Main Focus

As humans we face a fundamental challenge. Throughout our lives we experience a relatively small set of events, most of which never recur in exactly the same form and context. Nevertheless, we are equipped with a behavioural repertoire that is adaptive in a large variety of situations. How can we do so well in so many situations we have never experienced before?

Luckily, most of our experiences are interrelated in some way - they may contain the same people, places or events - and often the same cause-effect relationships hold across related experiences. If the brain manages to recognise, extract and store these relationships efficiently, this knowledge can be exploited to infer information about things we have never directly experienced.

I use behavioural experiments, computational modeling and functional magnetic resonance imaging to study how the brain represents relational knowledge and uses this to enable flexible behaviour. I am also interested in how these processes go awry in psychiatric disorders and how behaviour can be changed to increase wellbeing and more sustainable decision-making.

Selected publications

Mona M Garvert, Raymond J Dolan & Timothy EJ Behrens (2017). A map of abstract relational knowledge in the human hippocampal–entorhinal cortex. Elife 6

Helen C Barron*, Mona M Garvert* & Timothy EJ Behrens (2016). Repetition suppression: a means to index neural representations using BOLD? Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 371 (1705), 20150355

Mona M Garvert, Michael Moutoussis, Zeb Kurth-Nelson, Timothy EJ Behrens, Raymond J Dolan (2015) Learning-induced plasticity in medial prefrontal cortex predicts preference malleability Neuron 85 (2), 418-428

Mona M Garvert, Karl J Friston, Raymond J Dolan, Marta I Garrido (2014). Subcortical amygdala pathways enable rapid face processing Neuroimage 102, 309-316

Mona M Garvert & T Gollisch (2013). Local and global contrast adaptation in retinal ganglion cells Neuron 77 (5), 915-928

Curriculum Vitae


University College London, UK
Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD in Neuroscience

Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, Germany
MSc Neuro-cognitive Psychology

Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany & Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon, France
Vordiplom Molecular Medicine


since 2018
MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences Leipzig, Germany
Department of Psychology
Group leader

Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, NTNU Trondheim, Norwegen
Postdoctoral Researcher

since 2017
Max-Planck-Institute for Human Development Berlin, Germany
Max Planck Research Group NeuroCode
Adjunct Researcher

2016 - 2020
University of Oxford, UK
fMRIB, Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging
Postdoctoral Researcher
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