Colloquium with Dr. Mimi Liljeholm

Thursday March 21, 2024
12:30 PM - 2:00 PM



Dr.Mimi Liljeholm, Associate Professor of Cognitive Sciences at University of California, Irvine


The Role of Agency in Motivation & Representation


The utility of a given sensory experience, like interacting with a particular friend or tasting a particular food, fluctuates continuously according to homeostatic and hedonic principles.  Consequently, to maximize reward, an agent must be able to flexibly escape or attain sensory outcomes by switching between actions, as preferences change.  In this talk, I will present behavioral, neural, and (pre)clinical evidence suggesting that instrumental divergence – the degree to which available options differ in terms of their sensory outcome distributions – plays a critical role in reward-based human decision making.  Implications for the deployment of executive and representational resources, and for a dopaminergic involvement in agency coding, will be discussed.


Dr. Liljeholm is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies of Cognitive Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. Her research interests include reinforcement learning, structure learning, decision-making, inductive reasoning, social transmission, and addiction. She is the principal investigator of the Learning and Decision Neuroscience Lab.

Annually the Department of Psychology hosts a Colloquia Series throughout the academic year. This exciting program brings us together outside of the classroom to have conversations with the speakers we’ve invited to our campus to share their ideas. You’ll have the chance to hear from international speakers on a wide range of provocative topics.