Thorsten Kahnt, Ph.D.


Cellular and Neurocomputational Systems Branch, Learning and Decision-Making Unit


Biomedical Research Center
251 Bayview Boulevard
Suite 200, Room 06A711
Baltimore, MD 21224


Research Topics

Our lab is interested in the neural and computational systems that support learning and decision-making and their dysfunctions in addiction. Because the sense of smell plays an important role in guiding appetitive behaviors, we are also interested in the neural and perceptual mechanisms of olfaction. We study the human brain using non-invasive neuroimaging and stimulation techniques. Specifically, we use high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity and we use transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to modulate activity in specific brain areas and distributed networks. We use computational approaches to analyze the information content encoded in distributed activity patterns and we model behavior and neural responses to bridge levels of analysis. Our research aims to facilitate the bidirectional translation between research in animals and humans to build a more comprehensive understanding of the basic brain processes underlying appetitive behaviors and their disruptions in addiction.

Selected Publications

  1. Howard JD, Reynolds R, Smith DE, Voss JL, Schoenbaum G, Kahnt T. Targeted Stimulation of Human Orbitofrontal Networks Disrupts Outcome-Guided Behavior. Curr Biol. 2020;30(3):490-498.e4.
  2. Wang F, Schoenbaum G, Kahnt T. Interactions between human orbitofrontal cortex and hippocampus support model-based inference. PLoS Biol. 2020;18(1):e3000578.
  3. Wang F, Howard JD, Voss JL, Schoenbaum G, Kahnt T. Targeted Stimulation of an Orbitofrontal Network Disrupts Decisions Based on Inferred, Not Experienced Outcomes. J Neurosci. 2020;40(45):8726-8733.
  4. Stalnaker TA, Howard JD, Takahashi YK, Gershman SJ, Kahnt T, Schoenbaum G. Dopamine neuron ensembles signal the content of sensory prediction errors. Elife. 2019;8.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 11, 2022