Jan Drugowitsch

Jan Drugowitsch

Assistant Professor of Neurobiology
Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School
Center for Brain Science

Statistical computations and neuronal mechanisms underlying complex decisions and behavior under uncertainty.  The work in the lab is theoretical in nature, and we collaborate with experimentalists in a close loop to refine both theories and experiments.

The goal of the Drugowitsch lab is to use tools from computational neuroscience to address how the nervous system represents and processes ambiguous information, and how this leads to efficient behavior.

Despite the noisy and ambiguous nature of the world that surrounds us, our nervous system deals with the resulting uncertainty in a remarkably efficient manner.  What are the computations that the brain performs to achieve such feats?  How does its biological substrate implement these computations?  How do we best interpret neural and behavioral data to guide our research?

To address these questions, we combine tools from machine learning, physics, and neuroscience to develop theories about how networks of neurons are able to infer, represent, and process the state of the world, and how this processing leads to competent behavior.  These theories are on one hand guided by statistical principles and the approximations required to keep the resulting computations tractable.  On the other hand, they are constrained by our knowledge of the architecture of the nervous systems, and by observed behavior and neural activity.

Selected Publications:

Jan Drugowitsch et al. (2016).  Computational precision of mental inference as critical source of human choice suboptimality. Neuron, 92, 1-14.

Tajima, S.*, Drugowitsch, J.*, and Pouget, A. (2016)  Optimal policy for value-based decision-making. Nature Communications. 7:12400 doi:10.1038/ncomms12400.

Pouget., A., Drugowitsch, J., and Kepecs, A. (2016)  Confidence and certainty: distinct probabilistic quantities for different goals. Nature Neuroscience, 3(19), 366-374.

Moreno-Bote, R., and Drugowitsch, J. (2015)  Causal inference and explaining away in spiking networks. Scientific Reports, 1753, 5.

Drugowitsch, J., Moreno-Bote, R., and Pouget, A. (2014)  Optimal decision-making with time-varying evidence reliability. In Ghahramani, Z., et al. (eds.) Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 27: 748-756.

Drugowitsch, J., et al. (2012)  The cost of accumulating evidence in perceptual decision making. The Journal of Neuroscience, 11(32), 3612-3628.

Contact Information

Department of Neurobiology
Harvard Medical School
Warren Alpert Building, Room 215
200 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
p: 617 432-5026

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