About Jesus College/Our community/ People
Professor Fabian Grabenhorst

Roles and subjects

Fellow and Tutor in Experimental Psychology



Academic Background

I studied Psychology at the University of Bielefeld in Germany, followed by a DPhil in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. I then performed post-doctoral work in neurophysiology at the University of Cambridge, where I also held a Junior Research Fellowship (Selwyn College). As a Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale Fellow and University Lecturer, I started a research group at Cambridge to investigate the neurophysiology of reward and decision-making. In 2021, I re-joined Oxford as Associate Professor at the Department of Experimental Psychology and Tutorial Fellow of Jesus College.

Undergraduate Teaching

Experimental psychology, neuroscience

Research Interests

We investigate how neurons in the brain’s reward system process information about the sensory and nutrient components of foods to guide decision-making and behaviour. We also investigate how these neurons respond to social partners during social interactions and learn to predict the partner’s choices. We are particularly interested in the amygdala, a collection of cells located deep in the brain’s temporal lobe that is implicated in human conditions afflicting social cognition and mental health. To investigate these themes, we use single-neuron recordings, functional neuroimaging, and computational modelling, always combined with behavioural experiments.

Selected Publications

  1. Preferences for nutrients and sensory food qualities identify biological sources of economic values in monkeys. Huang, F.-Y., Sutcliffe, M.P.F. & Grabenhorst, F. (2021) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U S A, 118.
  2. Primate amygdala neurons simulate decision processes of social partners. Grabenhorst, F., Baez-Mendoza, R., Genest, W.A.M., Deco, G. & Schultz, W. (2019) Cell, 177, 986-998.
  3. Neural Mechanisms for accepting and rejecting artificial social partners in the Uncanny Valley. Rosenthal-von der Pütten, A. Krämer, C.C., Maderwald, S., Brand, M. & Grabenhorst, F. (2019) Journal of Neuroscience, 39, 6555-6570.
  4. Primate prefrontal neurons signal economic risk derived from the statistics of recent reward experience. Grabenhorst, F., Tsutsui, K.I., Kobayashi, S. & Schultz, W. (2019) eLife, 25.
  5. The representation of oral fat texture in the human somatosensory cortex. Grabenhorst., F. & Rolls, E.T. (2014) Human Brain Mapping, 35, 2521-2530.
  6. Prediction of economic choice by primate amygdala neurons. Grabenhorst, F., Hernadi, I. & Schultz, W. (2012) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U S A, 109, 18950-18955.


Subject notes for courses taught at Jesus College:

See also the Department of Experimental Psychology website, and Professor Grabenhorst’s departmental webpage and research group.