Dr. Adam Krawitz

Teaching Classes I Teach (More or Less) Regularly

Undergraduate

PSYC 251 Intro to Mind and Brain

Gateway course for the Mind and Brain Stream. How does the mind arise from the physical brain?

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PSYC 351A Cognitive Psychology

What cognitive processes are there, and how do they function?

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PSYC 351C Cognitive Neuroscience

How do we study the neural basis of cognition?

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PSYC 317 Sensation and Perception

How do we construct our perception of the physical world?

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PSYC 451C Topics in Advanced Cognitive Neuroscience: Decision Making

What are the mental and neural foundations of decision making?

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Graduate

PSYC 574B Cognitive Methods: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

What is fMRI, and how do we use it to study the mind and brain?

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PSYC 574C Cognitive Methods: Computational Modelling

How can we use formal models to understand the relationship between cognition and behavior?

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PSYC 576D Cognitive Processes: Cognitive Control

What is the “operating system” of the mind/brain?

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Independent Studies

If you are interested in an independent study (PSYC 390/490/504/604) on a topic related to my teaching or research interests, contact me to discuss the possibilities.

Research Computational Cognitive Neuroscience of
Working Memory, Executive Control, and Decision Making

Topics

Working Memory
At the shortest timescales, we rely on stimuli in our environment to support action. At long timescales, we develop routines, skills and explicit memories stored in persistent neural changes. Working memory lies in the crucial intermediate timescale where the maintenance and manipulation of online information is used to guide flexible and dynamic action.
Executive Control
Much of the brain is dedicated to the stimulus-response arc — perception of stimuli, response selection, and action generation. But a critical component of the human information processing system, executive control, is the modulation of these pathways based on changing goals and context.
Decision Making
Our environment provides input which is often understood as novel combinations of previously learned concepts. We store this recent information in working memory and through executive control processes use it to modulate ongoing behavior and generate novel sequences of skilled actions. Decision making is the selection of responses based on current goals, past experience, and expectations about future outcomes.
Example
Consider a basketball player in a game. She has a repertoire of skills at her disposal — passing, dribbling, shooting — built up through dedicated practice. This depends on long-term memory. And she reacts instantaneously to her immediate surroundings — catching the ball when she sees it flying towards her, and dodging a screen when she hears her teammate's warning. This depends on rapid perception and action. But in addition, she runs a particular play her coach recently called during a timeout, she employs a different strategy near the end of the game than she used just minutes earlier, and she improvises when she recognises the defense has switched from man to zone defense. All of this depends on maintaining and updating recently acquired information in working memory, using executive control processes to maintain focus on the task at hand, and selecting and performing novel combinations of skills.

Methods

Computational Modeling
Building symbolic, neural network, and Bayesian models of mental and neural processes.
+ Cognitive Psychology
Developing behavioral experiments to decompose mental processes into their constituent parts.
+ Cognitive Neuroscience
Applying functional brain imaging to analyze neural processes during task performance.
= Computational Cognitive Neuroscience
A synergistic combination of methods used to build computational theories explaining mental and neural processes, the goal of which is to explain how “the mind is what the brain does”.

Publications

  • Baker, T. E., Umemoto, A., Krawitz, A., & Holroyd, C. B. (2015). Rightward-biased hemodynamic response of the parahippocampal system during virtual navigation. Scientific Reports, 5, 9063. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep09063
  • Smart, C. M., & Krawitz, A. (2015). The impact of subjective cognitive decline on Iowa Gambling Task performance. Neuropsychology, 29(6), 971–987. https://doi.org/10.1037/neu0000204
  • Nee, D. E., Brown, J. W., Askren, M. K., Berman, M. G., Demiralp, E., Krawitz, A., & Jonides, J. (2013). A meta-analysis of executive components of working memory. Cerebral Cortex, 23(2), 264–282. https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhs007
  • Ahn, W.-Y., Krawitz, A., Kim, W., Busemeyer, J. R., & Brown, J. W. (2011). A model-based fMRI analysis with hierarchical Bayesian parameter estimation. Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, 4(2), 95–110. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0020684
  • Krawitz, A., Braver, T. S., Barch, D. M., Brown, J. W. (2011). Impaired error-likelihood prediction in medial prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia. NeuroImage, 54(2), 1506–1517. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.09.027
  • Krawitz, A., Fukunaga, R., Brown, J. W. (2010). Anterior insula activity predicts the influence of positively framed messages on decision making. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 10(3), 392–405. https://doi.org/10.3758/CABN.10.3.392
  • Mueller, S. T., Krawitz, A. (2009). Reconsidering the two-second decay hypothesis in verbal working memory. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 53, 14–25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmp.2008.11.001
  • Krawitz, A. (2007). Computational modeling of updating operations in the performance of basic verbal working-memory tasks (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database (UMI No. 3253318) and Deep Blue.

Supervising

Combined Major in Psychology and Computer Science
I'm excited to supervise students for their CSC 497 Interdisciplinary Project!
Undergraduate Honours
I'm open to supervising Honours students, particularly if you are interested in a project with a computational modeling component.
Graduate
As I am now primarily focused on teaching, I am not available as a primary supervisor for graduate students. However, I am still open to co-supervision or participating on supervisory committees.

Web Adventures in Good Webbing

Distribution Dandle

One-page web app to visually explore probability distributions.

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Tide Search (coming soon)

One-page web app to visually search tides by height and date.

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Other

Ultimate “When a ball dreams, it dreams it's a disc.”

Learn more about the best sport on earth:  USA  Canada

Leagues
I currently live in Victoria, BC, home to VUPS. Leagues in my past homes include: BCUD in Bloomington, IN; AAUL in Ann Arbor, MI; and CoMo Ultimate in Columbia, MO.
Teams
I've played with many over the years, including Real Huck, Skeetpocalypse, Big Ass Truck, Viscous Coupling, Nemo, Fliegenplatte, MUtants, and my alma mater Brownian Motion.
Tournaments
Not-to-be-missed summertime tournaments include Poultry Days (the best of all), Potlatch, Mars, Sandblast, and Gender Blender.

Biography

Graduate Certificate
Cognitive Science and Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2007
M.S.
Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2002
B.S.
Computer Science, Brown University, Providence, RI, 1997

Contact

Office
Cornett A251
Email
akrawitz (at) uvic (dot) ca
Phone
250.721.7551
Fax
250.721.8929
Mail
Department of Psychology
P.O. Box 1700 STN CSC
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC  V8W 2Y2
Courier
Department of Psychology
Cornett Building A236
3800 Finnerty Road (Ring Rd)
Victoria, BC  V8P 5C2