Nils Kolling

Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics
Junior Research Fellow

Academic Background

2006-2009: BA (1st class in Physiology and Psychology), University of Oxford
2009-2010: MSc in Neuroscience, University of Oxford
2011-2014: PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Oxford

Undergraduate Teaching

First Year Biopsychology and 3rd Year Practical classes in Neuro-anatomy for Psychologist

Research Interests

The primary aim of my research is the understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying reward-guided decision making, learning and exploration. I focus particularly on the role of the frontal lobes of humans in generating choices based on rewards and other features of the environment.

My interest goes beyond uncovering the neural mechanisms underlying only one particular form of decision making. I am also investigating how forms of evaluation in the frontal lobes and the rest of the brain interact and compete, and how such network dynamics are responsible for allowing more dynamic and ecological behaviour.

Furthermore, I am pursuing how such a view might inform a better understanding of individual differences as well as disorders of reward, learning and choice.

Publications include:

Scholl, J.*, Kolling, N.*, Nelissen, N., Wittmann, M., Harmer, C.J. and Rushworth, M.F. (2015) The good, the bad and the irrelevant - neural mechanisms of learning real and hypothetical rewards and effort. Journal of Neuroscience *equal contribution

Kolling, N. and Hunt, L.T. (2015) Divide and conquer: strategic decision areas. Nature Neuroscience

Kolling, N. and Rushworth, M.F. (2015) What's Worth the Risk? A Neural Circuit for Trade-Offs. Cell

Scholl, J., Guenthner, J., Kolling, N., Favaron, E., Rushworth, M.F., Harmer, C.J. and Reinecke, A. (2014) A role beyond learning for NMDA receptors in reward-based decision-making- a pharmacological study using d-cycloserine. Neuropsychopharmacology

Chau, B.K., Kolling, N., Hunt, L.T., Walton, M.E. and Rushworth, M.F. (2014) A neural mechanism underlying failure of optimal choice with multiple alternatives. Nature Neuroscience

Kolling, N., Wittmann, M. and Rushworth M.F. (2014) Multiple neural mechanisms of decision making and their competition under changing risk pressure. Neuron

Rushworth, M.F., Kolling, N., Sallet, J. and Mars, R.B. (2012) Valuation and decision-making in frontal cortex: one or many serial or parallel systems? Current Opinions in Neurobiology

Nils Kolling, T.E. Behrens, R.B. Mars & M.F. Rushworth: Neural Mechanisms of Foraging. Science

Hunt LT, Kolling N, Soltani A, Woolrich MW, Rushworth MF, Behrens TE.: Mechanisms underlying cortical activity during value-guided choice. Nature Neuroscience

MP Noonan, N Kolling, ME Walton and MFS Rushworth: Re-evaluating the role of orbitofrontal cortex in reward and reinforcement. European Journal of Neuroscience

Rogier B. Mars, Nicholas J. Shea, Nils Kolling, and Matthew F.S. Rushworth: Model-based analyses: Promises, pitfalls, and example applications to the study of cognitive control. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology


Walking, Reading, Cycling, Cooking and Movies.