Dr Fabian Grabenhorst

Fabian Grabenhorst

University position

University Lecturer and Sir Henry Dale Fellow

Dr Fabian Grabenhorst is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience


Metabolic Research Laboratories



Home page


Research Themes

Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience

Systems and Computational Neuroscience


Our research focuses on the neural mechanisms of reward, decision-making and social cognition. In particular, we study the functions of neurons in the amygdala, a key component of the brain's reward system that is implicated in such diverse conditions as depression, autism, and obesity. Our recent data indicate that beyond simple reward processing, amygdala neurons participate in sophisticated behaviours including economic decision-making, observational learning and simulating the decisions of social partners.

Research Focus





Social cognition


Clinical conditions



Depressive disorders

Eating disorders



Behavioural analysis

Computational modelling

Electrophysiological recording techniques

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)



Sadaf Farooqi

Paul Fletcher

Wolfram Schultz


Gustavo Deco

Associated News Items

Key publications

Huang F-Y, Sutcliffe MPF, Grabenhorst F (2021), “Preferences for nutrients and sensory food qualities identify biological sources of economic values in monkeys” Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 118

Grabenhorst F, Tsutsui K, Kobayashi S, Schultz W (2019), “Primate prefrontal neurons signal economic risk derived from the statistics of recent reward experience” eLife

Grabenhorst, F, Báez-Mendoza, R, Genest, W, Deco, G, Schultz, W. (2019), “Primate amygdala neurons simulate decision processes of social partners” Cell

Rosenthal-von der Pütten AM, Krämer NC, Maderwald S, Brand M, Grabenhorst F (2019), “Neural Mechanisms for Accepting and Rejecting Artificial Social Partners in the Uncanny Valley” Journal of Neuroscience

Grabenhorst F*, Hernadi I*, Schultz W. (2016), “Amygdala neurons evaluate the progress of self-defined economic choice sequences.” Elife Oct 12;5. pii: e18731. doi: 10.7554/eLife.18731.

Tsutsui K*, Grabenhorst F*, Kobayashi S, Schultz W. *Equal contributions (2016), “A dynamic code for economic object valuation in prefrontal cortex neurons” Nature Communications Sep 13;7:12554. doi: 10.1038/ncomms12554.

Zangemeister L, Grabenhorst F, Schultz W. (2016), “Neural Basis for Economic Saving Strategies in Human Amygdala-Prefrontal Reward Circuits” Curren Biology Nov 21;26(22):3004-3013. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.09.016.

Hernádi I, Grabenhorst F, Schultz W (2015), “Planning activity for internally generated reward goals in monkey amygdala neurons.” Nat Neurosci 18(3):461-469 Details

Grabenhorst F (in press), “Brain systems for the pleasure of food and other primary rewards” Anhedonia: A Comprehensive Handbook Volume I (ed. M. Ritsner) (Springer)

Grabenhorst F, Rolls ET (2013), “The representation of oral fat texture in the human somatosensory cortex.” Hum Brain Mapp Details

Grabenhorst F, Schulte FP, Maderwald S, Brand M (2013), “Food labels promote healthy choices by a decision bias in the amygdala.” Neuroimage 74:152-63 Details

Grabenhorst F, Hernádi I, Schultz W (2012), “Prediction of economic choice by primate amygdala neurons.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A Details

Grabenhorst F, Rolls ET (2011), “Value, pleasure and choice in the ventral prefrontal cortex.” Trends Cogn Sci 15(2):56-67 Details

Grabenhorst F, Rolls ET, Margot C (2011), “A hedonically complex odor mixture produces an attentional capture effect in the brain.” Neuroimage 55(2):832-43 Details

Grabenhorst F, D'Souza AA, Parris BA, Rolls ET, Passingham RE (2010), “A common neural scale for the subjective pleasantness of different primary rewards.” Neuroimage 51(3):1265-74 Details

Grabenhorst F, Rolls ET, Parris BA, d'Souza AA (2010), “How the brain represents the reward value of fat in the mouth.” Cereb Cortex 20(5):1082-91 Details

