I am mainly interested in decision making, in particular on decision making in a social context. Decision making can be described as a cognitive process that results in the selection of a course of action among several alternatives. Dry as this definition may sound, it covers not only mundane situations like choosing a dessert, but also more serious ones like deciding to have another child or not.
My research focuses on simple reward based decisions and on how social information influences decision making and learning. When working on these topics, I examine decision making from a computational algorithmic and perspective. That is, I ask how decision problems should be solved, which cognitive processes describe how people make decisions, and how these processes are implemented in the brain. The idea behind this approach is that models that are constrained from insights and data from these three perspectives are more valid than theories that ignore one or more perspectives. In practice, this approach amounts to testing which simple mathematical models can simultaneously describe behavioral data and are consistent with brain data. For instance, I use fMRI to examine if then brain represents decision variables that should be represented according to sequential sampling models of decision making. Another line of research develops models describing how people learn from advice and experience and tests if advice changes how rewards are perceived.
I taught and teach courses on the following topics (bachelor, masters and graduate level):
- Introduction to Judgment and Decision Making
- Behavioral and Neurobiological Perspectives on Reinforcement learning
- Social Learning
- Introduction to fMRI Analysis
- Introduction to Matlab
Higher education and employment history
- 1999: Diploma Psychology at the Freie Universität Berlin in Germany
- 1999-2002: Consultant in Human Resource Management.
- 2003-2005: PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. At the Center for adaptive behavior and cognition I mostly worked on simple mathematical models of cooperation and social learning.
- 2006-2010: Postdoc in the group “Neuroscience for Decision making”, also at the MPI for Human Development (and for half a year at Freie Universität Berlin).
- Since June 2010 : Center for the Study of Human Cognition at the University of Oslo.
In alphabetical order:
- Nathan Berg, University of Texas
- Ido Erev, Technion (Haifa)
- Christian Fiebach, Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main
- Gerd Gigerenzer, Max Planck Institute for Human Development
- Hauke Heekeren, Freie Universität Berlin
- Richard Gonzalez, University of Michigan
- Shu-Chen Li, Max Planck Institute for Human Development
- Thorsten Pachur, University of Basel
- Marios Philiastides, Freie Universität Berlin
- Jörg Rieskamp, University of Basel