PhD Opening on decision making and confidence

As of now, I am looking for a motivated PhD student to conduct research in the field of decision making and confidence at KU Leuven. The project will be co-supervised by Prof. Tom Verguts (UGent). The position is for four years , preferably starting October 2020.  => the position has been filled!

PhD opening (Dutch is required)!

As of now, I am looking for a motivated PhD student to conduct research in the field of decision making and decision confidence at KU Leuven. The position is for six years (provided positive periodic evaluation), preferably starting September 2020 or earlier. Applications are welcome until May 31st. The position involves 1/3 of teaching, so candidates should be fluent in Dutch. => the position has been filled!


Starting as a research professor at KU Leuven!

After months of hard work and crossed fingers I can finally share the exciting news: coming October I will be starting as a research professor at the research unit Brain and Cognition at the KU Leuven! I’m super excited about this, and looking very much forward to this next step in my career. At the KU Leuven, I will (try to) unravel how humans learn to evaluate their own decisions (i.e., how human confidence evolves) and how this has implications for cognitive control.

Get in touch with me if you are interested to collaborate on one of these topics – particularly for interested students, there certainly are some opportunities!


New paper in eLife: Confidence predicts speed-accuracy tradeoff for subsequent choices

Desender K, Boldt A, Verguts T & Donner TH. (2019) Confidence Predicts Speed-accuracy Tradeoff for Subsequent Choices. eLife. 8: e43499.

By Kobe Desender & Tobias H Donner.

Humans can provide precise judgments of the accuracy of their choices. When we feel confident in a choice we have just made, the probability is high that it was actually correct. Conversely, when we feel uncertain, the probability of being correct is very low. In recent years, many researchers have examined computational and neural underpinnings of this subjective sense of confidence. A central question for the field is what sense of confidence is good for – in other words, how it is put to use in the brain (Meyniel et al, 2015). Continue reading

Introducing the confidence database

Thanks to huge efforts of Doby Rahnev, a large collection of open data on behavioral tasks using subjective ratings was just made available. The database contains (at current) 145 datasets, and is fully open for everyone to use. I added a couple of my own datasets on subjective difficulty, with the hope that people might find it interestingt to examine whether different types of ratings (confidence, subjective difficulty, etc.) show the same or different dynamics. I think this is a great, ambitious project, that can tremendously speed up model developments! The database itself can be found here, while a paper describing the database can be found on psyarxiv. If you want to help popularizing the database on twitter, here’s Doby tweet about it.


In order to make this page more fun to visit, I added a couple of songs from my band to this website! In my free time, I play keys and guitar in Tales of Taori, and make music together with Mr Oak in Rhubarb, so a bit (more) shameless self-promotion!

One of the ideas I’d like to pursue is to actually make songs about my research, which I think is an enourmous untapped market! Hopefully soon…

A neural marker of confidence predicts information seeking – new paper in Journal of Neuroscience

Awesome news: our paper on the neural markers of confidence and information seeking, with Peter Murphy, Annika Boldt, Tom Verguts and Nick Yeung, has now been in accepted in The Journal of Neuroscience. You can find the paper here! Data collection for this study was done back in 2015 (ages ago, it feels) when I spent three months in Nick Yeung’s lab at Oxford University. Actually, I collected these data in the very last week of my stay there – so the ratio data analysis/writing versus data collection for this project must be about 205:1.

Continue reading

PhD opening!

As of now, we’re looking for motivated students to work on a PhD project entitled “The role of confidence and urgency in deciding to stop sampling information”, together with Elise Lesage and Tom Verguts. We also have a second opening for a project on “A model-based approach to study transfer in decision making and cognitive control“. The positions have been filled, but have a look here :-).