Cognitive neuroscience research at BGU encompass a large variety of topics, ranging from decision making, working memory, cognitive flexibility, and automaticity to behavioral and neural variability, control of body balance, sensory processing, motor control and learning.
Special emphasis is given to Mechanistic Cognitive Neuroscience, aimed to understand how the brain enables cognition.
Research methodologies include functional and structural MRI imaging, EEG recordings, extracellular and intracellular recordings, two-photon imaging, behavioral and psychophysical experiments, clinical research and computational modeling.
Cognitive Neuroscience Researchers
My scientific discipline is cognitive neuroscience, and my research focuses on the psychological and neural properties of the human visual system. My work is designed to elucidate the brain mechanisms giving rise to perception of faces, objects and complex scenes and in turn, to visually guided behavior. I adopt an integrative multidisciplinary approach by combining behavioral, eye tracking and imaging techniques (structural and functional MRI). Additionally, my research employs a computational perspective which enables to study connectivity patters in the human brain that are associated with specific cognitive abilities and individual differences. My work involves healthy individuals as well as individuals with neuropsychological deficits affecting visual perception and cognition.
The interdisciplinary Computational Vision Lab
(iCVL) studies biological (and in particular, human) vision and machine vision
from both theoretical and applied perspectives. We bring together these fields
to (1) develop algorithmic solutions to challenges in computer vision and image
understanding, (2) devise computational explanations of biological visual
function, and (2) employ insights from studying vision for exploration of other
types of information processing, both sensory and cognitive. To meet these goals,
research is highly interdisciplinary, involving various combinations of
computational and mathematical work, machine learning techniques, behavioral
exploration and visual psychophysics (with both humans and animals), and
inquiry into visual neuroscience
The lab for functional neuroanatomy works on 2 brain systems:
The language system, and the prefrontal cortex. We have published a functional neuroanatomy of the language system (Ben Shalom & Poeppel, 2008), and a functional neuroanatomy of the prefrontal cortex (Ben Shalom & Bonneh, 2019). We are busy testing the predictions of these two theoretical models.
Studies the development of executive aspects of attention and control (e.g., inhibitory control, monitoring, and error detection), and the development of number representations using behavioral and EEG studies.
Studies brain function and structure in developmental disorders including autism and ADHD with a strong emphasis on toddlers who have just been diagnosed. Onging projects include sensory, motor, and resting-state experiments using EEG and fMRI to study brain function as well as anatomical and DTI MRI scans to study brain structure.
Prof. Dinstein is the director of the National Autism Research Center located in BGU (www.autismisrael.org).
My areas of interest include the conceptual foundations of computational (and non-computational) cognitive and brain sciences, philosophy of computation, philosophy of information as well as skill acquisition and automaticity. To date, my work has been theoretical only, but empirical work on skill acquisition and automaticity is presently planned in collaboration with Dr. Lior Shmuelof and Prof. Joseph Tzelgov.
My field of research is social-cognitive neuroscience. I am mostly interested in phenomena that seem to be the result of the social/cultural and communicative/symbolic capacities of humans (for example, the ability to regulate one's emotions, political conflict). In thinking of these phenomena, we focus on the individual-level mental events that may subserve them (e.g., perspective-taking processes, the workings of motivational systems), often applying a biological perspective (i.e., thinking in terms of evolutionary functions and biological systems, using neuroimaging methods).
The research in my lab focuses on two main topics:
a. The relationship between working memory (WM) and cognitive control. We study how the content of WM is served for the control of thought and action, and how this content itself is controlled. To this end we use behavioral, EEG/ERP and neuroimaging methods.
b. Group-level cognition. We study the collective psychology of small groups. For example, group-level WM capacity, collective memory, group-level reaction time, decision making, and so forth. We examine the relationship between individual-level performance and group performance, as well as phenomena that are related to the wisdom of crowds.
In the Levy-Tzedek Lab, we study the effects of aging and disease (such as stroke) on motor control and motor learning, and we design rehabilitation tools and techniques.
Specifically, we design gamified human-robot interactions for healthy aging, as well as for post-stroke rehabilitation.
The maidenbaum lab studies the interaction between humans and their surrounding environment - how do we represent our spatial surroundings in our brain? How are these representations modulated by different sensory input channels and by memory? How are real, virtual and augmented environments coded? And how can we use insights from this basic science in order to rehabilitate, assist and augment human spatial skills?
We use naturalistic gamified paradigms in order to test human spatial memory and navigation in healthy participants and in patients, and computational models in order to decode environmental features such as directions, locations, and targets.
The lab is also interested in non-physical spaces, aiming to extend findings from spatial cognition to other dimensions such as time, social and abstract concept spaces.
My students and I apply neuroscience theories about the human sensorimotor control, perception, adaptation, learning, and skill acquisition in the development of human-operated medical and surgical robotic systems. We also use robots, haptic devices, and other mechatronic devices as a platform to understand the human sensorimotor system in real-life tasks like surgery, and in virtual tasks like virtual reality games or surgical simulation. We hope that this research will improve the quality of treatment for patients, will facilitate better training of surgeons, advance the technology of teleoperation and haptics, and advance our understanding of the brain.
Studies the social, motivational and cognitive
processes underlying humans' interactions with and perceptions of other people.
He used neuroimaging (fMRI) methods as well as methods from behavioral
psychology, economy and more. Specifically interested in how stereotypes shape
neural mechanisms and our life.
The Memory and Forgetting Lab, headed by Dr. Talya Sadeh, investigates the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying Episodic Memory. The term episodic memory was coined in 1972 by the influential memory researcher, Endel Tulving, and is often described as (the perhaps uniquely human) capacity to mentally go back in time and relive events from our past (e.g., your 16th birthday or even yesterday's lunch).
Some of the major questions our lab explores are: Why do we forget things we once remembered? How is memory affected by processes that occur prior to learning? How does social interaction shape episodic memory?
I study motor control and motor learning in humans using behavioral and imaging methods. My research includes studying the acquisition of new abilities (such as in the case of BCI), the differential effect of implicit and explicit processes in sensorimotor adaptation, skill learning, critical periods for motor recovery after stroke, and rehabilitation.
Research in the lab of Dr. Oren Shriki uses mathematical analyses of brain activity and machine learning techniques to develop novel diagnostic tools for neurological and psychiatric disorders. The lab also develops computational models of neuronal networks to gain insights into how changes in neural dynamics lead to brain disorders and how neural plasticity may assist in restoring healthy neural dynamics. A major focus of the lab is on translational neuroscience and neurotechnologies, such as brain-computer interfaces, a system for real-time epileptic seizure prediction and a novel pilot helmet which monitor's the pilot's brain.
Studies the biological basis, including genetics and endocrinology, of empathy development in the typical range and atypical range (e.g., autism); and how biological factors interact with environmental influences (social environment, parenting) to shape different trajectories of empathy development.
As a clinical psychologist and a researcher, my research intersects with and is reinforced by my clinical background. My main research focuses are language and communication processing, social and emotional perception in individuals with schizophrenia, the influence of stress and maternal depression on the developing brain, and the brain mechanisms underlying dissociative states of consciousness. In my research I utilize a range of behavioral and brain imaging techniques including EEG and MEG.
Studies the critical alterations within the brain reward system that are associated with pathological conditions, and how localized electromagnetic stimulation (using TMS) of these networks can affect such conditions in animal models and humans with a specific focus on molecular and electrophysiological alterations in reward-related networks that are associated with and may cause depression, addiction and attention deficit disorders.