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What We Do

The Adcock laboratory focuses on the neural systems that allow what we desire to influence what we remember, for better and for worse. We use functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) activation (increases in image brightness that reflect changes in the oxygen levels in the brain) to measure how changes in brain activity relate to both motivation and memory.

By looking at activation of neural circuits before and during memory formation, we have shown that even before you have an experience (e.g.; seeing a picture), there are neural markers that predict whether or not you are going to remember it. The ability afforded by fMRI to look at an individual person's brain as it changes, moment-to-moment, allows us to return to decades-old but still unresolved questions about how motivation influences learning new information. We can now integrate these data with other psychological and biological data we collect prior to and during memory formation to identify the key antecedents of lasting memories.

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