Tor Tarantola


I study reinforcement learning, value-based decision-making, and social cognition. I am especially interested in how these processes contribute to moral judgments, in particular how people decide to punish others for violating social norms. I use methods from experimental psychology, behavioral economics, computational modeling, and cognitive neuroscience to explore how intentional and causal information are integrated in moral contexts.

I am also interested in how these processes differ in populations with certain clinical conditions such as psychopathy, as well as their implications for legal policies concerning criminal culpability and sentencing.

Research Focus


Reinforcement learning

Value-based choice

Social cognition


Moral judgment

Clinical conditions


Personality disorders

Psychopathy and related disorders


Behavioural analysis

Computational modelling

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)



Mike Aitken

Benedetto De Martino

Omar David PĂ©rez

United Kingdom

Peter Dayan Web:

Dharshan Kumaran Web:


Dan Kahan Web:

Associated News Items

    Key publications

    Tarantola T, Kumaran D, Dayan P, De Martino B (2017), “Prior preferences beneficially influence social and non-social learning” Nature Communications 8(817)

    Kahan DM, Jenkins-Smith HC, Tarantola T, Silva CL, Braman D (2015), “Geoengineering and climate change polarization: Testing a two-channel model of science communication.” Ann Am Acad Polit Soc Sci 658, 192-222