Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Kahnt Laboratory

About Our Lab

Research in the lab examines the neural and computational principles of reward-guided behavior, with a focus on odor-guided behavior.  We study brain systems involved in reward processing, learning, generalization, and decision-making such as the striatum and the orbitofrontal cortex.  For this, we use a combination of human olfactory psychophysics, computational modeling, fMRI and advanced multivariate analyses techniques borrowed from machine learning.  This research may pave the way for understanding decision-making deficits in neurological diseases and addiction, and should ultimately lead to novel diagnostic markers and treatment strategies for these disorders.

Selected Publications

Howard JD, Kahnt T. Identity-specific reward representations in orbitofrontal cortex are modulated by selective devaluationJournal of Neuroscience 2017 Mar 8; 37(10):2627-2638. PMID: 28159906.

Kahnt T, Tobler PN. Dopamine modulates the functional organization of the orbitofrontal cortexJournal of Neuroscience 2017 Feb 8; 37(6):1493-1504. PMID: 28069917.

Howard JD, Gottfried JA, Tobler PN, Kahnt T. Identity-specific coding of future rewards in the human orbitofrontal cortexProc Natl Acad Sci USA 2015, 112(16):5195-200. PMID: 25848032

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News & Events

Our work in the news: 

Giving Proof (New York Times Magazine, September 14, 2017)

After a Meal, Foods Aren't the Same in the Orbitofrontal Cortex (, June 8, 2017)

Food Odors Are More Enticing to Sleep-Deprived Brains (, April 2, 2017)

Thorsten Kahnt, PhD

Thorsten Kahnt, PhD
Assistant Professor in Neurology - Ken and Ruth Davee Department

For more information, click here to visit our department page.