon memory consolidation: Sanjin Tunovic

Linguistics

Language is one of the defining characteristics of human life. Despite its import and ubiquity, language is still a topic rife with questions and research opportunities. Here, we utilize brain stimulation to explore issues ranging from speech production and comprehension to reading and linguistic coding. Current research includes:

Morality and Prosocial Behavior

Where does moral judgement come from? Can moral decisions be mediated via external neuromodulation? Several of our researchers are looking into these questions and more. Through neuroimaging and brain stimulation, we are exploring the neural substrates of morality and the network dynamics of ethical decision making. Current research includes:

  • Utilizing imaging to examine the effects of Oxytocin on prosocial behavior: Anna-Katharine Brem

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Contact Information

Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Kirstein Building 158
Boston, MA 02215
617-667-0203
617-975-5322