I am undertaking my PhD research studies in neuroscience with a focus on psychophysics and neuroimaging. I am interested in how people make decisions in the presence of uncertainty. My current research uses a vibrotactile discrimination task, where subjects make simple decisions based on what they perceive (e.g. which vibration felt faster). The parameters of the vibrations are changed trial-by-trial, affecting the degree of uncertainty that the participant experiences. This task is taken into the fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scanner where we have acquired neural data that correlates with perceptual uncertainty. By manipulating stimuli properties, and seeing how this alters behavioural and neural responses, we hope to describe the algorithms the human brain uses to optimise decision when uncertainty.
I am interested in human decision-making in general, and question the clever, irrational and strange things that we do. I have an interest in studies that examine how changes in environment/internal states lead to changes in perception, and how this can lead to distinct repertoires of behaviour. I also appreciate research that can relate findings from the lab to real-world contexts, whether it's via field studies or the analysis of large datasets. I tend to walk around and note the odd things that I do and wonder if there's been an empirical study to describe my behaviour. I may be seen wearing a hat on a daily basis.
m.karim at unsw.edu.au