Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Kahnt Laboratory

About Our Lab

We study the neural systems that support learning, decision making, and olfaction in humans. Our primary experimental techniques are olfactory psychophysics, neuroimaging, and non-invasive brain stimulation. We use computational modeling and pattern-based analysis techniques to link behavioral and neural data. Our research seeks to advance our understanding of decision making and its disruption in neuropsychiatric conditions, such as addiction, dementia, and obesity. Our work may ultimately lead to novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for these disorders.

Selected Publications

Howard JD, Reynolds R, Smith DE, Voss JL, Schoenbaum G, Kahnt T. Targeted Stimulation of Human Orbitofrontal Networks Disrupts Outcome-Guided BehaviorCurr Biol. 2020 Feb 3; 30(3):490-498

Bhutani S, Howard JD, Reynolds R, Zee PC, Gottfried JA, Kahnt T. Olfactory connectivity mediates sleep-dependent food choices in humans. eLife. 2019 Oct 8; 8:e49053

Howard JD, Kahnt T. Identity prediction errors in the human midbrain update reward-identity expectations in the orbitofrontal cortexNature Communications. 2018 Apr 23; 9:1611

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News & Events

Our work in the news: 

Why skimping on sleep makes your brain crave sweets (Science Magazine, October 17, 2019)

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

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