Yael Niv

Assistant Professor
Princeton Neuroscience Institute
Psychology Department
Princeton Neuroscience Institute room 143
Princeton University
Email: yael at princeton edu

Curriculum Vitae

My Lab (here is a short article from Innovation Magazine on what we do)

Open positions in my lab: If you are interested in joining us, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions page.


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Refereed Papers
  • SJ Gershman & Y Niv (2012) - Exploring a latent cause theory of classical conditioning - Learning & Behavior 40:255-268 PDF
  • RC Wilson & Y Niv (2012) - Inferring relevance in a changing world - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 5:189 full text
  • Y Niv, J Edlund, P Dayan & JP O'Doherty (2012) - Neural prediction errors reveal a risk-sensitive reinforcement learning process in the human brain - Journal of Neuroscience 32(2):551-562. PDF
  • YK Takahashi, MR Roesch, RC Wilson, K Torenson, P O'Donnell, Y Niv* & G Schoenbaum* (2011) - Expectancy-related changes in firing of dopamine neurons depend on orbitofrontal cortex - Nature Neuroscience 14(12):1590-1597. PDF
  • E Eldar, G Morris & Y Niv (2011) - The effects of motivation on response rate: A hidden semi-Markov model analysis of behavioral dynamics - Journal of Neuroscience Methods 201:251-261. PDF
  • JJF Ribas-Fernandes, A Solway, C Diuk, JT McGuire, AG Barto, Y Niv & MM Botvinick (2011) - A neural signature of hierarchical reinforcement learning - Neuron 71:370-379. PDF
  • M McDannald, F Lucantonio, K Burke, Y Niv & G Schoenbaum (2011) - Ventral striatum and orbitofrontal cortex are both required for model-based, but not model-free, reinforcement learning - Journal of Neuroscience 31(7), 2700-2705. PDF
  • SJ Gershman, JD Cohen & Y Niv (2010) - Learning to selectively attend - Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. PDF
  • SJ Gershman & Y Niv (2010) - Learning latent structure: Carving nature at its joints - Current Opinion in Neurobiology 20(2), 251-256. PDF
  • SJ Gershman, D Blei & Y Niv (2010) - Context, learning and extinction - Psychological Review 117(1), 197-209. PDF
  • Y Niv (2009) - Reinforcement learning in the brain - The Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 53(3), 139-154. PDF
  • MM Botvnick, Y Niv & A Barto (2009) - Hierarchically organized behavior and its neural foundations: A reinforcement-learning perspective - Cognition 113, 262-280. PDF
  • MT Todd, Y Niv & JD Cohen (2008) - Learning to use working memory in partially observable environments through dopaminergic reinforcement - NIPS 2008. PDF
  • D Schiller, I Levi, Y Niv, JE LeDoux & EA Phelps (2008) - From fear to safety and back - Reversal of fear in the human brain - The Journal of Neuroscience, 28(45), 11517-11525.
  • P Dayan & Y Niv (2008) - Reinforcement learning and the brain: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 18(2), 185-196. PDF
  • Y Takahashi, G Schoenbaum & Y Niv (2008) - Silencing the critics: Understanding the effects of cocaine sensitization on dorsal and ventral striatum in the context of an Actor/Critic model - Frontiers in Neuroscience, 2, 86-99. PDF
  • Y Niv & G Schoenbaum (2008) - Dialogues on prediction errors - Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12(7), 265-272. PDF
  • Y Niv, ND Daw, D Joel & P Dayan (2007) - Tonic dopamine: Opportunity costs and the control of response vigor - Psychopharmacology, 191(3), 507-520. Abstract PDF Summary by Neuroskeptic
  • Y Niv, D Joel & P Dayan (2006) - A normative perspective on motivation - Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 10(8), 375-381. Abstract PDF
  • P Dayan, Y Niv, B Seymour & ND Daw (2006) - The misbehavior of value and the discipline of the will - Neural Networks, 19(8), 1153-1160. Abstract PDF
  • Y Niv, ND Daw & P Dayan (2005) - How fast to work: Response vigor, motivation and tonic dopamine - In: Y Weiss, B Scholkopf & J Platt, eds., Neural Information Processing Systems 18, 1019-1026, MIT Press (Outstanding Student Paper Award). Abstract PDF
  • ND Daw, Y Niv & P Dayan (2005) - Uncertainty based competition between prefrontal and dorsolateral striatal systems for behavioral control - Nature Neuroscience, 8(12), 1704-1711. Abstract PDF
  • Y Niv, MO Duff & P Dayan (2005) - Dopamine, Uncertainty and TD Learning - Behavioral and Brain Functions 1:6 (4 May 2005), doi:10.1186/1744-9081-1-6.Abstract Open Access Full text
  • Y Niv, D Joel, I Meilijson & E Ruppin (2002) - Evolution of Reinforcement Learning in Uncertain Environments: A Simple Explanation for Complex Foraging Behaviors - Adaptive Behavior 10(1), 5-24. Abstract PDF
  • D Joel, Y Niv & E Ruppin (2002) - Actor-critic models of the basal ganglia: New anatomical and computational perspectives - Neural Networks 15, 535-547. Abstract PDF
Book Chapters, Commentaries, etc.
  • Y Niv & S Chan (2011) - On the value of information and other rewards - Nature Neuroscience 14(9):1095-1097 PDF
  • JER Staddon & Y Niv (2008) - Operant conditioning. Scholarpedia, 3(9):2318.
  • Y Niv & PR Montague (2008) - Theoretical and empirical studies of learning. In: PW Glimcher et al, eds., Neuroeconomics: Decision making and the brain, Chapter 22, 329-249, Elsevier. email me for PDF
  • Y Niv & M Rivlin-Etzion (2007) - Parkinson's disease: Fighting the will? - Journal of Neuroscience 11777-11779. PDF
  • Y Niv (2007) - Cost, Benefit, Tonic Phasic: What do response rates tell us about dopamine and motivation? - Annals of the New York Academy of Science 1104, 357-376. PDF
  • P Dayan, ND Daw, & Y Niv. (in press) - Theoretical and computational neuroscience: Learning, action, inference and neuromodulation. In: L Squire et al, eds., New Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, Elsevier, Amsterdam.
  • Y Niv, ND Daw & P Dayan (2006) - Choice values - Nature Neuroscience 9(8), 987-988. PDF
  • ND Daw, Y Niv & P Dayan (2006) - Actions, Policies, Values, and the Basal Ganglia - In: Bezard, E editor, Recent Breakthroughs in Basal Ganglia Research, Nova Science Publishers Inc., New York, USA.
Technical Reports
  • Y Niv, P Dayan & D Joel (2006) - The effects of motivation on extensively trained behavior - Leibniz Technical Report, Hebrew University, 2006-6. Abstract (PDF)
  • PhD Thesis - Interdisciplinary Center for Neural Computation, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2007): The effects of motivation on habitual instrumental behavior (full thesis here)
  • MA Thesis - Psychology Department, Tel Aviv University (2001): Evolution of Reinforcement Learning in Uncertain Environments (PDF)



Miscellaneous and links

Some of my favorite hangouts in... (inspired by this page)

(old) Photo gallery (permanently under construction)

Prague 2001 Trieste 2001

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