The Research Group Biological Psychology of Decision Making is based at the Institute of Experimental Psychology at the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf. 

Our primary research interest lies in the neural mechanisms of adaptive, goal-directed behaviour with particular focus on reward-guided learning and decision making.

We use various neuroimaging methods (fMRI, MEG, EEG) which we often combine with neurochemical approaches (drug challenges, MR spectroscopy) and computational modelling.

>> - - News from our lab - - <<

11.01.2019 DFG-funded Postdoc position (3 years) open in our lab!

We offer a three year Postdoc position in a project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

11.01.2019 ERC-funded Postdoc position (3+2 years) open in our lab!

We offer one three (+2) year Postdoc position in a project funded by the European Research Council (ERC).

23.10.2018 ERC-funded PhD student position (4 years) open in our lab!

We offer a four year PhD student position in a project funded by the European Research Council (ERC). This position has been filled!

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The Cognitive Neuroscience Lab is moving!

As of October 2018, the Lab will move to the beautiful and vibrant city of Düsseldorf, located on the shores of the Rhine river. We will be based in the Institute of Experimental Psychology at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

For an ERC-funded project, we will soon be hiring postdocs and PhD students (to be based in Düsseldorf), so if you have a strong interest in decision making and/or learning, experience with MEG or EEG and good programming and analytic skills, stay tuned for more information!

12.06.2018 new paper accepted at Neuropsychologia

Hagelweide K, Schönberger A, Kracht L, Gruendler TOJ, Fink GR, Schubotz RI (2018) Motor cognition in patients treated with subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation: Limits of compensatory overactivity in Parkinson’s disease. Neuropsychologia.

11.06.2018 new paper accepted at Clinical Neurophysiology

Schüller T, Gruendler TOJ, Huster R, Baldermann JC, Huys D, Ullsperger M, Kuhn J (2018) Altered Electrophysiological Correlates of Motor Inhibition and Performance Monitoring in Tourette’s Syndrome. Clinical Neurophysiology.

27.05.2018. Congratulations Lennart!

A study that was part of Lennart’s MSc thesis has been accepted for publication by Psychoneuroendocrinology - congratulations on your first authorship, a great success indeed! Find the study here.

10.01.2018. Heisenberg fellowship for Gerhard!

The German Research Foundation (DFG) awarded a Heisenberg fellowship to Gerhard.

28.11.2017. ERC Consolidator Grant for Gerhard!
The European Research Council (ERC) is funding Gerhard’s project „NEODYNE“. In this project, Gerhard and his team will aim to interconnect neurochemical mechanisms and network dynamics underlying human decision making. Press release (german only)

03.11.2017. PhD student position open in our lab!
We are currently seeking candidates for a PhD student position jointly supervised by PD Dr Gerhard Jocham and Dr Martin Riemer (DZNE & Faculty of Medicine). The project is on investigating common mechanisms subserving both spatial navigation and decision making..This position has been filled!

01.09.2017. Welcome Julia! Julia Rogge has joined the team. For her PhD, she will be working on multi-modal network dynamics using EEG, MEG and fMRI. Julia is part of the ABINEP Graduate School.

23.05.2017. Watch out for our new paper to appear soon in Nature Communications!
Klein, Ullsperger, Jocham (in press) Learning relative values in the striatum induces violations of normative decision making. Nature Communications

We show that humans display suboptimal choice behaviour that naturally results from a particular learning algorithm. This algorithm may be evolutionarily adaptive, but it leads to systematic choice biases when options are encountered in novel contexts. We further show that activity in the striatum displays the key properties of the update signal of such a learning algorithm.

21.04.2017. PhD student scholarship open in our lab!
We are currently seeking candidates for a PhD student position jointly supervised by Prof Dr Markus Ullsperger (Dept of Neuropsychology) and PD Dr Gerhard Jocham (Cognitive Neuroscience Lab). The position is part of the newly established International Graduate School on Analysis, Brain Imaging, and Modelling of Neuronal and Inflammatory Processes (ABINEP). This position has been filled!

01.02.2017. Welcome Daniel! Daniel Priegnitz has joined the team. For his PhD, he will be working on the interactions between attention and decision making using fMRI and eye-tracking.

01.10.2016. Welcome Lennart! Lennart Luettgau has joined the team. For his PhD, he will be working on neural mechanisms of value generalisation using the local 7T scanner and a MVPA approch.

15.09.2016. Welcome Luca! Luca F. Kaiser has joined the team. For her PhD, she will be working on value computations in sensory cortical areas recorded with MEG (within our project B16N in the SFB 779 collaborative research centre).

29.07.2016 PhD student position open in our lab!

We offer a three year PhD student position in a project funded by the German Research Foundation  (DFG). - This position has been filled!

20.04.2016 PhD student position open in our lab!

We offer a three year PhD student position in a project funded by the European Union and the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt. - This position has been filled!

