About us

We study the neuroscience of memory and decision making.

We are a team of scientists united by a desire to understand the neural computations that generate intelligent, goal-directed behavior. A major focus is on understanding how our memory systems build internal models of the world, and how we simulate the future when making a decision.

Our approach combines theory development and experimentation:

  1. We build computational models capable of predicting complex human decisions. These models formalize our knowledge of neuroscience and cognitive science, and in particular the interdependence between learning, memory, and planning. Our models are typically formalized in the mathematical languages of reinforcement learning, Bayesian inference, and neural networks.

  2. We validate our models using behavioral and neural data from decision making experiments, conducted either in our lab (human behavior and neuroimaging) or by collaborators (animal electrophysiology).

While our primary goal with this research is to understand healthy cognition, we are also interested in connections to artificial intelligence and to computational psychiatry.

The laboratory is directed by Dr. Marcelo Mattar, and is currently located in the Department of Cognitive Science at UC San Diego.

In January 2023, the lab will move to New York University (NYU). A temporary presence will be maintained at UC San Diego while some lab members continue their graduate studies.

Our team

Understanding the brain and mind is an multidisciplinary endeavor. Accordingly, our team members have a remarkably diverse set of backgrounds and interests, including cognitive science, neuroscience, psychology, computer science, and engineering, among others.

Click here to view our current team.

Click here if you are interested in joining us.

Contact us




Meyer Hall
4 Washington Place
New York, NY 10003