SURF

Matthew Boggess

Developing a Model of the Basal Ganglia and Cerebellum

Everyday actions require both the selection of the correct action and then the correct execution of this action. For example, when playing tennis, one has to both select the correct stroke to use and then correctly execute this stroke. The basal ganglia and cerebellum are two systems in the brain thought to be responsible for action selection and execution respectively. My research aims to develop a computational model of these two systems in order to investigate how they interact to produce complex motor actions. This model will be biologically constrained to best approximate actual biological function and will connect the two systems based on existing anatomical connections. By comparing the performance of this model with actual behavioral results, I hope to better understand the functional pathways in the brain that are responsible for producing actions as well as test hypotheses about how these two systems influence each other’s learning.

Message to Sponsor

Participating in research is a highly rewarding and valuable experience. Unfortunately, academics and other commitments during the school year make it difficult to dedicate as much time as desired to this process. This program has given me the opportunity to dedicate an entire summer solely to this process and I could not be more fortunate to have this opportunity. An experience like this is critical for students who are interested in really engaging in research and I am extremely grateful to the Pergo Foundation, which provides support for this program and make this opportunity possible for myself and others like me.
  • Major: Cognitive Science and Computer Science
  • Sponsor: Pergo SURF fellow
  • Mentor: Richard Ivry, Psychology