Human memory and its neural mechanisms
I am interested in human episodic memory for verbal, visual and spatial information. To study this general problem, I conduct experiments that measure behavioral and electrophysiological responses during memory tasks, and develop computational models to explain the resulting data. Our lab is one of several in the world studying the electrophysiological responses of neurons through direct intracranial electroencephalographic (iEEG) recording from the living human brain. Such recordings can be obtained from epilepsy patients who have had electrodes surgically implanted on the cortical surface of the brain or through the medial temporal lobes (including hippocampus) as part of the clinical process of localizing seizure foci. By analyzing how brain activity, including the responses of individual neurons, correlates with task variables, we are able to study the neurophysiological basis of memory with a high degree of spatial and temporal resolution. Current projects include studies of spatial navigation using a virtual taxi driver game, and computational modeling of the role of temporal context in visual and verbal memory.
Professor Kahana's publications may be accessed through his lab website, http://memory.psych.upenn.edu/Publications