I am interested in mechanisms of behavior, especially the roles of amygdala and hypothalamus in modulating functions of cortical and striatal systems, and the use of computational approaches to understanding functional brain connectivity. My empirical research used a variety of behavioral and neurobiological techniques to study associative learning in rodents. As a result of associative learning, environmental cues acquire the ability not only to elicit particular goal-directed responses, but also to evoke sensorily-rich representations of their associates, alter the allocation of attention in the control of current action and subsequent learning, and endow previously neutral events with motivational significance. My research examined commonality in the processing of real events and their associatively-activated representations, the role of confirmations and violations of learned expectancies in attention, and mechanisms by which cues related to the presentation and removal of food acquire the ability to override normal satiety systems and control binge eating in the absence of energetic needs for consumption.
I currently teach Animal Cognition (200.386; Spring), Human Origins (290.101; Spring), and Senior Seminar in Behavioral Biology (290.490; Fall and Spring) on a regular basis. I also teach Animal Behavior (200.208) and Introductory Psychology (200.101) more sporadically, sponsor independent study in psychology, and participate in a variety of graduate courses and seminars.
I have over 200 peer-reviewed publications. Here are ten selected citations:
Holland, P.C., & Schiffino, F.L. (2016). Mini-Review: Prediction errors, attention and associative learning. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 131, 207-215.
Asem, J.S.A., & Holland, P.C. (2015). Dorsolateral striatum implicated in the acquisition, but not expression, of immediate response learning in rodent submerged T-maze. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 123, 205-216.
Esber, G.R., Torres-Tristani, K., & Holland, P.C. (2015). Amygdalo-striatal interaction in the enhancement of stimulus salience in associative learning. Behavioral Neuroscience, 129, 87-95.
Schiffino, F.L., Zhou, V., & Holland, P.C. (2014). Posterior parietal cortex is critical for the encoding, consolidation, and retrieval of a memory that guides attention for learning. European Journal of Neuroscience, 39, 640-649.
Wheeler, D.S., Wan, S., Miller, A., Angeli, N., Adileh, B., Hu, W., & Holland, P.C. (2014). Role of lateral hypothalamus in two aspects of attention in associative learning. European Journal of Neuroscience, 40, 2359-2377.
Holland, P. C. (2014). Stimuli associated with the cancellation of food and its cues enhance eating but display negative incentive value. Learning & Behavior, 42, 365-382.
Holland, P.C., Asem, J.S.A., Galvin, C.P., Hepps Keeny, C., Hsu, M., Miller, A., & Zhou, V. (2014). Blocking in autoshaped lever-pressing with rats. Learning & Behavior, 42, 1-21.
Esber, G.R., Roesch, M.R., Bali, S., Trageser, J., Bissonette, G.B., Puche. A.C., Holland, P.C., & Schoenbaum, G. (2012). Attention-related Pearce-Kaye-Hall signals in basolateral amygdala require the midbrain dopaminergic system. Biological Psychiatry, 72, 1012-1019.
Purgert, R.J., Wheeler, D.S., McDannald, M.A., & Holland, P.C. (2012). Role of amygdala central nucleus in aversive learning produced by shock or by unexpected omission of food. Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 2461-2472.
Jhou, T.C., Fields, H.L., Baxter, M.G., Saper, C.B., & Holland, P.C. (2009). The rostromedial tegmental nucleus (RMTg), a GABAergic afferent to midbrain dopamine neurons, selectively encodes aversive stimuli and inhibits motor responses. Neuron, 61, 788-800.