Nicolas Schuck


Leader of the Max Planck Research Group NeuroCode – Neural and Computational Basis of Learning, Memory and Decision Making



Phone: +49 30 82406-304
Twitter: @nico_schuck

Short CV:

since 2017: Research Group Leader MPRG Neurocode, Max Planck Institute for Human Development
2013–2017: Postdoc in Cognitive Neuroscience, Princeton Neuroscience Institute
2010–2013: PhD in Psychology (Dr.), MPI for Human Development/Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
2007–2008: Minor in Machine Learning, University of Toronto (Exchange)
2004–2010: Diploma in Psychology (Dipl. Psych.), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Research Interests:

My research aims to understand how decision making problems are represented in the brain. When playing chess, for instance, a novice will attend to and remember different aspects of a given position than an expert. In this sense, learning not only involves learning how to act, but also to how process, represent and store information. How are such adaptive representations learned, computationally? Where in the brain do they reside? And what role does replay, i.e. memory reactivation during idle wakefulness and sleep, play in this process? Unraveling how we learn representations that make complex tasks easy is the overarching goal of my research.

I am addressing these questions by applying computational models and pattern recognition algorithms to experimental data from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). This approach allows me to decode the information hidden in the complex brain activation patterns of humans while they make decisions.

Selected Literature:

Schuck, N. W., & Niv, Y. (2019). Sequential replay of nonspatial task states in the human hippocampus. Science, 364(6447):eaaw5181. doi:10.1126/science.aaw5181

Kaplan, R.*, Schuck, N.W.* & Doeller, C.F. (2017). The role of decision-making processes in memory. Trends in Neurosciences. 40 (5), 256-259.

Schuck, N.W., Cai, M., Wilson, RC & Niv, Y. (2016). Human orbitofrontal cortex encodes a cognitive map of state space. Neuron. 91(1), 1402-1412.

Schuck, N.W., Gaschler, R., Wenke, D., Heinzle, J., Haynes, J.-D. & Reverberi, C. (2015). Medial Prefrontal Cortex Predicts Internally Driven Strategy Shifts. Neuron. 86(1), 331-340.

Schuck, N.W., Doeller, C.F., Frensch, P.A., Polk, T.A., Lindenberger, U. & Li, S.-C. (2015). Human Aging Alters Neural Computation and Representations During Spatial Navigation. NeuroImage. 117, 141-150.

Go to Editor View