One of the major programs of research in the CCP Lab is focused on understanding the interplay between cognition, brain function, and neurotransmission in order to better understand the mechanisms contributing to the deficits in behavior and cognition found in healthy aging and a range of neuropsychological syndromes, including schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Tourette’s Syndrome and Depression. The overarching theme running through this work is the search to understand the role that prefrontal cortex deficits, and dopamine disturbances play in cognitive deficits found in these populations.
Two threads run through this research program. The first is the clarification of the nature of dysfunctional cognitive and biological processes in schizophrenia, as well as their relationships to each other, and to specific symptoms. The second thread is the study of cognitive and biological mechanisms involved in nonpathological performance in behavioral domains relevant to understanding schizophrenia as well as other disorders that may involve dysfunction of PFC and the dopamine system. By clarifying the mechanisms that subserve nonpathological functioning, we can better understand how disturbances in these systems give rise to pathological functioning.