Anita Tusche


Department of Psychology

PhD: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin, Germany, 2013
M.A. Technische Universität Dresden, Germany, 2007
B.Sc. Technische Universität Dresden, Germany, 2004

Lab Site

Curriculum Vitae [PDF]

Research Interests

Our lab is interested in the processes that drive variance in human decision-making across people, context and time. Here are four primary questions of our research program:

  • Human beings are inherently social and a considerable part of our thoughts, decisions, and behaviour concerns the people around us. What processes explain our remarkable ability to understand others (e.g. empathy) and how does it shape choices that involve other people (e.g. strategic or altruistic behaviour)?
  • In complex and constantly changing environments, we are faced with countless decisions and choice settings. Specialized neural codes for all possible types of scenarios seem inefficient. What choice model accounts for commonalities and differences across choice domains (i.e. dietary vs. altruistic vs. investing behaviour)?
  • How can we increase ‘good’ decisions that yield long-term benefits for the decision-maker and/or society at large (e.g. eat healthier, save for retirement, be kinder, consumer choices that are environmentally friendly)?
  • What is the specific role of attention for guiding people’s behaviour and how does it affect the processes in the brain?

To address these questions, I draw on methods and insights from different disciplines, including psychology, neuroscience (especially fMRI), computational modelling (e.g. multivariate decoding techniques of brain data or drift-diffusion models), and behavioral economics (in a newly emerging field called neuroeconomics).

Selected Publications

Tusche, A. & Hutcherson, C. (2018). Cognitive regulation alters social and dietary choice by changing attribute representations in domain-general and domain-specific brain circuits. eLife, e31185.

Boeckler, A., Tusche, A., Peter Schmidt, & Singer, T. (2018). Distinct mental trainings differentially affect altruistically motivated, norm motivated, and self-reported prosocial behaviour. Scientific Reports, 8(1): 13560.

Adolphs, R. & Tusche, A. (2017). How attention to faces guides prosocial behavior. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 26(3): 282-287.

Schmidt, L., Tusche, A., Manoharan, N., Hutcherson, C., Hare, T. & Plassmann, H. (2018) Neuroanatomy of the vmPFC and dlPFC predicts individual differences in cognitive regulation during dietary self-control across regulation strategies. Journal of Neuroscience, 3402-17.

Tusche, A., Boeckler, A., Kanske, P., Trautwein, F.-M. & Singer, T. (2016). Decoding the charitable brain: Empathy, perspective taking, and attention shifts differentially predict altruistic giving. The Journal of Neuroscience, 36(17): 4719-4732.

Corradi-Dell’Acqua, C.*, Tusche, A.*, Vuilleumier, P. & Singer, T. (2016). Cross-modal representations of first-hand and vicarious pain, disgust and fairness in insular and cingulate cortex. Nature Communications, 7: 10904. * AUTHORS EQUALLY CONTRIBUTED TO THE STUDY, SHARED FIRST-AUTHORSHIP

Singer, T., & Tusche, A. (2013). Understanding others: Brain mechanisms of theory of mind and empathy. In P. W. Glimcher, & E. Fehr (Eds.), Neuroeconomics: Decision making and the brain (2nd ed., pp. 513-532). London, UK: Academic Press

Tusche, A., Bode, S. & Haynes, J.-D. (2010). Neural responses to unattended products predict later consumer choices. The Journal of Neuroscience, 30(23): 8024-8031.