Jacob Paul (Melbourne)

Paul Seminar flyer


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Elizabeth Bowman


Seminar series

Zoom link: https://unimelb.zoom.us/j/83852924527?pwd=dTl0aHN4TlkxMURYeFhHNlRXb1Y5QT09

Interacting in a quantitative world: Computational neuroscience of number

We use quantities every day to make decisions: selecting the train carriage with the most available seats; deciding when to leave home to make an appointment on time; choosing the shortest route to the nearest cafe. Recent advancements in neuroimaging (ultra-high resolution 7 Tesla fMRI) combined with neural-based computational models (population receptive field modelling) has revealed a widespread network of brain areas that selectively process quantities (number, size, timing), which are organised as topographic maps. To what extent do individual differences in the organisation of these quantity maps explain behaviours important for economic decision-making?

This talk will be divided into three sections covering (1) my latest research demonstrating how visual numerosity can be straightforwardly estimated from local image contrast representations in early visual cortex, (2) a review of recent neuroeconomic research highlighting individual risk attitudes arise from noise in neural representations of magnitude and the role of number sense in trading decisions, and (3) an overview of my current research which aims to map changes in neural topography following associative learning of quantities with unfamiliar symbols, as well as manipulating the trade-offs between financial reward, cognitive effort, boredom, and aversive pain during maths problem-solving as a model for STEM engagement.