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Tobler Philippe

Prof Philippe Tobler

Associate Professor of Neuroeconomics and Social Neuroscience

Areas of research

neural mechanisms of decision making and reward learning


Department of Economics, University of Zurich

After having studied experimental psychology with a focus on the oculomotor system, for my PhD I investigated reward processing by single dopamine neurons. My postdoctoral work employed functional magnetic resonance imaging in humans to shed light on how the brain processes economic reward parameters, such as risk, delay and probability.

Currently, I am interested in the neural basis of reward, learning, economic decision making and social behaviour. I study both group effects and individual differences with a variety of methods. Examples of brain structures I am particularly interested in include the dopaminergic midbrain, the striatum and the prefrontal cortex.

Selected publications:

  • Lindström, B; Golkar, A; Jangard, S; Tobler, P.N. & Olsson, A, (2019) Social threat learning transfers to decision making in humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.
  • Saposnik, G., Mamdani, M., Terzaghi, M., Saladino, M. L., Silva, B., Tobler, P. N., & Caceres, F. (2018). The role of prescribing generic (non-proprietary) drugs in the prevalence of therapeutic inertia in multiple sclerosis care. Frontiers in neurology, 9.
  • Hein, G., Engelmann, J. B., & Tobler, P. N. (2018). Pain relief provided by an outgroup member enhances analgesia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 285(1887), 20180501.
  • Schneider, K., Michels, L., Hartmann-Riemer, M. N., Burrer, A., Tobler, P. N., Stämpfli, P., ... & Kaiser, S. (2019). Cerebral blood flow in striatal regions is associated with apathy in patients with schizophrenia. Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience: JPN, 44(2), 102.