The Role of Acetylcholine and Dopamine in Perception and Working Memory

Ahmad Al-Zughoul : Cognitive Science and Molecular & Cell Biology

Mentor: Mark D’Esposito, Psychology

Visual working memory is a limited, short-term mental storage system that holds task-relevant visual information in mind and is important for visually guided behavior. Recent studies have suggested that visual working memory is closely linked to visual perception, implemented in overlapping brain regions and sharing similar brain circuitry. Ahmad’s research project will investigate the effects of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine and dopamine, which are known to play important roles in visual perception and in working memory, respectively, by combining pharmacologic manipulation of these neurotransmitters while measuring behavioral performance in a visual working memory task in humans. By testing the role of neurotransmitters known to play a role in modulating perceptual and memory signals, he aims to shed light on the intricate relationship between visual perception and working memory.