Lab Updates

The power of nothing: Risk preference in pigeons, but not people, is driven primarily by avoidance of zero outcomes

New paper looking at risky choice in pigeons, published in Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition.

“Both species showed risky choices consistent with an overweighting of extreme outcomes when the low-value risky option could yield an outcome of 0. When all outcome values were increased such that none of the options could lead to 0, people but not pigeons still overweighted the extremes. Unlike people, pigeons no longer avoided a low-value risky option when it yielded a nonzero food outcome.”

Christopher Donoff defends MSc

Christopher Donoff successfully defended his MSc on “Measuring mental imagery” (University of Alberta; co-supervised with Anthony Singhal). He has already begun a MSc Data Science degree at the University of British Columbia. We wish him all the best!

New academic year

New academic year

The new academic year is upon us–and it’s still such a lovely campus!

PRIMatE Data Exchange (PRIME-DE) Global Collaboration Workshop

Dr. Madan contributed to the PRIME-DE workshop, and accompanying BrainHack event. Exciting advances and discussions of non-human primate imaging methods.

Cortical Cartography talk at MNI

Cortical Cartography talk at MNI

Dr. Madan gave a well-attended invited seminar at the Montreal Neurological Institute on novel brain morphology measures for quantifying aging and other inter-individual differences.

Effectiveness of the method of loci is only minimally related to factors that should influence imagined navigation

“As described and instructed, this strategy apparently relies on a spatial/navigational metaphor. However, whether the method relies critically on this spatial/navigation metaphor is unknown. An alternative hypothesis is that the navigation component is superfluous to memory success, and the method of loci is better viewed as a special case of a larger class of imagery-based peg strategies.”

Keynote speaker at Aspects of Neuroscience 2019

Dr. Madan will be the keynote speaker for the cognitive session at Aspects of Neuroscience 2019 in Warsaw, Poland. His talk will be entitled: “The role of the hippocampus in memory for associations”.

Robust estimation of sulcal morphology

“Here we developed a computational approach for estimating sulcal width and depth that relies on cortical surface reconstructions output by FreeSurfer. While other approaches for estimating sulcal morphology exist, studies often require the use of multiple brain morphology programs that have been shown to differ in their approaches to localize sulcal landmarks, yielding morphological estimates based on inconsistent boundaries.”

Data visualization for inference in tomographic brain imaging

“Tomographic brain imaging has a rich iconography. Whilst figures are prepared for scientific communication (i.e., directed to other researchers) they also often end-up on magazine and journal covers (i.e., directed to a lay audience). Scientific figures should however not be just glossy illustrations of what is in the text.”

Invited seminars

Invited seminars

Recently gave invited seminars on brain morphology and innovative cognitive psychology methods at King’s College London, Toronto Western Hospital’s Krembil Institute, and InteraXon Inc.

(Photo taken at King’s College London.)

Reduced associative memory for negative information: impact of confidence and interactive imagery during study

“Although item-memory for emotional information is enhanced, memory for associations between items is often impaired for negative, emotionally arousing compared to neutral information. We tested two possible mechanisms underlying this impairment, using picture pairs: 1) higher confidence in one’s own ability to memorise negative information may cause participants to under-study negative pairs; 2) better interactive imagery for neutral pairs could facilitate associative memory for neutral pairs more than for negative pairs.”

Value bias of verbal memory

“A common finding is that items associated with higher reward value are subsequently remembered better than items associated with lower value. A confounding factor is that when a higher value stimuli is presented, this typically signals to participants that it is now a particularly important time to engage in the task. […] Results converged on null effects of value on subsequent free recall accuracy. Re-analyses attributed Madan et al.’s value-bias to competition between choice items that were paired during learning. Value may not bias memory if it does not signal task importance or induce inter-item competition.”