Current Cravings, Strange Desires, and Frightening Things: The Effect of the Frontal Lobe and Amygdala on Affect and Actions

Elisabeth A. Murray

Current Cravings event image

Dr. Elisabeth Murray’s laboratory studies the neural basis of learning, memory, emotion and action. One topic of particular interest is the neural bases of decision-making. What motivates us to make choices? How do our emotional responses lead to certain decisions over others? Examining the neural circuits critical for affective processing and the way in which affective information, including reward, guides decision-making, Dr. Murray will discuss her research in macaque monkeys, showing that the amygdala and a part of the frontal lobe—the orbital prefrontal cortex—operate as part of a network involved in reward-based decision making. These circuits contribute to emotional responses, preferences for foods, choice of objects associated with foods, and the valuation of choices based on a current biological state. In this talk, Dr. Murray will discuss the relationship between affective processing and choice of actions.

Dr. Murray received her B.S. in Biology from Bucknell University and her Ph.D. in Physiology from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. She is currently the Chief of the Section on the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory in the Laboratory of Neuropsychology at NIMH. Her current work includes an examination of the neural circuits underlying decision-making and response selection.