Tiago Branco, UCL London, UK:"Computation of instinctive escape behaviour"
Instinct and intuition are two fundamental components of behaviour. From the innate reaction of a prey to the sight of predator, to the departure from rationality in human economic decisions, information that is rapidly accessed without reaching consciousness can be used to influence behavioural choices. Our goal is to understand how neurons in the brain compute instinctive decisions. We aim to determine how sensory input, motivation and expectations from past experience are integrated to reach instinctive choices, and how this integration is computed at the level of synapses and ion channels. We hope to advance the mechanistic understanding of how decisions are made, and provide a framework for investigating causes and therapies for maladaptive decision-making during mental illness states, such as anxiety and depression.