Decision Neuroscience of Human Interactions


Welcome to the homepage of the newly funded Decision Neuroscience of Human Interactions group!
Social cooperation underlies most – if not ultimately all – human achievements. When joining forces, individuals can achieve more than in isolation. However, cooperation risks exploitation. Each individual faces the temptation to defect and reap the benefits of cooperation without paying its costs. If too many individuals defect, cooperation breaks down and everybody ends up worse. Cooperation thus exposes a dilemma between collective and individual rationality. Decisions to cooperate – or not – thus necessarily involve thinking about decisions of others and about possible payoffs.
The group’s goal is to address the following broad questions: How do humans make decisions to cooperate with each other? What are the computational and neural processes of such decisions? The planned projects combine computational modeling of behavioral data, evolutionary game theory, model-based and multivariate analyses of fMRI data, pupillometry, virtual reality, and testing of psychiatric patients.
The group is funded by an Emmy-Noether research grant to Christoph Korn. Psychiatric patients are tested in collaboration with Sabine Herpertz and her lab at the Heidelberg University Hospital.

Projects:

  • Staff
  • Staff
    Christoph Korn
    Dr. phil.
    Christoph Korn
    • Principal investigator


    W34, 3rd Floor, Room number 333

    Biographical sketch:
    I am a cognitive neuroscientist interested in human decision-making and learning in social and multimodal contexts – in particular during social cooperation. I use computational modeling, model-based and multivariate fMRI analyses, pupillometry, as well as lab and online data acquisition. Since 2018, I am the head of an Emmy-Noether group at the Institute of Systems Neuroscience. From 2016 to 2018, I worked in the group of Jan Gläscher within the Transregional Collaborative Research Center on Crossmodal Learning (TRR 169). Additionally, I collaborated with Martin Nowak and Alex McAvoy at Harvard University thanks to co-funding by the German Academic Exchange Service.
    Before, I did a postdoc at the University of Zurich in the group of Dominik Bach. I completed my PhD at the Freie Universität Berlin in the group of Hauke Heekeren with funding from the Berlin School of Mind and Brain. During a joint Master’s program by University College London, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, and Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, I worked in the group of Ray Dolan under the supervision of Tali Sharot. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in biomedicine from the University of Würzburg.

    PhD Students

    Lisa Marie Doppelhofer

    Koen Frolichs

    Benjamin Kuper-Smith

    Student Assistant

    Marilyn Mintah

    Cristian Ioan

    Jannis Petalas

    • - Social and non-social decision-making and learning in humans
    • - Optimal versus heuristic decision-making
    • - Multimodal integration
    • - Computational models, functional neuroimaging (model-based fMRI, representational similarity analysis), and pupillometry

    • Korn CW, Bach DR (2018) Heuristic and optimal policy computations in the human brain during sequential decision-making. Nat Commun 9:1:325.
    • Korn CW, Vunder J, Miró J, Fuentemilla L, Hurlemann R, Bach DR (2017) Amygdala lesions reduce anxiety-like behavior in a human benzodiazepine-sensitive approach-avoidance conflict test. Biol Psychiatry 82:7:522-531.
    • Korn CW, Staib M, Tzovara A, Castegnetti G, Bach DR (2016) A pupil size response model to assess fear learning. Psychophysiology 54:3:330-343.
    • Korn CW, Bach DR (2015) Maintaining homoeostasis by decision-making. PLoS Comput Biol 11:5:e1004301.
    • Korn CW, Prehn K, Park SQ, Walter H, Heekeren HR (2012) Positively biased processing of self-relevant social feedback. J Neurosci 32:16832-16844.
    • Sharot T*, Korn CW*, Dolan RJ (2011) How unrealistic optimism is maintained in the face of reality. Nat Neurosci 14:1475-1479. *equal contribution

    • Emmy Noether Programme awarded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)
    • Research grant for young investigators by University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf
    • Preregistration Challenge: prize for publishing a preregistered study in an eligible journal, awarded by the Center for Open Science

    • Prof. Dr. Sabine Herpertz, Heidelberg University Hospital, Heidelberg, Germany
    • Prof. Dr. Gabriela Rosenblau, George Washington University, Washington DC, USA
    • Prof. Dr. Martin Nowak and Dr. Alex McAvoy, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA