Rotem Botvinik-Nezer

Ph.D. student | Sagol School of Neuroscience

In 2013 I completed my BSc in psychology and biology with emphasis in neuroscience from Tel Aviv University. I am currently a joint Ph.D. student of Dr. Tom Schonberg and Prof. Yaniv Assaf (http://neuroimaging.tau.ac.il/) in the direct program towards a PhD in the Sagol School of Neuroscience. My research focuses on the neural basis of behavioral change and maintenance. I study the functional and structural neuroplasticity which underlie change of preferences and choice behavior, both in the short and in the long term, with behavioral and neuroimaging tools (mainly fMRI and diffusion MRI). I also study the role memory processes play in value-based decision-making without reinforcements, in collaboration with the lab of Prof. Daphna Shohamy from Columbia University in NYC. My goal is to better understand how preferences are constructed and modified and which structural and functional brain changes reflect these behaviors.

In addition to my empirical research as a graduate student, I am actively involved in promoting the topic of open science and replicability of empirical findings through research and teaching. I co-developed and have been co-teaching a course on these topics for graduate students (“Science: the good, the bad and the ugly”). In addition, I am involved in the managing team of an international project named the Neuroimaging Analysis and Replication Study (www.narps.info/), alongside world-wide leading neuroscientists and economists. The goal of this study is to estimate the variability of neuroimaging results across analysis teams. We collected fMRI data from 108 participants (after exclusions) on two versions of the mixed gambles task. For the data analysis, dozens analysis teams from around the world were given the raw data and nine pre-defined hypotheses regarding specific fMRI activity in specific brain regions, based on previous results with the task. Analysis teams independently and freely analyzed the data to test these nine hypotheses. We are also using prediction markets to estimate peer beliefs about the results.

For more information see NARPS website: www.narps.info/