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Nima Khalighinejad


BBSRC Discovery Fellow

Cognitive neuroscience of voluntary action and decision-making

When performing a voluntary action, one has to decide not only which action to choose but whether, at any given point in time, it is worth taking any action as opposed to doing nothing at all, given the potential benefits of acting in a particular environment.  My aim is to understand how the environmental context influences the willingness to initiate a volitional action and how it exerts this influence via brain circuits.  Understanding such process are important because impairments in decisions about if and when to act are observed across a wide range of brain disorders such as apathy and impulsivity.

To answer this question, I design behavioural paradigms in which humans and/or non-human primates (NHPs) make decisions about when it is worth acting. While humans/NHPs are performing the task, I record their brain activity with electroencephalogram (EEG) or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). I then use non-invasive brain stimulation methods such as transcranial ultrasound (TUS) to identify the causal relationship between the brain activity and behaviour.

I studied medicine at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. I then moved to London to do an MSc in Neuroscience at UCL followed by a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience. After receiving my PhD in 2017 I moved to Oxford. I have since been working at the department of Experimental Psychology and the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (WIN).


  • Module leader, Behavioural Neuroscience Core Practical.

Other duties:

  • Member of the organising committee, Behavioural and Cognitive Neuroscience (BEACON) seminar series.
  • ECR representative, Career Development, Athena SWAN Committee.

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Recent publications

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