Grabenhorst F, Rolls ET, Bilderbeck A (2008), “How cognition modulates affective responses to taste and flavor: top-down influences on the orbitofrontal and pregenual cingulate cortices.” Cereb Cortex 18(7):1549-59 Details

Grabenhorst F, Rolls ET, Margot C, da Silva MA, Velazco MI (2007), “How pleasant and unpleasant stimuli combine in different brain regions: odor mixtures.” J Neurosci 27(49):13532-40 Details



Luo Q, Ge T, Grabenhorst F, Feng J, Rolls ET (2013), “Attention-dependent modulation of cortical taste circuits revealed by granger causality with signal-dependent noise.” PLoS Comput Biol 9(10):e1003265 Details


Ge T, Feng J, Grabenhorst F, Rolls ET (2012), “Componential Granger causality, and its application to identifying the source and mechanisms of the top-down biased activation that controls attention to affective vs sensory processing.” Neuroimage 59(2):1846-58 Details


Grabenhorst F, Rolls ET (2010), “Attentional modulation of affective versus sensory processing: functional connectivity and a top-down biased activation theory of selective attention.” J Neurophysiol 104(3):1649-60 Details

Rolls ET, Grabenhorst F, Deco G (2010), “Decision-making, errors, and confidence in the brain.” J Neurophysiol 104(5):2359-74 Details

Rolls ET, Grabenhorst F, Deco G (2010), “Choice, difficulty, and confidence in the brain.” Neuroimage 53(2):694-706 Details

Rolls ET, Grabenhorst F, Parris BA (2010), “Neural systems underlying decisions about affective odors.” J Cogn Neurosci 22(5):1069-82 Details


Grabenhorst F, Rolls ET (2009), “Different representations of relative and absolute subjective value in the human brain.” Neuroimage 48(1):258-68 Details

Rolls ET, Grabenhorst F, Franco L (2009), “Prediction of subjective affective state from brain activations.” J Neurophysiol 101(3):1294-308 Details


Grabenhorst F, Rolls ET (2008), “Selective attention to affective value alters how the brain processes taste stimuli.” Eur J Neurosci 27(3):723-9 Details

Grabenhorst F, Rolls ET, Parris BA (2008), “From affective value to decision-making in the prefrontal cortex.” Eur J Neurosci 28(9):1930-9 Details

Rolls ET, Grabenhorst F (2008), “The orbitofrontal cortex and beyond: from affect to decision-making.” Prog Neurobiol 86(3):216-44 Details

Rolls ET, Grabenhorst F, Margot C, da Silva MA, Velazco MI (2008), “Selective attention to affective value alters how the brain processes olfactory stimuli.” J Cogn Neurosci 20(10):1815-26 Details

Rolls ET, Grabenhorst F, Parris BA (2008), “Warm pleasant feelings in the brain.” Neuroimage 41(4):1504-13 Details


Brand M, Grabenhorst F, Starcke K, Vandekerckhove MM, Markowitsch HJ (2007), “Role of the amygdala in decisions under ambiguity and decisions under risk: evidence from patients with Urbach-Wiethe disease.” Neuropsychologia 45(6):1305-17 Details

Brand M, Recknor EC, Grabenhorst F, Bechara A (2007), “Decisions under ambiguity and decisions under risk: correlations with executive functions and comparisons of two different gambling tasks with implicit and explicit rules.” J Clin Exp Neuropsychol 29(1):86-99 Details

Guest S, Grabenhorst F, Essick G, Chen Y, Young M, McGlone F, de Araujo I, Rolls ET (2007), “Human cortical representation of oral temperature.” Physiol Behav 92(5):975-84 Details

Kalbe E, Grabenhorst F, Brand M, Kessler J, Hilker R, Markowitsch HJ (2007), “Elevated emotional reactivity in affective but not cognitive components of theory of mind: a psychophysiological study.” J Neuropsychol 1(Pt 1):27-38 Details