Project 1: Social Inference and Observational Learning. J. O’Doherty, PI

This first Project builds directly on Project 2 of our previous Conte Center directed by Prof. O’Doherty, which was on observational learning. We will investigate three distinct mechanisms for observational learning: through social inference (about another person’s goals, intentions and preferences), action imitation (copying the other’s behavior without deeper inference about their internal states), or self-based reinforcement learning (the actions and reward observed for another person are fictively experienced as happening to oneself). 

What contextual cues determine which one of these mechanisms is engaged? What network of structures implements them? We will use model-based fMRI and previously developed computational frameworks to explore these questions.