I finished my PhD in neuroscience in 2010, working in Ken Norman‘s Computational Memory lab at Princeton.

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Weakening memories by half-remembering them

For my PhD thesis, I worked on a series of behavioral and fMRI memory experiments to understand a little more about forgetting, called ‘Weakening memories by half-remembering them’.

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fMRI and multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA)

I was heavily involved in efforts to analyze fMRI neuroimaging data multivariately. The basic idea is that we should be able to use machine learning tools to learn how the patterns in your brain activity indicate what you’re thinking.

I led development on the Princeton MVPA toolbox for Matlab, an open source package to facilitate these kinds of analyses.


Connectionist modelling

With Ken Norman and Ehren Newman, I worked on a neural network learning algorithm that works very well at learning to pick apart similar patterns from one another, and captures a series of fiendish and counter-intuitive behavioural findings that I helped simulate.

This was the inspiration for a lot of the PhD work on ‘weakening memories by half-remembering them’.

Pittsburgh EBC fMRI analysis competition

I helped coordinate coordinated the team behind in the 2006 and 2007 DARPA-sponsored Pittsburgh EBC competition to read minds with fMRI.

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Similarity structure and spatial working memory

As part of my master’s thesis, I worked (with Ken Norman) on a novel multivariate method for exploratory fMRI analysis. It calculates the isomorphism between the pattern of activity in a brain region and the patterns predicted by rich psychological models. In my thesis, I show that we can better predict which location someone is covertly attending to with this multivariate ‘similarity structure’ method than with standard or univariate measures on a spatial working memory dataset. I also attempt to relate this to my work on temporal context and memory.

Context and free recall

I worked on a number of experiments to try and see if we could find a neural correlate of temporal context change in the brain, following on from Polyn et al (2005).


With Danny Oppenheimer and Anouk Schneider, I won the Society for Judgment and Decision Making’s Hillel Einhorn Award for the best paper for a young investigator, for our work on VAMP, a Voting Agent Model of Preferences.


With Agatha Lenartowicz and others, I worked on using multi-voxel pattern analyses of fMRI to investigate theories of task-switching.