Research in the Niv lab focuses on the neural and computational processes underlying reinforcement learning and decision-making. We study the ongoing day-to-day processes by which we learn from trial and error, without explicit instructions, to predict future events and to act upon the environment so as to maximize reward and minimize punishment. In particular, we are interested in how attention and memory processes interact with reinforcement learning to create representations that allows us to learn to solve new tasks so efficiently. [read more]


August 2022: Sev Harootonian will give a talk at CCN 2022, titled "The best advice you can give"! Sev will also present his work as a poster, and additionally received a travel grant for this conference. Congratulations Sev! We are excited to see you share this interesting work.

August 2022: We are excited to welcome Nastasia Klevak to the lab as the lab manager!

July 2022:  Congratulations to lab alum Isla Weber for the acceptance of her paper stemming from her Junior independent work in the lab! Not many undergrads publish their independent work -- this is a testament to incredible amount of work and dedication that Isla poured into this project.

July 2022: We will be at CPC++ 2022! Dan Mirea will be giving a data blitz talk titled "Individual differences in latent-cause inference map onto transdiagnostic dimensions of mental health". Jamie Chiu will present a poster titled "How does mood influence computations of cost and reward in effort-based decision making?" And our awesome undergrads Ines Aitsahalia and Sofiya Yusina will also be presenting posters! Ines will present on "Latent-cause inference under varying beliefs about randomness captures individual differences in fear extinction" while Sofiya Yusina will present on "Latent-cause inference: a new way to look at schizophrenia-spectrum disorders".

June 2022: We look forward to RLDM 2022, and are excited for our lab members who will be sharing their work! Rachel Bedder will be running a workshop on Repetitive Negative Thinking and Simulation in Natural and Artificial Cognition with Peter Hitchcock and Paul Sharp. Call for Abstracts for short talks for this workshop is open until Wednesday 3rd May! In addition, Sashank Pisupati will present on “Why do some beliefs and action policies resist updating?” Dan Mirea will present on “Quantifying the latent-cause inference process and its relationship with mental health” and Gili Karni will present on “A Rational Information Gathering Account of Infant Exploratory Behavior”. Congratulations everyone!

May 2022: Congratulations to our graduating seniors: Ines Aitsahalia, Maddie Hare, Helen Wang, Nora Wolf, and Sofiya Yusina! Thank you for all your amazing work and contributions to the lab's research. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

April 2022: We are excited to welcome Nadav Amir to the lab as a postdoc!

April 2022: Congratulations to Sev, Branson and Ines for their NSF Graduate Research Fellowship offers! You all have done amazing works and we can’t wait to see the exciting research you will do on this fellowship!

April 2022: We are going to SOBP in New Orleans! Oded Bein and Dan Mirea will be presenting, and we look forward to much stimulating discussion.

April 2022: Oded Bein will be presenting his work at the Priors, evidence, and memory: Dynamics of predictive processing (POEM) workshop in Germany!

April 2022: Congratulations to Angela Langdon as she is starting to her new lab at NIMH! So glad you are staying local for a bit more… we will sorely miss you around Princeton but are so excited for you! All the best and don’t forget to come visit us when you have the chance!

Mar 2022: We continue the long-time tradition of NivLab people (or alums) running the COSYNE undergraduate travel grant award mentoring program. Thank you to Sashank Pisupati for being the person on the groundrunning the program this year (together with Angela Langdon in spirit)

Mar 2022: Woohoo! Jaime Chiu and Branson Byers both accepted our offers and will be commencing their graduate studies at Princeton Psychology in the fall!

Mar 2022: Angela Langdon is back after maternity leave with her twins! Congratulations Angela and we are excited to have you back!

Mar 2022: We had a blast taking Liz Neeley’s 10-week scientific writing practicum with the Pena lab. Check out Liz’s website here!

Jan 2022: Welcome to Yongjing Ren who is joining the lab as a research assistant!

Dec 2021: Congratulations to Dr. Mingyu Song for successfully defending her thesis, completing her PhD, and starting her work at Facebook!

Oct 2021: Congratulations to the NivLab and especially Isabel Berwian for being awarded a Leap Wellcome grant to study precision psychiatry for treatment selection in anhedonic depression!

Aug 2021: Welcome to Gal Shoval who will be spending his two year sabbatical in Niv Lab!

July 2021: Welcome also to Jamie Chiu who is joining the lab as a research assistant! We are excited to have you here!

July 2021: We are excited to welcome Rachel Bedder to the lab as a postdoc. Welcome, Rachel!!

June 2021: We wish farewell & best of luck to Gina Choe, who is heading off to Georgetown University to start an MD/PhD. Yay!

June 2021: Congratulations to Angela Radulescu (who graduated from the lab a year ago) for getting an Assistant Professor position at Mt Sinai’s brand new Center for Computational Psychiatry! Woohoo!

May 2021: Congratulations to Bob Wilson, one of the first postdocs in the lab, who just got tenure at University of Arizona! Good job!

Apr 2021: Congratulations to Sam Gershman, first PhD student in the NivLab, back in 2008(!), for getting tenure at Harvard! Go Sam!

Mar 2021: Congratulations to Dan, Gili and Gina for doing so well on the PhD-interview circuit! Not that we are surprised, but always nice to see others recognize your awesomeness as well!

Feb 2021: Congratulations to Kelsey McDonald, former undergrad in the lab, on defending her thesis at Duke Institute for Cognitive Science. So proud of you! Check out Kelsey's amazing work here, and here is a great starting point.

Jan 2021: Congratulations to Eran Eldar and Valkyrie Felso on their paper “A pupillary index of susceptibility to decision biases”, now published in Nature Human Behavior! Our first attempt at a registered report, this was quite a learning experience, not to mention a tour de force of running scores of subjects with eye tracking (thanks, Val!). And we may be breaking our own records of older work being published after many years – this project was one of Eran’s graduate work projects!