Matthew Balcarras

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Top-down inputs from prefrontal cortex impact on sensory neurons [1,2], enhancing their selectivity to attended stimuli, while sensory processing of distractors is suppressed [1,3,4]. However, what are the neuro-computational mechanisms that identify the behaviorally relevant information that is worth to bias? Previous studies linked selective attention to(More)
Attention includes processes that evaluate stimuli relevance, select the most relevant stimulus against less relevant stimuli, and bias choice behavior toward the selected information. It is not clear how these processes interact. Here, we captured these processes in a reinforcement learning framework applied to a feature-based attention task that required(More)
Noradrenaline is believed to support cognitive flexibility through the alpha 2A noradrenergic receptor (a2A-NAR) acting in prefrontal cortex. Enhanced flexibility has been inferred from improved working memory with the a2A-NA agonist Guanfacine. But it has been unclear whether Guanfacine improves specific attention and learning mechanisms beyond working(More)
Learning in a new environment is influenced by prior learning and experience. Correctly applying a rule that maps a context to stimuli, actions, and outcomes enables faster learning and better outcomes compared to relying on strategies for learning that are ignorant of task structure. However, it is often difficult to know when and how to apply learned(More)
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