Lakatos Lab

The Dynamical Cognitive Neuroscience Lab focuses on analyzing and modulating the dynamics of rhythmic neuronal activity in the brain. Utilizing advanced signal processing of single neuron and neuronal ensemble activity on multiple spatial scales, coupled with attentional manipulations, intracranial and transcranial electrical stimulation, and pharmacological manipulations, investigators aim to understand the mechanisms that give rise to distinct neuronal activation patterns. These patterns appear to reflect the brain’s “software” running on the anatomical “hardware” that the brain uses to perform its complex dynamic computations that ultimately guide behavior.


Rather than focusing on stimulus-response relationships in different, presumably stable attentional states, the lab’s main focus is on characterizing and understanding the mechanisms and functions of variability in neuronal dynamics during resting state and in different behavioral paradigms. For example, instead of characterizing a relationship between a certain auditory stimulus and the average response it evokes in the brain, our investigators are interested in why the same sound can evoke a large response sometimes and no response at other times. Similarly, we can perceive the same sounds as part of different patterns, and this perception can switch based on the brain’s bias.

Our research is specifically aimed at understanding:

Which flexible mechanisms enable our brain to analyze auditory scenes;
What mechanistic functions do the strikingly different neuronal activity patterns of the same neuronal populations subserve;
How is rhythmic neuronal activity utilized by the brain to simultaneously enhance, parse, transform, and transmit relevant information;
The specific role the thalamus plays in perceptual-cognitive operations.

Determining how the brain seamlessly performs these operations will allow for a mechanistic understanding of oscillatory dynamics in the brain, and ultimately decipher the brain’s code.

Current Investigations

Unraveling the bottom-up and top-down thalamocortical mechanisms that modulate (reset) neuronal oscillations in order to align them to the timing of relevant external or internal events. This is carried out using concurrent thalamus-cortex electrophysiological recordings/electrical microsimulation and transient pharmacological silencing.
Probing the role of neuronal oscillations in auditory object segregation and integration.
Development of a model for the oscillatory deficits that characterize schizophrenia and the development of ideal neuromodulation strategies to rectify impaired oscillatory dynamics.
Investigation of the long timescale dynamics of attention and the neuronal dynamics underlying attentional lapses.
Functional identification of thalamic information transmitting (core) vs. modulatory (matrix) neurons.