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Research groups

Ali Mahmoodi

BSc, MSc, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Social and Decision Neuroscience

I obtained my undergraduate and graduate degrees in electrical engineering (control branch). However, to redeem myself, in my master project, I investigated humans’ social decision-making using psychophysics and computational modelling. My PhD then concerned the neural basis of change of mind in social contexts. Our social conformity could be informational (where we conform to increase accuracy) or normative (where we conform to keep a good relationship with others). I spent my PhD time investigating behavioural and neural substrates of these two types of conformity. 

I am interested in understanding “why” the brain operates the way it does in social situations. In one study, using fMRI and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), I investigated how we choose between different individuals in a multidimensional social environment. I studied how we select the most relevant information about people and disregard the currently irrelevant information. Using representational similarity analysis (RSA), I investigated how we structure our social knowledge in this multidimensional environment. In a separate study, I am investigating how we credit different members of a group while all we know about them is the outcome that they achieve while they work in a group. I ponder, do we tend to attribute poor (excellent) outcomes to those we think incompetent (competent)? Using computational modelling and human fMRI, I am investigating how the brain implements an algorithm to learn about individual members of a group working together. 

Upon reading my old profile summary and writing the new one, I realise that I am going through a scientific metamorphosis. But why should I not be?! I also realise that “scientific metamorphosis” is too uncanny a term, but all other alternatives are equally meager.  

As the cofounder and the head of the Rushworth Lab pizza committee (RLPC), I organise pizza evenings in Tinsley building, I order pizza on Deliveroo, and I send passive aggressive reminder emails to people and ask them to pay for their pizza. 

If you have reached this final line, I hope it has occurred to you by now that I like writing! 

Recent publications

More publications