Yael Niv

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

My Lab (here is a short article from Innovation Magazine on what we do, and another from Princeton Alumni Weekly)

I am co-director of the new Rutgers-Princeton Center for Computational Neuropsychiatry (CCNP)

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

Publications (no longer updated; a more up to date list is here)

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Refereed Papers (* denotes equally contributing authors)
  1. FA Soto, SJ Gershman & Y Niv (in press) - A Rational Bayesian Model of the Effect of Stimulus Factors on Compound Generalization - Psychological Review
  2. A Solway*, C Diuk*, N Cordova, D Yee, AG Barto, Y Niv & MM Botvinick (in press) - Optimal behavioral hierarchy - PLoS Computational Biology
  3. SJ Gershman & Y Niv (in press) - Novelty and inductive generalization in human reinforcement learning - TopiCS
  4. RC Wilson, YK Takahashi, G Schoenbaum* & Y Niv* (2014) - Orbitofrontal cortex encodes a cognitive map of task space - Neuron 81(2): 267-279 PDF
  5. SJ Gershman, CJ Jones, KA Norman, M-H Monfils & Y Niv (2013) - Gradual extinction prevents the return of fear: implications for the discovery of state - Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 7:164 full text
  6. SJ Gershman & Y Niv (2013) - Perceptual estimation obeys Occam’s razor - Frontiers in Psychology 4:623 full text
  7. E Eldar, JD Cohen & Y Niv (2013) - The effects of neural gain on attention and learning - Nature Neuroscience 16:1146-1153 PDF
  8. A Christakou, SJ Gershman, Y Niv, A Simmons, M Brammer & K Rubia (2013) - Neural and psychological maturation of decision-making in adolescence and young adulthood - Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 25(11):1807-1823 PDF
  9. C Diuk, K Tsai, JD Wallis, MM Botvinick & Y Niv (2013) - Two simultaneous, but separable, prediction errors in human ventral striatum - Journal of Neuroscience 33(13):5797-5805 PDF
  10. F Lucantonio, TA Stalnaker, Y Shaham, Y Niv & G Schoenbaum (2012) - The impact of orbitofrontal dysfunction on cocaine addiction - Nature Neuroscience 15(3):358-366 PDF
  11. SJ Gershman & Y Niv (2012) - Exploring a latent cause theory of classical conditioning - Learning & Behavior 40:255-268 PDF
  12. RC Wilson & Y Niv (2012) - Inferring relevance in a changing world - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 5:189 full text
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. SJ Gershman, JD Cohen & Y Niv (2010) - Learning to selectively attend - Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. PDF
  19. SJ Gershman & Y Niv (2010) - Learning latent structure: Carving nature at its joints - Current Opinion in Neurobiology 20(2), 251-256. PDF
  20. SJ Gershman, D Blei & Y Niv (2010) - Context, learning and extinction - Psychological Review 117(1), 197-209. PDF
  21. Y Niv (2009) - Reinforcement learning in the brain - The Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 53(3), 139-154. PDF
  22. MM Botvnick, Y Niv & A Barto (2009) - Hierarchically organized behavior and its neural foundations: A reinforcement-learning perspective - Cognition 113, 262-280. PDF
  23. MT Todd, Y Niv & JD Cohen (2008) - Learning to use working memory in partially observable environments through dopaminergic reinforcement - NIPS 2008. PDF
  24. 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.
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. Y Niv & G Schoenbaum (2008) - Dialogues on prediction errors - Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12(7), 265-272. PDF
  28. 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
  29. Y Niv, D Joel & P Dayan (2006) - A normative perspective on motivation - Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 10(8), 375-381. Abstract PDF
  30. 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
  31. 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
  32. 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
  33. 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
  34. 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
  35. 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.
  1. Y Niv (2013) - Dopamine ramps up - Nature 500(7464), 533-5 PDF
  2. G Schoenbaum, TA Stalnaker, Y Niv (2013) - How did the chicken cross the road? With her striatal cholinergic interneurons, of course - Neuron, 79(1), 3-6 PDF
  3. C Diuk, A Schapiro, N Cordova, Y Niv & MM Botvinick (in press) - Divide and conquer: Hierarchical reinforcement learning and task decomposition in humans. In: G Baldassare & M Mirolli eds., Computational and Robotic Models of the Hierarchical Organization of Behavior, Springer Verlag
  4. MM Botvinick, Y Niv & A Barto (2012) - Hierarchically organized behavior and its neural foundations: A reinforcement learning perspective. In: A Seth, T Prescott & J Bryson, eds., Modelling Natural Action Selection, pp. 264-269, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  5. Y Niv & S Chan (2011) - On the value of information and other rewards - Nature Neuroscience 14(9):1095-1097 PDF
  6. JER Staddon & Y Niv (2008) - Operant conditioning. Scholarpedia, 3(9):2318.
  7. 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
  8. Y Niv & M Rivlin-Etzion (2007) - Parkinson's disease: Fighting the will? - Journal of Neuroscience 11777-11779. PDF
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. Y Niv, ND Daw & P Dayan (2006) - Choice values - Nature Neuroscience 9(8), 987-988. PDF
  12. 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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