Principal Investigator

tobias.egner at

tobias.egner at

Tobias Egner, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology & Neuroscience
Director of Graduate Studies, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience

Tobias received a B.Sc. in Psychology from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and then went on to earn his Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience at Imperial College London, University of London. After that, he undertook postdoctoral research at the Functional MRI Research Center at Columbia University in New York City before working as a Research Assistant Professor in the Cognitive Neurology & Alzheimer's Disease center at Northwestern University in Chicago. In summer 2009, he joined the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University.

For more information, download Tobias Egner's CV.

Lab Manager at at

Amelia Abbott-Frey

Amelia received her B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2011.

Amelia is interested in translational research or how cognitive neuroscience can inspire and shape the development of clinically effective treatment/interventions and how such clinical endeavors inform basic research.

Post-Doctoral Fellows

chiu.yuchin at

chiu.yuchin at

Yu-Chin Chu, Ph.D.

Yu-Chin received a B.Sc. in Psychology from National Taiwan University in 2004. She then worked as a research assistant at Academia Sinica before she went to earn her Ph.D. in Psychological and Brain Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University in 2010. She then went to do a short postdoc at the University of California San Diego before she joined the Egner Lab.

Yu-Chin is interested in how humans exert top-down, cognitive control when bottom-up (attentional & motivational) biases are in conflict with the current goal. When cognitive control fails, these biases could become detrimental, contributing to maladaptive behaviors as seen in many psychiatric disorders. Yu-Chin's overarching research goal is to examine how top-down/executive setting can modulate and override bottom-up biases using various research methodologies (behavior, TMS, fMRI).

anthony.sali at

anthony.sali at

Anthony Sali, Ph.D.

Anthony received a B.A. in Psychology from Hamilton College in 2010. He later earned his Ph.D. in Psychological and Brain Sciences from the Johns Hopkins University in 2015.

Anthony is interested in how learning guides flexible attentional control. When behavioral goals change, an individual must be prepared to shift attentional selections. However the likelihood that such a shift will be necessary varies across environmental contexts. Anthony's work seeks to understand the representational mechanisms through which environmental structure influences the flexible updating of attentional selections using studies of human behavior, functional human neuroimaging and TMS.


Graduate students

hanna.oh.descher at

hanna.oh.descher at

Hanna Oh Descher

Hanna received a B.E. in Interdisciplinary Engineering with Bioengineering concentration at the Cooper Union in 2009 and earned her M.S. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from Seoul National University in 2012. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience.

Hanna is interested in statistical learning and decision-making, focusing on how people cope with bounded rationality via satisficing. Her current project aims to understand how people learn to integrate multiple pieces of information through trial-and-error and how decision-making strategies change under various pressures such as time, stress, and limited cognitive resources. She hopes to address these questions through mathematical models, brain imaging (fMRI), and TMS.

christina.bejjani at

christina.bejjani at

Christina Bejjani

Christina received a B.A. in neuroscience from Pomona College in 2013. She worked as a research assistant at UCLA before becoming a lab manager for the Learning and Decision Making lab at Rutgers University, Newark in 2014. She joined the Egner lab as a Psychology & Neuroscience graduate student in 2016.

Christina is interested in how bottom-up associational processes interact and work hand-in-hand with control processes to guide adaptive behavior. She plans to investigate stimulus- and context-control learning (i.e. how control states are associated with particular stimuli or contexts) using various methodologies (behavioral, modeling, fMRI).


Undergraduate students

jordan.a.cohen at

jordan.a.cohen at

Jordan Cohen

Jordan is currently an undergraduate at Duke from Scottsdale, Arizona. He is pursuing a B.S. in neuroscience with distinction as well as minors in chemistry and Spanish and plans to attend medical school following graduation.

Jordan is working on flexible attentional control. This work pertains to how learning guides cognitive behavior and attentional shifting across different environmental cues. He is interested in the link between the prefrontal cortex and context-based reinforcement learning. 

hitomi.tanaka at

hitomi.tanaka at

Hitomi Tanaka

Hitomi is an undergraduate at Duke from Chicago, Illinois, majoring in neuroscience and minoring in Japanese and/or Global Health. She plans to enter the field of medicine after graduation. Within neuroscience, she is particularly interested in how the brain functions in higher order processing, specifically decision-making, memory formation, and emotions. 

In the Egner lab, she is working on a study that examines the impacts of stress on probabilistic decision-making, specifically the way in which people integrate information through learning. Outside of Duke, she has also explored the mechanisms of stimulus generalization by studying the interactions between various brain regions using behavior studies and TMS.  




Paul Muhle-Karbe - Oxford University, UK & Ghent University, Belgium

Jiefeng Jiang - Stanford University, USA

Emma Wu Dowd - Ohio State University, USA

Anastasia Kiyonaga - University of California, Berkeley, USA

Franziska Korb - Dresden University of Technology, Germany

Joseph King - Dresden University of Technology, Germany

Darinka Trübutschek - École des Neurosciences, France