Dr Matthew Apps
TELEPHONE: +44 (0) 1865 618 634
BBSRC AFL FELLOW & Somerville Junior Research Fellow
My research is focused on understanding the mechanisms in the human brain that underpin learning and decision-making. Most of my research is focused on investigating how statistical information about costs (such as risk, uncertainty or effort) and benefits (such as financial rewards) are processed in the brain, particularly when we are interacting with other people.
I use a combination of cognitive neuroscience methods, such as functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), in conjunction with computational modelling approaches. These techniques allow me to explore basic science questions in healthy adults. I also explore individual differences in clinical and sub-clinical populations to understand more about how decision-making processes can differ in disorders of motivation and social cognition. Currently I am involved in three main projects:
- Effort, apathy and reward – Examining the relationship between individual differences in apathy and how rewards are processed, when incurring physical or cognitive costs.
- Social decision-making – Examining the processing of rewards in the cingulate cortex during social interactions, and examining the functional and connectional properties of this area in the autistic spectrum.
- Predictive coding and free-energy – Examining how the brain makes predictions about its environment and how such predictions influence perception and behaviour.