One of the long term goals of Solway’s research program is to develop a formal understanding of worry, a behavior which is ubiquitous and familiar to most people, but which can also become pervasive and seemingly hard to control. The latter impairing form is a central feature of generalized anxiety disorder. Clinical description suggests that worry involves a preoccupation with potential sources of threat, and planning aimed at avoiding or minimizing threat in the future. To develop a formal model of this behavior, a better understanding of goal-directed control and planning is required. Solway will describe two basic research projects on goal-directed control, one which asks about the temporal dynamics of multi-step deliberation, and another which focuses on the arbitration between goal-directed and habitual control, in particular asking in the population as a whole whether individuals that are more sensitive to loss are more reliant on the more computationally demanding, but reliable, goal-directed decision system. Solway will end with some hypotheses based on the models described regarding information processing in worriers.
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