New paper out!

When making decisions under risk, we often attach more weight to prospective losses than to equivalent gains. This is one of the most prominent and deleterious decision biases called loss aversion. By consequence of loss aversion, we might chase our losses, and thus accumulate more of them, or we may ask more money for selling goods than we would be willing to spend to buy equivalent goods. In this new study, we show that the two stress neuromodulators Cortisol and Noradrenaline combined, but not in isolation, reduce loss aversion. Our results have implications for understanding hormonal factors influencing the susceptibility to decision biases.

undefinedMargittai Z, Nave G, Van Wingerden M, Schnitzler A, Schwabe L, Kalenscher T (2017) Combined Effects of Glucocorticoid and Noradrenergic Activity on Loss Aversion. Neuropsychopharmacology. Published online ahead of print.



New paper out!

This commentary article, just published in Nature Human Behaviour, accompanies a paper by Kruti Vekaria, Abigail Marsh and others showing that altruistic kidney donors value the welfare of socially distant others higher than normal control participants.  

Kalenscher T (2017) Social psychology: love thy stranger as thyself. Nature Human Behaviour 04:Article no. 0108.



Sprechstunde / Office hours

Unfortunately, Prof. Kalenscher will be out of office the following dates:

Leider muss die Sprechstunde von Prof. Kalenscher an folgenden Daten ausfallen:

17.5.2017, 14.6.2017, 26.7.2017, 9.8.-23.8.2017, 6.9.2017, 4.10.-11.10.2017, 1.11.2017, 15.11.2017



New schedule for summer term colloquium out

Check undefinedhere!



The program of the 6th Düsseldorf Symposium on Decision Neuroscience is available!

We are proud to anounce that the program for the 6th Düsseldorf Symposium on Decision Neuroscience is now available. There will be an exciting line-up of speakers again: Brian Knutson (Stanford University, USA), Mark Buckley (Oxford University, UK), Grit Hein (Frankfurt University, D), Friederike Range (University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Austria). The symposium will be held on Friday, June 30, 2017 in undefinedO.A.S.E. at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. You can download the flyer with all information, including registration details and directions, undefinedhere. For further information or to register, email undefinedAdam Schweda.




New study out in cooperation with Uni Zürich!

New paper out in collaboration with Alexander Soutschek and Philippe Tobler from Zürich University! In this paper, we show that brain stimulation can improve self-control. This idea is a follow-up on a recent neuroimaging study undefined(Crockett et al., Neuron, 2013) in which we showed that the frontopolar cortex is engaged when we use a cognitive, strategic form of self-control - precommitment. Precommitment refers to the deliberate removal of tempting, but ultimately undesirable choice alternatives if the decision-maker anticipates he might succumb to the temptation. In the present experiment, we applied transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the frontopolar cortex and found that this brain stimulation increases the propensity to show precommitment in a self-control task.

Soutschek A, Ugazio G, Crockett MJ, Ruff CC, Kalenscher T, Tobler PN (2017) Binding oneself to the mast: stimulating frontopolar cortex enhances precommitment. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 12:635-642.




New paper out on animal models of callousness

In this paper, we review recent advances in rodent models of pro- and antisocial behavior. We argue that the experimentally induces absence of pro-social behavior is a proxy of callousness in animals. Such an animal model of callousness can be used to study the psychological and neural basis of anti-sociality and psychopathology. Congratulations, Julien! Read the article here:

Hernandez-Lallement J., et al. (2017) Towards an animal model of callousness. Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev., 





New paper in cooperation with Uni Zurich  

Neurobiological models of self-control usually focus on brain mechanisms involved in impulse control and emotion regulation. Together with Alexander Soutschek, Philippe Tobler and Christian Ruff of Zürich University, we show that the mechanism for overcoming egocentricity also facilitates self-control. In this new study, we show that disrupting the function of the temporo-parietal junction with TMS decreased social discounting of other-concerning rewards (undefinedStrombach et al., 2015), as well as delay discounting of future own rewards. Read the article here:


undefinedSoutschek A., Ruff C. C., Strombach T., Kalenscher T., Tobler P. N. (2016) Brain stimulation reveals crucial role of overcoming self-centeredness in self-control. Science Advances. 2(40), e1600992.



New paper out!

In this study, we show that the decline in generosity towards others depends on how much you have on your mind at the time of decision-making, but only if you are male. Cognitive load increased social discounting strongly in men, but not in women. Check here:

undefinedStrombach T., Margittai Z., Gorczyca B., Kalenscher T. (2016). Gender-Specific Effects of Cognitive Load on Social Discounting. PLoS One 11:e0165289.



Schedule for winter term colloquium online  

The program for out weekly Monday afternoon talks in the upcoming winter term is online. We are excited to welcome great speakers! Please join us on Mondays, 4:30 PM, in building 23.03., level u1, room 61. Check the schedule here!



Symposium on decision neuroscience 2016 was splendid! 

Our 2016 Düsseldorf Decision Making Symposium was a great success again. We were proud to have hosted John O'Doherty (Caltech), Josh Buckholtz (Harvard), Judith Burkart (Zürich University) and Christian Ruff (Zürich University). Please read the full report here.



New paper out! 

Deep brain stimulation in Parkinson patients does not affect delay discounting in intertemporal choice. Congratulations, Maayke.

Check here!



New paper out!

