Tobias U. Hauser

I want to understand the neural mechanisms that give rise to human behaviour. I believe that only through an understanding of the underlying neural computations, we will be able to explain why and how humans differ in their decision making and learning, for example during development or in psychiatric disorders.

I use a variety of neuroscientific techniques (fMRI, EEG, MEG, tDCS, pupillometry) and computational modelling to link overt behaviour (e.g. more stochastic decision making) to algorithmic (e.g., altered exploration parameters) and implementation (e.g., prediction error impairments in mPFC) levels. Only by bridging these levels of analysis, we can understand how the brain can go awry and give rise to psychiatric disorders, such as ADHD or OCD.

I am currently working at the Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London. I obtained my PhD at University of Zürich, working at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Information gathering in OCD

Can features of a psychiatric disorder actually have beneficial effects under certain conditions? This is the question that we asked in our new paper that just came out in PLOS Computational Biology. We were particularly interested in an indecisiveness that is often reported in patients… Read more

Metacognition in Compulsivity

I am really proud to announce that I have just preprinted my first ever paper on BioRxiv. In this paper, we investigate the link between metacognition and compulsivity. Metacognition is the ability – or insight – to monitor your performance. So if you have good… Read more

Neural effects of tDCS in arithmetic

In our most recent paper, we investigate how brain stimulation (transcranial Direct Current Stimulation, tDCS) can alter neural activity, and how this is specific to a particular arithmetic operation. We used simultaneous tDCS-fMRI to probe the brain regions that are affected by tDCS. We find… Read more

New papers in PNAS

I have been fortunate to coauthor two recent papers, both published in PNAS. In the first one (Eldar et al., 2016), we investigated how humans develop avoidance habits and how their learning strategies are related to functional activation and gray matter structure in the striatum.… Read more

Computational Psychiatry of ADHD

Our new paper in Trends in Neurosciences, we explain how computational psychiatry tries to understand the mechanisms in psychiatric disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We demonstrate how important it is to have an understanding of several levels of description (Marr’s levels of analysis),… Read more

Timing of medial prefrontal regions to reward

Our recent paper with the awesome Laurence Hunt investigates the timing of different brain responses to speciffic stimuli. Particularly, we were interested whether the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) process reward information at different times. To this end, we developed… Read more

Arithmetic learning modulated by tDCS

We and others have previously shown that one can modulate arithmetic performance using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS; cf. Hauser et al., 2013; Rütsche et al., 2015). In this study, we investigated the effect of tDCS on arithmetic learning. Arithmetic learning is characterized by the… Read more