Niv Lab

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]

Lab News

May 2023: Rachel Bedder's conference paper "Modelling Rumination as a State-Inference Process" will be presented as a talk at CogSci 2023 in Sydney in July! Congratulations Rachel, we're excited to see you share your work!

April 2023: Congratulations to Oded Bein, who presented a poster at LEARNMEM 2023, titled “Altered event segmentation in anxiety and schizotypy"!

March 2023: Rachel Bedder and Dan Mirea both presented at the Society for Affective Science conference! Rachel was part of the Reinforcement Learning as an Approach to Understanding Basic Affective Processes symposium, and presented a talk titled, "Modelling Rumination as a State Inference Process." Dan presented a flash talk, titled "Computational psychiatry in the wild: how depression affects reinforcement learning on social media." Congratulations to both!

December 2022: Congratulations to Sashank Pisupati at his new job at Limbic! We will miss you, and please come visit!

November 2022: Jamie Chiu has a poster at SfN Neuroscience 2022, titled "How does sadness influence effort-based decision making?"!

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!

For news older than 2022, see the lab news archive.

Recent Publications