Rats show inequity aversion. In her new study, Lina Oberließen could show that rats prefer fair reward distributions between themselves and a concspecific over unfair reward distributions that leave the conspecific better off. Congratulations, Lina! 

Check out here!



Conference on the structure of cognitive representations in September '16

The DFG Collaborative Research Centre 991: The Structure of Representations in Language, Cognition, and Science (Germany) invites abstracts for its biannual conference philosophical, psychological, linguistic and neuroscientific perspectives on the structure of cognition.




Program for decision neuroscience symposium online!

We are proud to annouce that the Düsseldorf symposium on decision neuroscience will also take place this year! More information here!



Good news! :)

Our lab just published 2 new papers.
First, Zsofia Margittai and colleagues published on the effects of cortsiol on cognitive reasoning or reflection, rescpectively, in humans. Check here.
Secondly, Julien Hernandez-Lallement and colleagues showed in their new paper in Neurobiology of learning and memory that lesions of the basolateral amygdala lead to a decrease fo social preferences in their recently established rodent prosocial choice task. Check here.



New paper out!

Autobiographical memory, gender and delay discounting in older people. Congratulations, Maayke!

Seinstra M, Grzymek K, Kalenscher T (2015) Gender-Specific Differences in the Relationship between Autobiographical Memory and Intertemporal Choice in Older Adults. PLoS One 10:e0137061.




New vacancies: Student assistants wanted!

We have some new open vacancies for student assistants. Check here!



New paper out!

Inspired by vast recent literature on stress on various cognition domains, Zsofia Magittai, Tina Strombach and colleagues conducted an experiment to investigate the effects of stress on social distance mapping and generosity. Inducing psychosocial stress using the TSST, they found that stress increases generosity towards socially close, but not socially distant others. Get the article here!

We would like to thank our collaborators: Marian Joels and Lars Schwabe!




Paper on economic decision making in rodents published!

Marijn van Wingerden and colleagues just published a new paper in PLoS ONE. The authors inverstigated the dynamics in choice tasks depending on whether budgets were compensated or not, basically applying economic demand theory to rat behavior. Check here.



New theses up for grabs

We updated our theses page - new topics are available now! For example, we offer the opportunity to work with electrophysiology in rodents to perform research into social decision behavior. Furthermore, some interesting theses in clinical neuropsychology, as well as in human behavioral decision research can be assigned. Click here.



Flyer for the Düsseldorf Symposium on Decision Neuroscience 2015 out

We are happy to announce the official line-up for our yearly symposium. On July 4, we are proud to welcome Wolfram Schultz, Philippe Tobler, Joe Kable, as well as Alan Sanfey. Interested? Download the flyer here. If you have specific questions, write a mail to Zsofia Hangebrauk! :)



Schedule for summer term colloquium 2015 online !

We warmly invite you to our weekly colloquium this year. We are happy to announce again different speakers from all around the world. After the talks, papers and progresses will be discussed in good company. Later we continue in our lab-kitchen having beers and playing darts. You can find the schedule here.



2 new papers out!

Tina Strombach published her work on the neural correlates of social discounting in PNAS. In the cooperative project between the HHU, the CENS and the Life&Brain in Bonn and the University of Zürich she illustrates that the TPJ plays a key role in regulating selfish impulses. Click here to read the University press report.

Also, Julien Hernandez-Lallement published a paper on his work on social decision making in rodents. He and his colleagues developed a social decision task for rats which serves to explore social value representation in rats. He could show that rats prefer mutual rewards instead of just a reward for themselves. Click here for the University press report.


Strombach T., Weber B., Hangebrauk Z., Kenning P., Karpidis I., Tobler P. N., Kalenscher T. (2015) Social discounting involves modulation of neural value signals by tempro-parietal junction. PNAS. Early online pupblication: 6:1. doi/10.1073/pnas.1414715112


Hernandez-Lallement, Van Wingerden M., Marx C., Srejic M. , Kalenscher T. (2015) Rats prefer mutual rewards in a prosocial choice task. Frontiers in neuroscience 8:1-9.




New article out!

In his new paper, Tobias Kalenscher describes psychological factors explaining low insurance take-up in developing countries. A special focus is placed on decision-making mechanisms, particularly present biases and cooperative behavior.


Kalenscher T. (2014) Attitude toward health insurance in developing countries from a decision making perspective. Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology and Economics. 73:174-193




Lina Oberließen received a grant for her cooperative PhD project!

After one year of planning and designing an exceptional PhD in comparative behavioural research, Lina Oberließen finally got a grant from the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (http://www.studienstiftung.de/) supporting her promising research project. She wants to investigate inequity aversion in rats, monkeys and wolves, in cooperation with the Wolf Science Center in Austria. Many thanks to everyone who kept fingers crossed!




We are happy to announce that the flyer for the Symposium on Decision Neuroscience 2014 can be downloaded here. We will keep you on track if any new information is available. Feel free to write a mail to Zsofia or Christine if you have any questions !



The 'Freigeist' fellowship goes to Marijn van Wingerden !

We congratulate Dr. Marijn van Wingerden for receiving the Freigest fellowship from the Volkswagen Stiftung. This grant will doubtlessly enrich his research on social neurosciences and social decision making. At the same time we thank the Volkswagen Stiftung for taking an appreciating view on our work !




Verantwortlich für den Inhalt: E-Mail sendenAdam Schweda