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Department of Psychology

Faculty and Staff Directory

Peter Vento

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Psychology
College of Arts and Sciences
Email: pvento@mailbox.sc.edu
Office: Barnwell College, Rm 553
Resources: Vento Lab on Aversive Learning
Peter Vento

*** Dr. Vento is accepting students for Fall 2022 ***

Research

Research in the Vento Lab focuses on brain pathways mediating aversive learning and cost-benefit decision-making. How do we learn from negative experiences in day-to-day life, and how do we come to avoid suboptimal outcomes in the future? What are the neural circuits that control these processes and how are they perturbed in individuals battling substance abuse, depression, or anxiety disorders? To address these questions, we deploy a wide range of behavioral, neuroanatomical, and neurophysiological techniques in rodents to visualize and manipulate distributed neural circuits underlying learning and motivated behaviors. Much of this work incorporates optogenetic, chemogenetic, and optical imaging tools in combination with a variety of rodent behavioral paradigms. The overarching goal of these studies is to better understand how the brain encodes negative experiences and how these processes might be targeted to combat the often-devastating consequences of addiction and other motivational disorders.

Representative Publications

Vento, P.J., Burnham, N.W., Rowley, C.S., and Jhou, T.C. Learning from one’s mistakes: A dual role for the rostromedial tegmental nucleus in the encoding and expression of punished reward seeking. Biological Psychiatry 81(12): 1041-1049, 2017

Li, H.*, Vento, P.J.*, Pullmann, D., Eid, M., Chao, Y.S., Jhou, T.C. Aversive prediction, outcome, and prediction error signals converge in midbrain to drive punishment learning and aversive valence encoding. Neuron 104(5): 987-999, 2019    

                                                 (*co-first author)


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