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]


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! 


Dec 2020: We are so excited to have Oded Bein join the lab as a postdoc!


Oct 2020: We are excited to welcome Gili Karni as a research assistant in the lab!


September 2020: Special congratulations to Stephanie Chan and Nina Lopatina for submitting (and posting on bioRxiv) one of our oldest projects — the m&ms task that Nina, our first lab manager, started way back in 2009. It has gone through many iterations and versions, and Stephanie masterfully brought it to a finish even though she left the lab years ago! We are excited to have these findings out in the world. 


August 2020: We bid sad but also excited farewell to Angela Radulescu, Nina Rouhani, Yeon Soon Shin and Dan Bennett. Sad because the lab will not be the same without you all, and excited because we can’t wait to see what you will do next, and we are looking forward to staying in touch. Good luck with your next steps!!

August 2020: Congratulations to Yeon Soon Shin and Sam Zorowitz on your (respective) weddings! We wish you fulfilling and supportive relationships that continue to bring out the best in you!

August 2020: Congratulations to Dr. Shin on successfully defending her thesis! Woohoo!

August 2020: Congratulations to Nicole for her primer in Current Biology!

June 2020: We gladly welcome Isabel Berwian to the NivLab!

May 2020: Congratulations to Drs. Radulescu and Rouhani on successfully defending their theses! Woohoo!

May 2020: Congratulations to Mingyu Song on her paper getting an oral presentation at CogSci!

May 2020: Congratulations to Angela Langdon on her paper in Trends in Cognitive Sciences!

April 2020: We gladly welcome Gina Choe, Dan-Mircea Mirea and Sev Harootonian to the NivLab!

March 2020: Congratulations to Nina on her paper Reward prediction errors create event boundaries in memory being accepted to Cognition!

March 2020: Congratulations to Yeon Soon for being accepted to Molly Crocket's lab at Yale for her postdoctoral fellowship!

March 2020:  Congratulations to Nina for being accepted to Ralph Adolphs's Emotion and Social Cognition lab at Caltech for her postdoctoral fellowship!

March 2020: Congratulations to Angela Radulescu for being awarded an NYU Center for Data Science Moore-Sloan Faculty Fellowship!

January 2020: Congratulations to Sarah DuBrow (former postdoc, now faculty at U Oregon) on winning a prestigious Sloan Fellowship! Woohoo!