Motivation, Cerveau & Comportement

Research center

47 bld de l'Hôpital
75651 Paris
Alexis Brice


Université Pierre et Marie Curie
Université Pierre et Marie Curie


UMRS 1127 UMR 7225

Mots clefs

computational modeling
Available to host a PhD student


Automatic integration of confidence in the brain valuation signal. Lebreton M, Abitbol R, Daunizeau J, Pessiglione M. Nat Neurosci. 2015 Aug;18(8):1159-67. 

Similar improvement of reward and punishment learning by serotonin reuptake inhibitors in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Palminteri S, Clair AH, Mallet L, Pessiglione M.  Biological Psychiatry (2012).

Neural mechanisms underlying motivation of mental versus physical effort. 
Schmidt L, Lebreton M, Cléry-Melin ML, Daunizeau J, Pessiglione M
PLoS Biol. 2012 Feb;10(2):e1001266.

Complementary neural correlates of motivation in dopaminergic and noradrenergic neurons of monkeys, S. Bouret, S. Ravel, et B. J. Richmond, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, vol. 6, 201

Intersection of reward and memory in monkey rhinal cortex. Clark AM, Bouret S, Young AM, Richmond BJ.J Neurosci. 2012 May 16;32(20):6869-77

Fields of research

Cognitive neurosciences / neuropsychology /neuroeconomy

Research Theme

Why do we do what we do? We are largely unaware of our own motives. Our team seeks to understand how motivation works, in both the normal and pathological brain. We define motivation as a set of processes that assign values to potential situations so as to drive behavior.

Our research is closely related to the emerging field of neuroeconomics, which is focused on understanding value-based decision-making and on explaining deviations to rationality. We wish to build a comprehensive account of motivational processes, investigating

- not only valuation but also belief attribution (assigning probabilities to potential situations)

- not only choice but also effort allocation (translating expected value into energy expenditure)


More specifically, our aims are to better describe

a) how the brain encodes values and beliefs

b) how values depend on parameters such as reward magnitude, probability, delay and cost

c) how values are affected by social contexts

d) how values are modified through learning

e) how values influence the brain systems (perceptual, cognitive, motor) that underpin behavioral performance


To investigate neural correlates of motivational processes, we combine three approaches:

1) human cognitive neuroscience, which is central as we ultimately wish to understand ourselves, in both healthy states and pathological conditions where motivation is either deficient (apathy) or out of control (impulsivity)

2) primate neurophysiology, which is essential to describe information processing at the single-unit level and to derive causality by observing behavioral consequences of brain manipulations

3) computational modeling, which is mandatory to quantitatively link the different description levels (single-unit recordings, local field potentials, regional hemodynamic response and motor outputs)

Etudiants ENP


Lab rotation

A smartphone app for massive online cognitive experiments

Chercheur responsable: 



1 September 2016 - 30 June 2017

Date limite de candidature: 

1 September 2016

Lab rotation proposal:

~ Sep-Dec 2016 ~ Jan-March 2017 ~ Apr-June 2017


In january 2015, our team has launched the BRAiN’US project, which aims at crowdscourcing cognitive experiments ( BRAiN'US 1.0 gathered 8 psychological experiments into a smartphone app, designed to test cognitive processes engaged in social decision making, including executive functions and theory of mind. This has generated a massive amount of data (about 30000 registered users), which we are currently analyzing.We now wish to develop a second version of the app (BRAiN'US 2.0), which will focus on distinct set of cognitive functions. BRAiN'US 2.0 will contain a set of cognitive tests relevant for assessing a broad set of basic cognitive functions (such as attention, emotion, motivation, etc...). It is a collaborative project that engages many cognitive neuroscience research teams at the ICM, and an industrial partner that is responsible for the IT.In this context, the objective of the ENP lab rotation's project is twofold: (1) designing a prototype for BRAiN'US 2.0, and (2) piloting the test battery on a small (n=30) sample of subject. If willing, the successful candidate will be involved in the coordination of the scientific team with the industrial partner.Note: no specific IT skill is required, since the prototype will be designed in MATLAB.

AddressInstitut Du Cerveau et de la Moelle Épinière - 47 bld de l'Hôpital 75651 Paris

Phone number: +33 1 57 27 43 24 ;