Grants awarded

Neural mechanisms supporting environment evaluation in humans and their breakdown in clinical disorders

Grantholder:

Dr Neil Garrett

University of Oxford

United Kingdom

We make choices by evaluating how rewarding our environment is. This needs to be a continual process of reassessment as environments constantly change.

I plan to use mathematical models and brain imaging to characterise how the human brain updates its assessment of the rewards that can be found in different environments. I will examine whether healthy people are reluctant to adjust beliefs when their environment is deteriorating compared with when it is improving. I will then compare people with anxiety with healthy people to see if anxiety makes people more responsive to information that leads to a pessimistic perception of the environment as this is a common feature of clinical disorders such as depression.