We study the neurobehavioral processes that allow us to learn about and interact with our environment in the pursuit of goals. Our research seeks to identify and characterize the neural pathways and specific neurochemical signals that mediate these complex functions. We are interested in how these processes contribute to normal behavior in healthy individuals, and how they go awry to produce pathological behaviors like compulsive eating and drug seeking. We use an integrative experimental approach, combining well controlled behavioral assays — to assess what animals learn and why they choose some actions over others — with systems neuroscience techniques — to monitor and disrupt the putative neural underpinnings of these psychological phenomena.