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 to algorithmic and implementation 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 Z├╝rich, working at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Interview on bornascientist

A friend of mine, Nora Raschle, recently launched an excellent website that provides lots of materials and facts around the brain and science in general. I have to say this is a brilliant resource, especially for children that want to learn about the brain. Please… Read more

Kramer-Pollnow-Award 2017

I am happy to announce that I received this year’s Kramer-Pollnow Award together with Anna Eichler. The Kramer-Pollnow Award is a German award primarily for work on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The committee thought that my previous work on ADHD (esp my paper at TiNS) was… Read more

On effort and reward learning

We have recently published a new paper in PNAS, which investigates how the brains learns about different choice-relevant features, such as effort and reward. We found that learning about both, effort and reward arises from the dopamine-rich midbrain and propagates to different cortical and striatal… Read more

Noradrenaline blockade boosts metacognition

In a recent study published in eLife, we show that metacognition (the ability to consciously judge one’s performance) can be enhanced using a drug called propranolol. Propranolol blocks beta-adrenoceptors and thus impairs the effect of noradrenaline. Using a double-blind, placebo controlled drug study, we show… Read more

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