08.02.2016 new paper accepted in Neuron, DOI

Jocham G, Brodersen KH, Constantinescu AO, Kahn MC, Ianni A, Walton ME, Rushworth MFS, Behrens TEJ (in press) Reward-guided learning with and without causal attribution. Neuron

A new study showing that humans deploy several learning mechanisms operating in parallel to solve the credit assignment problem. The paper shows that healthy humans use contingent learning, correctly applying knowldege about the causal structure of the task. However, they also exhibited learning via statistical approximations or on the basis of temporal proximity between action and outcome, even when this was not adaptive. These learning mechanisms were anatomically separable.

10.12.2015 Four year PhD student position (funded by DFG) open in our lab!

Be part of the great and inspiring neuroscience community in Magdeburg. This position has been filled!

18.11.2015 SFB 779 „Neurobiology of motivated behavior“ approved

including our project "Value computations in sensory cortical areas during choice: network mechanisms and neuromodulation“ approved by DFG (German Research Council)

19.09.2015 new paper accepted at Translational Psychiatry 

Kohl S, Gruendler TOJ, Huys D, Sildatke E, Dembek TA, Hellmich M, Blum M, Timmermann L4, Ahmari SE, Klosterkoetter J, Jessen F, Sturm V, Visser-Vandewalle V, Kuhn J (in press) Effects of DBS on prepulse inhibition in severe OCD. Translational Psychiatry.

10.08.2015 new paper accepted at Journal of Neuroscience 

Sevgi M, Rigoux L, Kuehn A, Mauer J, Schilbach L, Hess M, Gruendler TOJ, Ullsperger M, Stephan KE, Bruening J, Tittgemeyer M (in press) An Obesity-Predisposing Variant of the FTO Gene Regulates D2R-Dependent Reward Learning. J Neurosci.

01.07.2015 Gerhard has defended his habilitation thesis 

Gerhard has been awarded the Venia Legendi ("License to teach") for Psychology from the Faculty of Sciences, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg.

13.04.2015 new paper accepted at Current Biology

Danielmeier C, Allen EA, Jocham G, Özgür AO, Eichele T, Ullsperger M (in press) Acetylcholine mediates behavioral and neural post-error control. Current Biology.

21.02.2015 new paper accepted at Neuropsychologia

Schüller T*, Gruendler TOJ*, Jocham G, Klein TA, Timmermann L, Visser-Vandewalle V, Kuhn J, Ullsperger M (in press) Rapid feedback processing in human nucleus accumbens and motor thalamus. Neuropsychologia.

29.01.2015 new paper accepted at Nature Neuroscience

Browning M, Behrens TE, Jocham G, O'Reilly JX, Bishop SJ (in press) Anxious individuals have difficulty learning causal statistics of aversive environments. Nat Neurosci.

(See also news feature:  RBB Kulturradio, Mit Angst lernt es sich schlecht - german only)

04.11.2014 new paper accepted at TiCS

Fischer AGJocham G, Ullsperger M (2015) Dual serotonergic signals: a key to understanding paradoxical effects? Trends in Cogn Sci 19(1): 21-26

(See also news features: CELL press releaseTime Magazine, OvGU press release, Medical Daily)

19.08.2014 new paper accepted at Journal of Neuroscience

Jocham G, Klein TA, Ullsperger M (2014) Differential modulation of reinforcement learning by D2 dopamine and NMDA glutamate receptor antagonism. J Neurosci 34(39): 13151-13162

03.06.2014 new paper accepted at Neuroimage

Jocham G, Furlong PM, Kröger IL, Kahn MC, Hunt LT, Behrens TE (2014) Dissociable contributions of ventromedial prefrontal and posterior parietal cortex to value-guided choice. Neuroimage 100: 498-506.

27.05.2014 G.A. Lienert (Methods in Biopsychology) scholarship awarded to Theo

Theo will spend three months at the Wellcome Trust Center for Neuroimaging at UCL with Gareth Barnes, Laurence Hunt and Ray Dolan.

31.03.2014 new paper accepted at Molecular Psychiatry

Kuhn J, Hardenacke K, Lenartz, Gruendler TOJ, Ullsperger M, Bartsch C, Mai JK, Zilles K, Bauer A, Matusch A, Schulz R-J, Noreik M, Bührle CP, Maintz D, Woopen C, Häussermann P, Hellmich M, Klosterkötter J, Wiltfang J, Maarouf  M, Freund H-J, Sturm V (2014) Deep brain stimulation of the nucleus basalis of Meynert in Alzheimer’s dementia. Molecular Psychiatry.

18.03.2014 new paper accepted at PLoS one

Kohl S, Wolters C, Gruendler TOJ, Vogeley K, Klosterkötter J, Kuhn J (2014) Prepulse Inhibition of the Acoustic Startle Reflex in High Functioning Autism. PLoS one 9(3):e92372.