- Cognitive processes
From air traffic control to large surgery teams, some of the most advanced human collaborative achievements largely rely on our ability to successfully give and follow instructions. Given the combination of novelty, speed, complexity and efficiency, significant effort has been devoted to characterize the mechanisms underlying this ability. However, how the human brain rapidly (i.e. in a matter of seconds) transforms the content of instructions into actions is still poorly understood. This project aims at providing a fundamental description of this transformation by combining recently developed behavioral paradigms and cutting edge methodological and analytical tools. This combination is expected to result in a significant step forward in the understanding of instructions following, compared to the stateofthe-art. This project is especially timely given its relevance to ongoing debates in cognitive neuroscience regarding the structure of cognitive control and working memory systems. InstrAct will also be highly relevant to other disciplines such as robotics and artificial intelligence, which could benefit from the outcomes of this project to implement humanlike, complex collaborative artificial systems, a crucial milestone in these fields. The success of this proposal relies on the combination of my expertise on multivariate analysis of neuroimaging data with the strong theoretical guidance offered by Dr. Brass’ team at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Ghent University, a critical hub for cognitive control and instructions following in particular. The expected outcome of this project will, first, enhance the role of Ghent University and Europe as a hub for excellent research on instruction following. Second, it will be a boost in crucial aspects of my career, specifically, in the acquisition of new methodological and theoretical competences, allowing me to achieve my long-term goal of becoming an independent researcher.