Department/Program: Psychology Department and Princeton Neuroscience Institute
Office location: PNI 143
Phone: 609 258 1291
Website: www.princeton.edu/~nivlab and www.princeton.edu/~yael
Office Hours: by appointment (just drop me a quick email letting me know what times are good for you, and we can find a match)
Profile: Yael Niv has been at Princeton since 2007, first as a postdoctoral fellow and then as faculty. Her training is in computational neuroscience, and most of it was obtained abroad, in Israel and in London, UK. As someone who has not gone through the college experience in USA, she is excited to learn the ropes of undergraduate life in Princeton together with you. Her lab focuses on the neural and computational processes underlying reinforcement learning and decision-making. She and the ~10 doctoral and postdoctoral researchers in her lab (plus a handful of excellent and enthusiastic undergraduate students) study the ongoing day-to-day processes by which animals and humans learn from trial and error, without explicit instructions, to predict future events and to act upon the environment so as to maximize reward and minimize punishment. In particular, they are interested in how attention and memory processes interact with reinforcement learning to create representations that allows us to learn to solve new tasks so efficiently. In their research, the Niv Lab employ behavioral and fMRI experiments in humans, and computational modeling. Yael is also especially interested in all issues regarding underrepresentation of women in science and in academe in general, the experience of foreigners or minorities, as well as the experience of first-generation college students.