As humans we face a fundamental challenge. Throughout our lives we experience a relatively small set of events, most of which never recur in exactly the same form and context. Nevertheless, we are equipped with a behavioural repertoire that is adaptive in a large variety of situations. How can we do so well in so many situations we have never experienced before?
Luckily, most of our experiences are interrelated in some way - they may contain the same people, places or events - and often the same cause-effect relationships hold across related experiences. If the brain manages to recognise, extract and store these relationships efficiently, this knowledge can be exploited to infer information about things we have never directly experienced.
I use behavioural experiments, computational modeling and functional magnetic resonance imaging to study how the brain represents relational knowledge and uses this to enable flexible behaviour. I am also interested in how these processes go awry in psychiatric disorders and how behaviour can be changed to increase wellbeing and more sustainable decision-making.
Mona M Garvert, Raymond J Dolan & Timothy EJ Behrens (2017). A map of abstract relational knowledge in the human hippocampal–entorhinal cortex. Elife 6
Helen C Barron*, Mona M Garvert* & Timothy EJ Behrens (2016). Repetition suppression: a means to index neural representations using BOLD? Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 371 (1705), 20150355
Mona M Garvert, Michael Moutoussis, Zeb Kurth-Nelson, Timothy EJ Behrens, Raymond J Dolan (2015) Learning-induced plasticity in medial prefrontal cortex predicts preference malleability Neuron 85 (2), 418-428
Mona M Garvert, Karl J Friston, Raymond J Dolan, Marta I Garrido (2014). Subcortical amygdala pathways enable rapid face processing Neuroimage 102, 309-316
Mona M Garvert & T Gollisch (2013). Local and global contrast adaptation in retinal ganglion cells Neuron 77 (5), 915-928
Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD in Neuroscience
Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany & Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon, France