SCHUCK LAB

MAX PLANCK RESEARCH GROUP
NEUROCODE




About

Welcome to the website of the Independent Max Planck Research Group Neurocode. We are a cognitive neuroscience lab that studies how our brain allows us to learn, remember and to make good decisions. The lab is funded by the Max Planck Society and is part of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany. Below you can find more information about us and what we do.

News

May
2019
New Paper: Representational structure or task structure? Bias in neural representational similarity analysis and a Bayesian method for reducing bias by Ming Bo Cai, Nico, Jonathan W. Pillow and Yael Niv was published in PLoS Computational Biology.
May
2019
We are happy to have Ondrej Zika start as a Postdoc. Welcome (back), Ondrej!
Jan
2019
New Paper: Incidental covariation learning leading to strategy change by Robert Gaschler, Nico, Carlo Reverberi, Peter A. Frensch and Dorit Wenke was published in PLoS ONE.
Jan
2019
New Preprint: Early development of self-guided strategy improvements in children by Nico, Dorit Wenke, Destina S. Ay, Anika Löwe, Robert Gaschler and Yee Shing is up on psyArXiv.
Dec
2018
Nico is now a member of the Einstein Center for Neurosciences Berlin!
Dec
2018
New Preprint: Brain network dynamics during spontaneous strategy shifts and incremental task optimization by Michele Allegra, Shima S. Allaei, Nico, Daniele Amati, Alessandro Laio & Carlo Reverberi is up on bioRxiv!
Sept
2018
New Paper: An Integrated Model of Action Selection: Distinct Modes of Cortical Control of Striatal Decision Making by Mel Sharpe, T Stalnaker, Nico, S Killcross, G Schoenbaum and Yael Niv was published in Annual Review of Psychology!
July
2018
New book chapter: The book "Goal-Directed Decision Making: Computations and Neural Circuits" edited by Morris, Bornstein and Shenhav has been published and includes the chapter A state representation for reinforcement learning and decision-making in the orbitofrontal cortex, by Nico, Robert Wilson and Yael Niv. Download it here!
June
2018
New Preprint: Representational structure or task structure? Bias in neural representational similarity analysis and a Bayesian method for reducing bias by Ming Bo Cai, Nico, Jonathan Pillow, and Yael Niv is up on bioRxiv.
May
2018
New Preprint: Connecting conceptual and spatial search via a model of generalization by Charley Wu, Eric Schulz, Mona Garvert, Björn Meder and Nico has been accepted by Cognitive Science and is up on bioRxiv!
May
2018
New Preprint: Sequential replay of non-spatial task states in the human hippocampus by Nico and Yael Niv is up on bioRxiv.
Jan
2018
Christoph has been admitted to the Max Planck Research School LIFE. Congrats Christoph!
Dec
2017
New paper (Lennart's first): Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation over dorsolateral prefrontal cortex modulates value-based learning during sequential decision-making, by Lennart, B Eppinger, LM Bartsch, F Thurm, FM Korb and S-C Li, was accepted to NeuroImage. Download it here!
Nov
2017
Nico is now official faculty member of the Max Planck Research Schools LIFE and COMP2PSYCH!
Sep
2017
New paper: Aging and a genetic KIBRA polymorphism interactively affect feedback- and observation-based probabilistic classification learning, by Nico, J Petok, M Meeter, B-M Schjeide, J Schröder, L Bertram, M Gluck and Shu-Chen Li, was accepted to Neurobiology of Aging. Download it here!

Research


Interested in participating in our research? Get in touch at

!

We are continously looking for healthly particpants for studies and remunerate between 10 and 15€ per hour.

Whenever we play chess, plan a vacation, or cook a meal, we are using past experience to inform our decisions. Our research group seeks to understand how the brain can generate such flexible behavior by extracting and reusing information from memory to predict future outcomes. To do so, we conduct behavioral and neuroimaging studies and employ machine learning algorithms and computational models of reinforcement learning. Specifically, these are our key research areas:

Orbitofrontal cortex and the representation of task states

Predictions derived from reinforcement learning theory regarding prediction error and value signals have found much support in neuroscientific data. But what about the elusive state representations that are necessary for reinforcement learning algorithms? Is there a neural counterpart of these states? Our lab investigates the nature and potential neural basis of these task state representations, see for instance Schuck et al., 2016, Neuron or Schuck et al., 2017, bioRxiv.

The role of hippocampal replay in decision making

Fast sequences of neural activation patterns in the hippocampus have been linked to the 'replay' of previous spatial experiences. We investigate how such fast neural events can be detected with fMRI in humans and what their role is in decision making and creating a cognitive map of the current task, see Schuck & Niv, 2018, bioRxiv [Preprint].

How aging, genes and disease affect (spatial) memory & learning

Age and DNA have widespread effects on our brain as well as our cognitive abilities. Our lab investigates specific links between changes in neural representations associated with age and genotype, and cognitive changes. For instance, in Schuck et al., 2015, NeuroImage, we have investigated how well spatial boundaries are represented in the brain and how spatial navigation is related to this neural function. In other papers we have investigated how genetic factors and disease influence our memory, see Schuck et al., 2018, Neurobiology of Aging and Thurm et al., 2016, Neurobiology of Aging.

Influence of task irrelevant information on decision making

When we make a decision, we really should only focus on the few aspects that seem relevant. But we often fail to do that, for better or worse (getting distracted vs. thinking outside the box). Our lab therefore investigates the effects of task irrelevant information in decision making, see Schuck et al., 2015, Neuron.

Team

The Team
Sam

Samson
Chien

Postdoc


Ondrej

Ondrej
Zika

Postdoc


Lennart

Lennart
Wittkuhn

PhD Student


Christoph

Christoph
Koch

PhD Student


Nir

Nir
Moneta

Master's Student


Anika

Anika
Löwe

Master's Student


Lena Maria

Lena Maria
Krippner

Research Assistant


Verena

Verena
Sarrazin

Research Assistant


Mona

Mona
Garvert

Adjunct Researcher




this is not how Gregor looks like.

Gregor
Caregnato

Lab Manager


Eva

Eva
Wünsch

Lab Secretary


Join


General information

We are open for applications from outstanding students and interns with relevant experience in cognitive neuroscience or a related field of research.
If you are interested in joining us, send a short to Nico to inquire about available options. If you are a prospective graduate student, read the information below.

Graduate Programs

Nico is a faculty member of the International Max Planck Research Schools COMP2PSYCH and LIFE as well as a member of the Einstein Center for Neurosciences. Potential PhD students can apply to these programms to join the lab, but should reach out to the program organisers and Nico in advance.

Contact

Max Planck Research Group NeuroCode
c/o Nicolas Schuck
Max Planck Institute for Human Development
Lentzeallee 94
D-14195 Berlin, Germany
Visit our MPIB website


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