Theoretical & Applied Neuroscience

Peering inside the brain

Analysis of electroencephalographic (EEG) data provides insight into the neural processes that underlie learning and decision-making.

Not Only When but Where

While EEG data is typically used to determine when something is processed, source analysis of EEG waveforms allows researchers to determine where in the brain EEG signals originate.

NASA Project

Dr. Krigolson at the NASA HI-SEAS Mars Habitat in Hawaii. Using technology developed in our lab we can measure astronaut's brain health and performance while they are on missions.

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Sport Performance

We used the MUSE portable EEG device to predict baseball player's batting performance based on brain activity prior to batting.

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The Theoretical and Applied Neuroscience Laboratory

The principal focus of our laboratory is the study of neuroeconomics. An emerging field, neuroeconomics is an integration of the principles of neuroscience, psychology, and economic theory with a purpose to explore and explain human decision making and learning.

In our laboratory, we use neuroimaging techniques such as this one related to brain potentials and functional magnetic resonance imaging in conjunction with mathematical modeling to improve our understanding of the neural processes and computations that underlie human decision making and learning.

Our research

Our research is focused on two main streams:


The theoretical aspect of our research program examines the systems and mechanisms that underlie learning and decision-making. Our theoretical research is model-driven – we use both theoretical and computational models to make empirical predictions about neural systems and then use neuroimaging data to assess the extent to which the brain’s computations align with theoretical predictions.

For instance, it has been posited that human learning is in part dependent on the computation of prediction errors - discrepancies between expectations and outcomes - that are used to evaluate and modify subsequent behaviour. Our research in this area over the past decade has been influential; we have demonstrated that observable electroencephalographic responses to feedback appear to mirror theoretical prediction errors. For instance, in 2009 we demonstrated that the neural responses evoked by the presentation of outcome feedback diminish as learning occurs - but only for people who actually learn the presented information.

In follow-up studies (e.g., Krigolson et al., 2014), we extended these findings and began to explore the relationship between the processing of response outcomes and how they modulate changes in the neural responses associated with decision-making. Recently, we have begun to explore the neural correlates of decision-making processes. For example, in a study we have just published (Williams et al., 2019) we have probed the neural signatures of Kahneman’s System One and System Two decision framework. We have recently started to apply these concepts in the context of Medical Decision Making.


The applied focus of our research program has largely been centred around the validation and use of mobile EEG technology. In 2017 for instance, our laboratory published a validation paper that demonstrated similar data quality between a traditional research grade EEG system and the low-cost $199 MUSE EEG headband.

Since this initial validation work, our laboratory has been exploring potential uses for mobile EEG technology – something that has led to an ongoing collaboration with NASA’s Mars mission. For the NASA project we will be deploying MUSE technology and a custom iOS app developed in our laboratory to monitor changes in astronauts brain health and performance brought about by isolation during a one-year mission within the HI-SEAS Mars Habitat in Hawaii.

In other mobile EEG projects, we have used the technology that we have developed to monitor fatigue in clinical settings such as the emergency room of the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria and at a gold mine in northern British Columbia. We have also used mobile EEG technology to predict batting performance in baseball (Pluta et al., 2018) and we are currently planning a trip to Nepal to study mindfulness in Buddhist monks. The growth of the applied aspect of our research program has also led to an important side benefit – it has created opportunities for my graduate students for funding and also for careers outside of academia as evidenced by successful NSERC Engage and CRD grants in addition to numerous Mitacs Accelerate Fellowships.


For more information about our research projects, publications, methods, reading lists, and anything else about our lab check out our website.

If you want to contribute to our research, check out our UVic donation page here. Just select "Krigolson Lab" in the Designation tab. We appreciate your support!