Mr James Nicholas Peak
Postdoctoral Fellow

Mr James Nicholas Peak

Science
School of Psychology

I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Decision Neuroscience Laboratory at UNSW investigating the neural bases of goal-directed action. When referring to actions as goal-directed, we are specifying actions that are voluntary, flexible actions for the purpose of attaining specific goals, and these actions are critical to adaptive behaviour. There is considerable evidence to suggest that the learning and performance of goal-directed actions is dependent on activity within neural circuitry involving the basal ganglia, which are a group of subcortical interconnected nuclei in the brain. One of these nuclei, the dorsomedial striatum, is required for both the learning and performance of goal-directed actions and we have suggested that it may play a critical role in translating learning signals into action performance. My research combines neuronal tract tracing and neural manipulations in rodents learning and performing goal-directed actions in an effort to understand the relative contributions of specific basal ganglia circuits in these behavioural processes.

Publications

  • Journal articles | 2021
    Balleine BW; Peak J; Matamales M; Bertran-Gonzalez J; Hart G, 2021, 'The dorsomedial striatum: an optimal cellular environment for encoding and updating goal-directed learning', Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, vol. 41, pp. 38 - 44, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cobeha.2021.03.004
    Journal articles | 2020
    Peak J; Chieng B; Hart G; Balleine BW, 2020, 'Striatal direct and indirect pathway neurons differentially control the encoding and updating of goal-directed learning', eLife, vol. 9, pp. 1 - 28, http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.58544
    Journal articles | 2019
    Peak J; Hart G; Balleine BW, 2019, 'From learning to action: the integration of dorsal striatal input and output pathways in instrumental conditioning', European Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 49, pp. 658 - 671, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejn.13964
    Journal articles |
    Peak J; Chieng B; Hart G; Balleine BW, 'Striatal direct and indirect pathway neurons differentially control the encoding and updating of goal-directed learning', , http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.18.955385
  • Preprints |
    Peak J; Chieng B; Hart G; Balleine B, Striatal Direct and Indirect Pathway Neurons Differentially Control the Encoding and Updating of Goal-Directed Learning, http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3565044

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