Andrew Papale

Ph.D. 2015


Thesis Title:

Hippocampal Representations on the Spatial Delay Discounting Task

Undergraduate Institution and Major/Degree:

Juniata College, B.S., Physics, 2004

Major Advisor(s):

A. David Redish, PhD

Research Description:

I study the choice behavior of rats while they make simple decisions to obtain food rewards. The choices made involve evaluation of a trade-off between amount of food and the time spent waiting before it is available. I have found that rats consistently choose to wait for a preferred time period, and its duration depends on the amount of food available. Before making decision that cause a change in the waiting period, rats frequently pause and reorient from one food option to the other.

Previous studies in the lab suggest that a neural search mechanism occurs when rats pause and reorient before making a choice. To investigate this mechanism, I am recording from the hippocampus, a brain structure known to be involved in spatial navigation and memories of event sequences. We think that a hippocampal search process may involve generation of place-related sequences projecting from the current position of the rat to positions of potential reward locations. This information could, presumably, assist in evaluation of the choices that are currently available. We hypothesize search is necessary for choice of a delayed food option compared to an immediately available alternative. In general, neural search may be involved in evaluation of decisions having long-term impact.

Lab Rotations:

  • Matthew Chafee
  • Theoden Netoff
  • A. David Redish

Courses Taken Beyond the Core Courses:

  • NSC 5202 Theoretical Neuroscience
  • PHSL 5201 Computational Neuroscience
  • PSY 5012  Learning/Cognition in Animals

Committee Members:

  • Mathew Chafee (chair)
  • James Ashe
  • Angus MacDonald III
  • A. David Redish

Conferences Attended and Presentations:

  • Society for Neuroscience - 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012
  • University of Minnesota Design of Medical Devices conference - Spring 2012

Selected Publications and Presentations:


  • Schmidt B, Papale A, Redish AD, Markus EJ. Conflict between place and response navigation strategies: effects on vicarious trial and error (VTE) behaviors. Learn Mem. 2013 Feb 15;20(3):130-8.
  • A.E. Papale, J. J. Stott, N. J. Powell, P. S. Regier, A. D. Redish (2012) “Interactions between Deliberation and Delay-Discounting in Rats” Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience 12(3):513-526.
  • A. E. Papale, R. Mork, C. Boldt, J. C. Jackson, J. E. Ferguson, A. D. Redish (2012) “Wireless Galvanic transmission through neural tissue via modulation of a carrier signal by a passive probe” Journal of Medical Devices.

Professional Memberships:

  • Society for Neuroscience

Home Town:

  • State College and Shaler, PA
Andrew Papale