Prof. Dr. Tobias Kalenscher


Research Interest

We make decisions all the time. Sometimes, these decisions are rather mundane, such as whether to have coffee or tea for breakfast, but sometimes our decisions can have very important consequences, such as what career to pursue or how to invest our money. Usually, we are pretty good in making these kind of decisions, but sometimes we make decisions that are not consistent with our actual interests. Such irrational choices violate mathematical models in economics and psychology that prescribe how we should make decisions, but apparently fail to capture the reality of decision making.

Curiously, not only humans behave this way, but many of the behavioral violations of economic principles can be found in animal behavior, too, suggesting that there are evolutionary roots to the way we make decisions. This leads to the idea that the development of economic principles must have taken place at an early level in the course of evolution and served as functions that benefitted the survival of species.

Our research deals with the neural and mental underpinnings of economic choices, and violations of economic principles. We use animal and human models to approach these questions. The comparison of animal and human behaviour allows shedding light on the evolutionary pressures that shaped the decision patterns we observe today. To this end, we apply various behavioural and neuroscientific techniques, including lesion studies, psychopharmacology, tetrode recordings (single unit and local field potentials) and functional magnetic resonance imaging.


Selected Publications

01. Hernandez-Lallement J, van Wingerden M, Kalenscher T (2017) Towards an animal model of callousness. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. [Epub ahead of print] undefinedPubMed

02. Soutschek A, Ruff CC, Strombach T, Kalenscher T, Tobler PN (2016) Brain stimulation reveals crucial role of overcoming self-centeredness in self-control. Science Advances Oct 19;2(10):e1600992. eCollection 2016 Oct. undefinedPubMed

03. Oberließen L, Van Wingerden M, Schäble S, Kalenscher T (2016) Inequity aversion in rats. Anim Behav. 115: 157-166. undefinedScienceDirect

04. Margittai Z, Nave G, Strombach T, Van Wingerden M, Schwabe L, Kalenscher T (2016) Exogenous cortisol causes a shift from deliberative to intuitive thinking. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 64:131-135. undefinedPubMed

05. Hernandez-Lallement J, Van Wingerden M, Schäble S, Kalenscher T (2016) Basolateral amygdala lesions abolish mutual reward preference in rats. Neurobiol Learn Mem. 127: 1-9. undefinedPubMed

06. Seinstra M, Wojtecki L, Storzer L, Schnitzler A, Kalenscher T (2016) No effect of subthalamic deep brain stimulation on intertemporal decision making in Parkinson patients. eNeuro. 3: 1-12. undefinedPubMed

07. Margittai Z, Strombach T, Van Wingerden M, Joels M, Schwabe L, Kalenscher T (2015) A Friend in Need: Time-Dependent Effects of Stress on Social Discounting in Men. Hormones and Behaviour 73:75-82. undefinedPubMed

08. Strombach T, Weber B, Hangebrauk Z, Kenning P, Karipidis, II, Tobler PN, Kalenscher T (2015) Social discounting involves modulation of neural value signals by temporoparietal junction. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 112:1619-1624. undefinedPubMed

09. Crockett MJ, Braams B, Clark L, Tobler PN, Robbins TW, Kalenscher T (2013) Restricting temptations: neural mechanisms of precommitment. Neuron 7:391-401. undefinedPubMed

10. Kalenscher T, Lansink CS, Lankelma JV, Pennartz CMA (2010). Reward-associated gamma oscillations in ventral striatum are regionally differentiated and modulate local firing activity. J Neurophys, 103, 1658-1672. undefinedPubMed

Comparative Psychology

Prof. Dr. Tobias Kalenscher

Comparative Psychology
Institute of Experimental Psychology
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
Universitätsstrasse 1
40225 Düsseldorf
Tel.: +49 211 81-11607
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