Stefano Fusi, PhD

The complexity of real world behavior cannot be reduced to a simple mapping between a sensory stimulus and a motor response. Indeed the same stimulus should sometimes lead to different behaviors depending on the situation, the intention of the subject, and the rules imposed by the task to be performed. In many complex tasks we need to go through a series of different inner mental states each representing a particular disposition to behavior. Our group investigates the neural mechanisms which underlie the formation of rule representations (learning) and their expression. In particular we are developing a model of a neural network which encodes the inner mental states as attractor of the neural dynamics. Moreover we study the theory of synaptic mechanisms leading to the abstraction of the rules (learning and memory). In collaboration with experimentalists from different fields we test our ideas on real biological brains.

Lab website: www.neurotheory.columbia.edu/~fusi/