Max Planck Research Group "Neural and Computational Basis of Learning, Decision Making and Memory"

Every day, humans are faced with manifold decisions, some trivial, others more complex. When deciding, they try to predict the impact the decision could have on the future. Whether we have to choose an ice-cream flavor or decide on a place to live, how does our brain solve this difficult task?

The overarching goal of the Max Planck Research Group NeuroCode – Neural and Computational Basis of Learning, Memory and Decision Making – is to address this question. It investigates the way the human brain supports decision making on the basis of previous experience, focusing on the impact of our memories on our decisions, but also on the impact of our decisions on learning and memory. In experiments conducted by the research group, participants will therefore be asked to come to decisions on the basis of their previous experience.

These experiments involve recording participants’ behavior and using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which allows the researchers to measure brain activity while a participant is making a decision. The interplay of learning and decision processes in the brain is of particular interest to the researchers. They analyze the brain data using modern statistical methods and compare the results with predictions produced by mathematical models.

In his previous research Nicolas Schuck was able to show that the interactions between learning, memory, and decision processes involve specific signals in a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. Building up on this finding, his group will focus on the question of what these signals can tell us about the brain’s algorithms during decision making based on previous experience.

The group began its work in September 2017.

Research Group Leader

Nicolas Schuck

schuck [at] mpib-berlin [dot] mpg [dot] de

Nicolas Schuck


Gregor Caregnato

+49 30 82406-363

neurocode [at] mpib-berlin [dot] mpg [dot] de