Peter Tse '84 Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship

Peter Tse ’84, professor of psychological and brain sciences, is among 178 scholars, artists, and scientists in the United States and Canada awarded fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for 2014.

The fellows are selected “on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise,” according to the foundation. Tse, who holds a PhD in cognitive psychology from Harvard, is the author of The Neural Basis of Free Will: Criterial Causation (2013).

Tse and his students employ neuroscientific data, gathered using fMRI and other techniques, to show how free will might be realized in the brain.

The 30 Top Thinkers Under 30 (Pacific Standard)

Jon Freeman, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences, is featured on  Pacific Standard’s list of the 30 “top thinkers” under the age of 30.“

"My work examines how we perceive other people through facial, vocal, and bodily cues, as well as how those perceptions are shaped by the larger social context,” Freeman tells Pacific Standard.

Freeman, the director of the Social Cognitive and Neural Sciences Lab at Dartmouth, says, “Being able to shed light on the mechanisms that underlie human experience and then share that knowledge with the research community and rest of the world keeps me going. It’s usually all quite a slow and intensive process, but reaching those moments of discovery are completely worth it.” 

Read the full story, published 4/6/14 by Pacific Standard.

Brain Scientist's Study of Neural Free Will Collects Honors

Professor Peter Tse ’84 has won two PROSE awards from the American Association of Publishers for his 2013 book, The Neural Basis of Free Will: Criterial Causation, which argues there is a physical pathway for choice in the human brain. Tse’s work, published by MIT Press, won the Award for Excellence in Biological & Life Sciences and was also recognized in the Biomedicine & Neuroscience category. The association names annual PROSE award winners among professional and scholarly publications recognized as “pioneering works of research and for contributing to the conception, production, and design of landmark works in their fields.”

Read more at Dartmouth Now announcement.

Read one page summary of the book for non-scientists.

Network structure and dynamics of the mental workspace

Paper authored by Peter Tse and Alex Schiegel and published in the PNAS.

We do not know how the human brain mediates complex and creative behaviors such as artistic, scientific, and mathematical thought. Scholars theorize that these abilities require conscious experience as realized in a widespread neural network, or “mental workspace,” that represents and manipulates images, symbols, and other mental constructs across a variety of domains. Evidence for such a complex, interconnected network has been difficult to produce with current techniques that mainly study brain activity in isolation and are insensitive to distributed informational processes. The present work takes advantage of emerging techniques in network and information analysis to provide empirical support for such a widespread and interconnected information processing network in the brain that supports the manipulation of visual imagery.

Travis Todd Receives New Investigator Award

Dr. Travis Todd, a postdoctoral fellow in Professor David Bucci’s laboratory, has received the 2013 New Investigator Award from the American Psychological Association (Division of Experimental Psychology).  The New Investigator award is presented annually to an early-career author whose article was deemed the very best of the year by the APA journal editors or editorial boards.  Dr. Todd received the award for the article: 

Todd, T. P. (2013). Mechanisms of renewal after the extinction of instrumental behavior. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 39(3), 193-207.

Before coming to Dartmouth, Dr. Todd earned his PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Vermont in February, 2013, working with Professor Mark Bouton.

You Want Fries With That? Don't Go There.

New Dartmouth study of chronic dieters suggests brain disruptions weaken will power.

A new Dartmouth neuroimaging study suggests chronic dieters overeat when the regions of their brain that balance impulsive behavior and self-control become disrupted, decreasing their capacity to resist temptation.

The findings, which appear in the journal Psychological Science, indicate that chronic dieters will have more success if they avoid situations that challenge their self-control. A PDF of the study is attached.

The results shed new light on brain mechanisms involved in obesity, substance abuse and other impulsive health problems. Going forward, the Dartmouth researchers are looking into whether self-control can be strengthened over time – much like muscles are strengthened through exercise and rest -- by routinely resisting minor temptations.