The Grissom Lab

Welcome to the NeuroGOAL Laboratory!

  • How do we learn that a particular action will cause something good to happen, while a different action has no effect?
  • How, and when, do we use feedback to alter our behavior?
  • What is the difference between those times we are able to work towards and achieve our goals from the times we end up making impulsive choices or falling back on bad habits? 

Using touchscreen behavioral testing and a suite of molecular and genetic techniques in mouse models, we work to uncover the molecular mechanisms in mesocorticolimbic regions that permit mice, and us, to learn new goal-directed behaviors, maintain motivation, and exert control over impulsive and habitual actions.

Because these abilities are often altered in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and ADHD, understanding the molecular factors regulating these abilities may reveal what makes these brains unique and identify new therapeutic avenues.

The NeuroGOAL lab is directed by Dr. Nicola Grissom and is a part of the Psychology Department at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus. 

Schematic of a test of motivation, the progressive ratio task. Animals must respond at the lit target n times to get a reinforcer - and once they do, earning the next reinforcer will require a progressively greater number of responses.