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Every day, we are faced with a bewildering number and complexity of decisions. So how do we decide what action is best? In our lab, we study how we flexibly adapt to changing environmental demands, and why we so often fail to do so, with 3 aims: (i) Understand the cognitive and computational principles that afford adaptive decision-making, and (ii) How these arise from neural chemistry and circuitry, (iii) Ultimately, achieve individual tailoring of (behavioural and pharmacological) treatment that optimises decision-making in psychiatric disorders.

Some of the questions we are interested in are: What are the cognitive and computational principles that underlie the balancing of affective biases and flexible, goal-directed control? How can we effectively recruit or suppress these affective biases? What is the computational role of neuromodulators such as dopamine and serotonin in these? How are these processes altered in psychiatric disorders like OCD and depression? Can we predict variability between individuals?


Tools & Techniques

neuroimaging (fMRI,structural);electrophysiology (EEG, intracranial EEG); psychopharmacology (serotonin, dopamine), behavioural genetics (target gene and pathway analyses); computational models of behaviour and neural circuitry (DCM); clinical (pre/post) treatment studies; online behavioural assessments.

Research Interests

reinforcement learning; decision-making; computational psychiatry (mood & anxiety disorders, OCD, addiction); cortico-striatal circuitry; dopamine; serotonin; neural prediction error coding;


If you have questions about our research, are interested in collaborating, or would like to join the lab, please get in touch!


New preprint on bioRxiv: Increasing dopamine leads to insensitivity to punishment and impaired learning

Posted 10/11/2017

Beautiful multidisciplinary work dissociating prediction error coding in the VTA and nucleus accumbens DA manipulation, by Jeroen Verharen and Louk Vanderschuren, using optogenetics, DREADS, computational modelling (our modest contribution). See here for the paper, or read the abstract below

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Paper accepted: modeling pavlovian control in escape versus avoidance

Posted 31/10/2017

Just-accepted paper in Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience as the fruits of a fun collaboration with Alex Millner, Matthew Nock and Sam Gershman @ Harvard University. Read the abstract below, or check out data and analysis code at the Alex’s Open Science Framework webpage (

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New preprint on bioRxiv: Catecholaminergic modulation of the avoidance of cognitive control

Posted 27/9/2017

Monja I Frobose, Jennifer C Swart, Jennifer L Cook, Dirk EM Geurts, Hanneke EM den Ouden, Roshan Cools -

Catecholaminergic modulation of the avoidance of cognitive control: find the paper here and read the abstract below


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New PhD student - welcome Johannes!

Posted 6/9/2017

We are very excited to be joined by Johannes Algermissen, starting his PhD with us on how we (mal)adaptively employ different decision strategies in a changing environment.

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Hanneke awarded 5-yr Vidi Grant by Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)

Posted 19/6/2017

Very proud to announce that Hanneke was awarded €800.000 for an NWO Vidi project to study adaptive decision-making under changing environmental constraints. Have a look below for a Dutch and English summary, or read a bit more here, and see here for more information about the other three grant winners at Radboud University.

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New Paper: Catecholaminergic challenge uncovers distinct Pavlovian and instrumental mechanisms of motivated (in)action

Posted 1/5/2017

Congratulations to Jennifer Swart on her beautiful new paper just accepted in eLife. See below for a lay summary and scientific abstracts. First paper in a series on methylphenidate, stay tuned!

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dopamine controls Parkinson's tremor by inhibiting the cerebellar thalamus

Posted 12/1/2017

new paper in brain with michiel dirkx and rick helmich, check out the paper here, or watch the video abstract

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welcome to emma and ahnjili

Posted 5/9/2016

ahnjili zhuparris and emma van dijk are joining the lab for the coming year, to complete there MSc thesis projects. have a look at their profiles to find out what they will be doing!  

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the cerebral network of parkinson's tremor

Posted 18/4/2016

new paper in journal of neuroscience, with michiel dirkx and rick helmich investigating the neural circuitry driving tremor in parkinson's disease - going the lengths of reproducing effects in 2 separate samples!

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symposium accepted at SOBP 2016

Posted 11/12/2015

together with michael threadway, daniel dillon and henry chase, hanneke den ouden will be speaking at Biological Psychiatry, 12-14 may 2016, atlanta, georgia. the topic of the symposium is computational neuroscience of disrupted learning and memory in depression. more details to follow!

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