Dr. Ben Eppinger
Associate Professor, Psychology
I completed my PhD at Saarland University in 2008 and then moved to Princeton University for postdoctoral training (2007-2010). After the time in Princeton I spent two years as a research scientist at the Max-Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin before taking the position of an assistant professor at the Psychology Department at TU Dresden. Since August 2016 I am an associate professor in the Psychology Department at Concordia University and since June 2017 a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in cognitive neuroscience of healthy decision-making in human aging.
The primary goal of my research is to gain a better understanding of the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying changes in learning and decision-making across the human lifespan. My current work focuses on three major research questions:
a) What are the neuro-computational mechanisms underlying learning in uncertain environments and how do these learning processes develop across the human lifespan?
b) How does the ability to select and arbitrate between different learning strategies change as a function of age?
c) How do humans learn from the behavior of other individuals and how does this ability change during lifespan development?
To address these questions I use a multi-methodological approach that combines experimental paradigms, computational modeling and neuroimaging (EEG, fMRI).
Reiter, A. M. F., Suzuki, S., O'Doherty, J. P., Li, S.-C., & Eppinger, B. (in press). Risk contagion by peers affects learning and decision-making in adolescents. JEP: General
Rodriguez-Buritica, J. M., Heekeren, H. R., Li, S.-C., & Eppinger, B. (in press). Developmental differences in the neural dynamics of observational learning. Neuropsychologia
Eppinger, B., Heekeren, H. R., & Li, S.-C. (in press). Adult age and individual differences in intertemporal choice under subjective decision conflict. Cerebral Cortex.
van den Bos,W., Bruckner, R., Nassar, M. R., Mata, R., & Eppinger, B. (in press). Computational Neuroscience across the Lifespan: promises and pitfalls. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.
Eppinger, B., Walter, M., & Li, S.-C. (2017). Electrophysiological correlates reflect the integration of model-based and model-free decision information. Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience.
Nassar, M. R., Bruckner, R., & Eppinger,B. (2016). What do we GANE with age? Behavioral and Brain Sciences (commentary on Mather, M.,Clewett, D., Sasaki M., & Harley C.W.).
Nassar, M. R., Bruckner, R., Gold, J. I., Li, S.-C., Heekeren, H. R.,& Eppinger, B. (2016). Age differences in learning emerge from an insufficient representation of uncertainty in older adults. Nature Communications, 7, 1-13.
van den Bos, W., & Eppinger,B. (2016). Developing developmental cognitive neuroscience: From agenda setting to hypothesis testing. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 17,138-144.
Eppinger, B, Heekeren, HR, Li, S-C (2015) Age-related prefrontal impairments implicate deficient prediction of future reward. Neurobiology of Aging 36:2380-2390.
Eppinger, B., Schuck, N.W., Nystrom, L.E., Cohen, J.D. (2013) Reduced striatal responses to reward prediction errors in older compared to younger adults. Journal of Neuroscience 33:9905-9912.
Haemmerer, D., & Eppinger, B. (2012). Dopaminergic and prefrontal contributions to reward-based learning and outcome monitoring during child development and aging. Developmental Psychology, 48, 862-874.