Author: Tobias Hauser

PostDoc Positions available

We are looking for PostDocs! If you are interested to work with Tobias, please get in touch with Tobias. If you want to do research in computational psychiatry, decision neuroscience, OCD, or developmental cognitive neuroscience, let Tobias know and he is happy to discuss opportunities with you. Postdocs will have access to the latest, cutting-edge methods at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging (MRI 3T/7T, MEG, OPM, etc) and be part of the Max Planck Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research in Central London. If you are interested in a position, please directly contact Tobias (t.hauser [at] ucl.ac.uk).

Propranolol modulates Information Gathering

In a recent paper that we have just published in Journal of Neuroscience, we show that Information Gathering can be modulated using the noradrenergic Beta-Receptorblocker Propranolol. Upon a single dose propranolol, we found a reduction in information gathering. Computational modelling revealed that this is due to an earlier rise of an internal urgency signal, which promotes timely decisions. This could be interesting in the context of OCD, because we found a delay in this urgency signal in patients with OCD. Hauser TU, Moutoussis M, Purg N, Dayan P* & Dolan RJ* (2018). Beta-blocker propranolol modulates decision urgency during sequential information gathering. J Neurosci 38 (32) 7170-7178

Developmental Computational Psychiatry Group

Why do so many mental health problems emerge during adolescence? What are the developmental processes in cognition and brain that go awry and lead to psychiatric disorders? The Developmental Computational Psychiatry lab uses modern cognitive neuroscience and computational modelling methods to understand the how deviations from normative developmental trajectories can lead to the emergence of psychiatric symptoms and how we may be able to detect and intervene before such processes go awry. Our lab is based at the Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research, and the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging at University College London. Our research is supported by Wellcome, Royal Society, Jacobs Foundation, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, Medical Research Foundation, and the Max Planck Society.

Sir Henry Dale Fellowship awarded

It is my great pleasure to announce that I was awarded a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship from Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society to establish my own group at the Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research, and the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging. There will be opportunities for working with me – so please get in touch if you are interested in doing a PhD or PostDoc in decision neuroscience and computational psychiatry.

Information Gathering in Compulsivity

We just published a new paper in Translational Psychiatry, where we investigate information gathering behaviour across a compulsivity spectrum. Crucially, we recruited subjects with high or low obsessive-compulsive symptoms, but which were matched for other psychiatric dimensions, such as depressive symptoms. We found that these subjects differed in the extent that they gathered information before making a decision. We thus expend our previous findings in which we show a similar difference in juvenile OCD patients. Our findings thus speak for an increased information gathering being a marker for a compulsive dimensions, which exceeds a mere clinical distinction. further reading: Hauser TU, Moutoussis M, Iannaccone R, Brem S, Walitza S, Drechsler R*, Dayan P* & Dolan RJ* (2017). Increased decision thresholds enhance information gathering performance in juvenile obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). PLoS Comput Biol 13(4): e1005440. Hauser TU, Moutoussis M, NSPN Consortium, Dayan P* & Dolan RJ* (2017). Increased decision thresholds trigger extended information gathering across the compulsivity spectrum. Nat Translat Psychiatry 7(12):1296

Interview with bornascientist

A friend of mine, Nora Raschle, recently launched an excellent website that provides lots of materials and facts around the brain and science in general. I have to say this is a brilliant resource, especially for children that want to learn about the brain. Please go and visit https://bornascientist.wordpress.com/. Part of the website also portrays scientists interviewing them why they do science. Here are my answers to these questions: https://bornascientist.wordpress.com/2017/10/24/decision-making-and-solving-the-unknown/

Jacobs Research Fellowship

I am very happy that I received a Research Fellowship from the Jacobs Foundation. This Fellowship will allow me to investigate the mechanisms underlying curiosity during development. I will also become part of a great network of scientists that are interested in development during childhood and adolescence. If you want to know more about the project and the network, please have a look here: https://jacobsfoundation.org/en/activity/jacobs-foundation-research-fellows/