All posts filed under “news

Sir Henry Dale Fellowship awarded

It is my great pleasure to announce that I was awarded a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship from Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society to establish my own group at the Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research, and the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging. There will be opportunities for working with me – so please get in touch if you are interested in doing a PhD or PostDoc in decision neuroscience and computational psychiatry.

New PhD position – Join!

Interested in a PhD in Computational Psychiatry?
Then apply to our PhD program until 26 August 2018 to pursue a PhD with me.
Please feel free to contact me in advance and discuss potential projects. The lab will mainly be looking at Developmental Computational Psychiatry and/or OCD, but is relatively open to exciting novel ideas.

You can find all the details on the page ‘Join the Lab‘.

Jacobs Research Fellowship

I am very happy that I received a Research Fellowship from the Jacobs Foundation.
This Fellowship will allow me to investigate the mechanisms underlying curiosity during development. I will also become part of a great network of scientists that are interested in development during childhood and adolescence.
If you want to know more about the project and the network, please have a look here: https://jacobsfoundation.org/en/activity/jacobs-foundation-research-fellows/

Join the Lab!

Interested in a PhD in Computational Psychiatry?
Then apply to our PhD program until 11 Feburary 2018 to pursue a PhD with me.
Please feel free to contact me in advance and discuss potential projects.

You can find all the details on the page ‘Join the Lab‘.
Looking forward to hearing from you!

Information Gathering across a compulsivity spectrum

We just published a new paper in Translational Psychiatry, where we investigate information gathering behaviour across a compulsivity spectrum. Crucially, we recruited subjects with high or low obsessive-compulsive symptoms, but which were matched for other psychiatric dimensions, such as depressive symptoms. We found that these subjects differed in the extent that they gathered information before making a decision. We thus expend our previous findings in which we show a similar difference in juvenile OCD patients. Our findings thus speak for an increased information gathering being a marker for a compulsive dimensions, which exceeds a mere clinical distinction.

further reading:

Hauser TU, Moutoussis M, Iannaccone R, Brem S, Walitza S, Drechsler R*, Dayan P* & Dolan RJ* (2017). Increased decision thresholds enhance information gathering performance in juvenile obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). PLoS Comput Biol 13(4): e1005440.

Hauser TU, Moutoussis M, NSPN Consortium, Dayan P* & Dolan RJ* (2017). Increased decision thresholds trigger extended information gathering across the compulsivity spectrum. Nat Translat Psychiatry 7(12):1296

Do a PhD with us in Computational Psychiatry

We have a few positions open for a PhD at the Max Planck UCL Centre.
If you are interested in pursuing a PhD in Computational Psychiatry and have a strong background in computational modelling and/or cognitive neuroscience and psychiatry, then please apply for these great positions.
The PhD is fully funded, provides access to cutting edge neuroimaging, a fun and clever group, and great supervision (including myself).
Details can be found here: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/BGL952/four-year-phd-in-computational-psychiatry-at-university-college-london

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 go and visit https://bornascientist.wordpress.com/.
Part of the website also portrays scientists interviewing them why they do science. Here are my answers to these questions: https://bornascientist.wordpress.com/2017/10/24/decision-making-and-solving-the-unknown/

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 worthy for the prize, which I am very humbled by. I would like to thank all the people that were involved in the award and the ceremony – I greatly enjoyed it.


P.S. Yes, I look terrible on the picture…

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 brain regions.

Hauser TU, Eldar E & Dolan RJ (2017). Separate mesocortical and mesolimbic pathways encode effort and reward learning signals. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. pdf

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 that propranolol specifically enhances metacognition, but not perceptual decision making performance. A dopamine blockade (using amisulpride) did not affect either process.

Our paper also received some media coverage: The New Scientist just published a nice article about the study. Please note that the title of the article is misleading and was not approved by us. This study investigates the effect of drugs on metacognition and has nothing to do with OCD or OCD treatment.

Hauser TU*, Allen M*, Purg N, Moutoussis M, Rees G & Dolan R (2017). Noradrenaline blockade specifically enhances metacognitive performance. eLife 6: e24901