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Erie Boorman


  • Ph.D Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, 2010
  • MSc (Distinction), Neurosciences, University of Oxford, 2006
  • B.A. (Honors), Psychology, Stanford, 2004


Erie Boorman recently moved from the FMRIB Centre (Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain) at the University of Oxford to UC Davis to take up an academic appointment in the Department of Psychology, and to join the Center for Mind and Brain as a core faculty member. He investigates the computational and neural architecture of reinforcement learning and decision-making. Erie Boorman is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the Society for Neuroeconomics, and the Organization of Human Brain Mapping. 

Research Focus

How do we make decisions? How do we learn from their outcomes? Professor Boorman seeks mechanistic answers to such questions at the behavioral, computational and neural systems levels. His research is multi-disciplinary, lying at the intersection between psychology, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and behavioral economics. His lab investigates how the adult human brain forms and tunes predictive models of the environment, and how it leverages these models to make decisions. The prediction problems he investigates span reward prediction (e.g. money, foods, etc.), social prediction (e.g. other people’s intentions, traits, etc.), and “state” prediction (e.g. perceptually signaled and inferred latent contexts).

Current research topics include causal learning, structure learning, domain generality of prediction and selection systems, and behavioral adaptation. 

For more information on the research we do, see his personal website

Selected Publications

  • Boorman, E.D., Rajendran, V., O’Reilly, J.X., Behrens, T.E. (2016). Two computationally and anatomically distinct learning signals predict changes to stimulus-outcome associations in hippocampus. Neuron: 89:1343-54.
  • Boorman, E.D., O’Doherty, J.P., Adolphs, R., Rangel, A. (2013). The behavioral and neural mechanisms underlying the tracking of expertise. Neuron: 80:1558-71.
  • Boorman, E.D., Rushworth, M.F., Behrens, T.E. (2013). Ventromedial prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortex adopt choice and default reference frames during sequential multialternative choice. Journal of Neuroscience: 33:2242-53.
  • Boorman, E.D., Behrens, T.E., Rushworth, M.F. (2011). Counterfactual choice and learning in a neural network centered on human lateral frontopolar cortex. PLoS Biology: 9:e1001093.
  • Boorman, E.D., Behrens, T.E., Woolrich, M.W., and Rushworth, M.F.S. (2009). How green is the grass on the other side? Frontopolar cortex and the representation of alternative courses of action. Neuron, 62:733-43. 
  • Boorman, E.D., O’Shea, J., Sebastian, C., Rushworth, M.F.S., Johansen-Berg, H. (2007). Individual Differences in White-Matter Microstructure Reflect Variation in Functional Connectivity during Choice, Current Biology, 17:1426-31. 


Erie Boorman will teach “Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience” in 2016-17. He plans to create a new seminar, “Reinforcement Learning and Decision-Making (or Neuroeconomics),” to begin in 2017-18. 


  • Wellcome Trust, Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2010-14
  • Wellcome Trust Prize Studentship, University of Oxford, 2005-10
  • Overseas Research Student Award, University of Oxford, 2006-09
  • Computational and Systems Neuroscience Travel Award, 2014 
  • Human Brain Mapping Travel Award, 2007-10
  • Summer Research College Award, Stanford University, 2003