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Bruno B. Averbeck, Ph.D.

Laboratory of Neuropsychology

Building 49 Room 1B80
49 Convent Drive MSC4415
Bethesda MD 20892-4415
Office: (301) 594-1126
Lab: (301) 594-1126

Dr. Averbeck attained a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1994. After working 3 years in industry, Dr. Averbeck returned to the University of Minnesota and completed a Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2001, working in the lab of Dr. Apostolos Georgopoulos. His thesis was titled, "Neural Mechanisms of Copying Geometrical Shapes". Following his thesis work, Dr. Averbeck carried out post-doctoral studies at the University of Rochester with Dr. Daeyeol Lee. During this period he studied neural mechanisms underlying sequential learning, coding of vocalizations and population coding. In 2006 Dr. Averbeck moved to University College London as a senior Lecturer, where he began experiments looking at the role of frontal-striatal circuits in learning, combining neurophysiology, brain imaging and patient studies. In 2009, Dr. Averbeck moved to the NIMH and established the Unit on Learning and Decision Making in the Laboratory of Neuropsychology.

The work in Dr. Averbeck's group focuses on understanding the role of frontal-striatal circuits, and particularly the role of dopamine in these circuits, on learning and the representation of beliefs. The lab pursues these questions by establishing direct links between microcircuit network dynamics and behaviour. At the level of the microcircuit, the group looks at the effects of dopamine depletion on network dynamics within the basal ganglia (BG). These studies use information theoretic tools to assess the information processing capacity of the BG network in dopamine lesioned and control rats. Moving towards behaviour, the group examines the effects of micro-injections of dopamine antagonists into lateral prefrontal cortex and the caudate nucleus on behaviour and network neural activity in the behaving monkey. Studies in patients with Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia also examine the impact of pathological dopamine signalling on behaviour. By using a vertically integrated approach the lab defines the behavioural impact of changes in dopamine signalling through patient studies and brain imaging. We then focus on these specific behavioural processes and their associated brain systems with the in-vivo work, which allows the examination and manipulation of the system at a high level of detail.

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  • 1) Evans, S., Fleming, S.F., Dolan, R., and Averbeck, B.B (2011)
  • Effects of emotional preferences on value-based decision making are mediated by mentalizing not reward networks
  • J Cog Neuro, 23(9), 2197-210
  • 2) Averbeck, B. B., Evans, S., Chouhan, V., Bristow, E., and Shergill, S. S (2011)
  • Probabilistic learning and inference in schizophrenia
  • Schizophrenia Research, Apr;127(1-3), 115-22
  • 3) Djamshidian, A., O'Sullivan, S.S., Doherty, K., Lees, A.J., and Averbeck, B. B (2011)
  • Altruistic punishment inpatients with Parkinson's disease with and without impulsive behavior
  • Neuropsychologia, 49, 103-107
  • 4) Evans, S. Shergill, S.S. and Averbeck, B. B (2010)
  • Oxytocin decreases aversion to angry faces in a decision making task
  • Neuropsychopharmacology, 35, 2502-2509
  • 5) Djamshidian, A., Jha, A., O'Sullivan, S. S., Silveira-Moriyama, L., Jacobson, C., Brown, P., Lees, A. and Averbeck, B. B (2010)
  • Risk and learning in impulsive and non-impulsive patients with Parkinson's disease
  • Movement Disorders, 25, 2203-2210
  • 6) Crowe, D. A., Averbeck, B. B. and Chafee, M. V (2009)
  • Neural ensemble decoding reveals a correlate of viewer- to object-centered spatial transformation in monkey parietal cortex
  • J Neurosci, 28, 5218-5228
  • 7) Averbeck, B. B. and Duchaine, B. (2009)
  • Integration of social and utilitarian factors in decision making
  • Emotion, 9, 599-608
  • 8) Averbeck, B. B., Crowe, D. A., Chafee, M. V., and Georgopoulos, A. P (2009)
  • Differential contribution of superior parietal and dorsal-lateral prefrontal cortices in copying
  • Cortex, 45, 432-441
  • 9) Eusebio, A., Pogosyan, A., Wang, S., Averbeck, B., Doyle Gaynor, L., Limousin, P., Hariz, M., and Brown, P. (2009)
  • Resonance in the Cortical Response to Basal Ganglia Output in Parkinson's Disease
  • Brain, 132, 2139-2150
  • 10) Romanski, L.M. and Averbeck, B. B. (2009)
  • The primate cortical auditory system and neural representation of conspecific vocalizations
  • Annual Rev Neurosci, 39, 315-346
  • 11) Cruz, A.V., Mallet, N., Magill, P., Brown, P., and Averbeck, B. B (2009)
  • Effects of dopamine depletion on network entropy in the external globus pallidus
  • J Neurophys, 102, 1092-1102
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