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ActionContraThreat SIGNED

Action selection under threat: the complex control of human defense

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "ActionContraThreat" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: LONDON
postcode: WC1E 6BT
website: n.a.

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Total cost 1˙998˙750 €
 EC max contribution 1˙998˙750 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2018-COG
 Funding Scheme ERC-COG
 Starting year 2019
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2019-10-01   to  2024-09-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON UK (LONDON) coordinator 1˙998˙750.00
2    UNIVERSITAT ZURICH CH (ZURICH) participant 0.00


 Project objective

Run away, sidestep, duck-and-cover, watch: when under threat, humans immediately choreograph a large repertoire of defensive actions. Understanding action-selection under threat is important for anybody wanting to explain why anxiety disorders imply some of these behaviours in harmless situations. Current concepts of human defensive behaviour are largely derived from rodent research and focus on a small number of broad, cross-species, action tendencies. This is likely to underestimate the complexity of the underlying action-selection mechanisms. This research programme will take decisive steps to understand these psychological mechanisms and elucidate their neural implementation.

To elicit threat-related action in the laboratory, I will use virtual reality computer games with full body motion, and track actions with motion-capture technology. Based on a cognitive-computational framework, I will systematically characterise the space of actions under threat, investigate the psychological mechanisms by which actions are selected in different scenarios, and describe them with computational algorithms that allow quantitative predictions. To independently verify their neural implementation, I will use wearable magnetoencephalography (MEG) in freely moving subjects.

This proposal fills a lacuna between defence system concepts based on rodent research, emotion psychology, and clinical accounts of anxiety disorders. By combining a stringent experimental approach with the formalism of cognitive-computational psychology, it furnishes a unique opportunity to understand the mechanisms of action-selection under threat, and how these are distinct from more general-purpose action-selection systems. Beyond its immediate scope, the proposal has a potential to lead to a better understanding of anxiety disorders, and to pave the way towards improved diagnostics and therapies.

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The information about "ACTIONCONTRATHREAT" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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