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Department of Brain Sciences


Weizmann Institute of Science



Rony Paz


Rony Paz completed a BSc in Mathematics and Computer-science in parallel to a BA in Philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and moved to the ICNC (Interdisciplinary center for neural computation, currently ELSC) to complete a PhD in computational electrophysiology which investigates the neural computations in the primary motor cortex that underlie learning and generalization of visuomotor skills. He then did his postdoc at Rutgers University examining the neural mechanisms in the Amygdala that enable emotional learning. He started his independent lab at the Weizmann Institute 14 years ago (2008) focusing on the neural mechanisms that underlie affective learning in primates. His team performs physiological investigations in the primate amygdala, and specifically in amygdala-PFC circuits. They focus on the mechanisms of learning that result in adaptive as well as maladaptive behaviour. He explored the mechanisms that underlie delayed extinction, overgeneralization, exploration-exploitation trade-off and social interactions. Many of our studies focus on why reward-based (appetitive) learning is different than punishment-based (aversive) learning. They combine behavioral studies, computational approaches, with electrophysiology and stimulation in the primate amygdala and prefrontal cortex. They further combine physiological experiments in non-human-primates together with imaging-fMRI in humans, and electrophysiological recordings in human patients (epileptic and parkinsonian). The use of similar behavioural models across primate species, and the complementary techniques, are necessary for the understanding of the primate brain in health and disease. The overarching goal of the lab is to gain better understanding of the neural codes and circuits that underlie affective learning, and how mal-adaptive processes in these networks lead to pathologies.


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

4:30pm EDT6:00pm EDT

Generalization in the Context of Pain: Both Good and Bad?

Tracks: Mechanisms
Categories: Topical Workshop
Room: 717 A

Learning to predict danger is adaptive; it assists in anticipating and avoiding future harm. Given its intrinsically alarming function, pain…