Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
B.S., Cornell University
etricomi (at) psychology.rutgers.edu
Broadly speaking, my research focuses on the influences of affective information on cognitive processing in the brain. The affective qualities of our experience not only produce subjective feelings that may be positive or negative, but also provide information that allows us to shape future behavior. To understand how the consequences of ones decisions can be used to determine future actions, I use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the role of the brains reward processing system in feedback-based learning. My work examines contextual influences on learning and decision making, and the neural systems that underlie these processes. For example, my research indicates that the sensitivity of the striatum, a region in the basal ganglia, to reward-related information depends on factors such as whether one feels a sense of agency in producing an outcome or whether a habit has been formed after extensive experience. This research has important implications for understanding how cognitive processes such as learning and decision making are carried out in the normal brain, as well as for understanding how impairments of the brains reward processing system may give rise to disorders such as addiction and other compulsive behaviors.
Graduate Student, Third Year
Graduate Student - Rutgers University
B.S., University of Vermont
wesley.ameden (at) rutgers.edu
Broadly, I am interested in the processes by which humans learn and make decisions, the influences of context, feedback, incentive structures, and cognitive biases, and the reasons that individuals or groups behave in ways that are counter to their goals. Using methods combining psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics, I hope to expand on what we know about these counterproductive human behaviors. More specifically, I am interested in applying this research to study and nudge behavior in many areas including personal goals, health, resource management, climate-conscious actions, and more.
Graduate Student, 1st Year
B.A., Rutgers University, New Brunswick
dar257 (at) connect.rutgers.edu
My scientific interests exist at the intersection of neuroscience and education. Specifically, I am interested in the neural substrates of feedback-seeking behavior and feedback-based learning in the presence of negative feedback. Generally, negative feedback is aversive and is sometimes avoided despite its utility to improve individual work performance. How can we encourage students and those in the work force to seek out negative feedback? Here, I would like to investigate manipulations in feedback timing (e.g. increasing delay between performance and feedback) to encourage feedback-seeking behaviors/feedback-based learning in negative feedback conditions.
Research Assistants as of Fall 2022
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Working with: Darian Raizberg