Executive control refers to the brain's ability to flexibly and dynamically adjust behavior based on current tasks and goals. Executive control is required to override default behaviors (e.g., instead of driving home from work, to stop at the hardware store), perform novel and arbitrary tasks, and follow instructions.
We attempt to characterize executive control in terms of 'sequential dependencies' on behavior. Ample evidence from experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience suggests that each experience we have with the world -- each visual scene we examine and each response we make to it -- influences our subsequent perceptions and behavior. These sequential dependencies occur in perception, memory, language, and motor control. We are exploring sequential dependencies in a variety of domains to understand the basic mechanisms of learning from experience on the time scale of seconds, and how this learning can provide an explanation of executive control.
Andrew Kessel (Computer Science, University of Colorado)
Matt Jones (Psychology, University of Colorado)
Sachiko Kinoshita (Psychology, Macquarie University)
Jeremy Reynolds (Psychology, Denver University)