I'm a Principal Researcher in Reinforcement Learning at Microsoft Research NYC.  

Every Friday (4 PM ET) I cohost The Learning Salon (with Joshua Vogelstein and John Krakauer).

If you prefer podcasts, BrainInspired & Parsing Science have kindly featured my work.

BrainInspired also featured podcasts of our panels on Deep RL and Dopamine & Advancing Neuro Deep learning.


I study how we build models of the world and use them in memory, exploration, & planning.

I build and test neurally plausible algorithms for learning the structure of the environment. My approach combines reinforcement learning, neural networks, & machine learning with behavioral experiments, fMRI, & electrophysiology.

My training is in cognitive computational neuroscience (via computer science and philosophy). I've previously worked at Columbia University, Electrophysiology, Memory, and Navigation Lab, did my postdoc at Princeton (where I collaborated with Ken NormanMatt BotvinickJon CohenNathaniel Daw), my PhD was in psychology (Berlin, Germany, Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience), BSc in software engineering (Tehran, Iran), & MSc in Philosophy of Science (Utrecht, Netherlands). 

Publications & preprints


Momennejad I (2021) Collective Minds: Social Network Topology Shapes Collective Cognition. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 377 (1843): 20200315.
[ PhilTrans ]

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Brunec I,  Momennejad I (2021) Predictive Representations in Hippocampal and Prefrontal Hierarchies. Journal of Neuroscience 19 November 2021, JN-RM-1327-21.
[ JNeuro Link ] 


Pudhiyidath A, Morton NW, Viveros Duran R, Schapiro AC,  Momennejad I, Hinojosa-Rowland DM, Molitor RJ, Preston AR (2021) Representations of temporal community structure in hippocampus and precuneus predict inductive reasoning decisions.
[ bioRxiv

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Momennejad I*, Krakauer J*, Sun C, Yezeretz E, Rajan K, Vogelstein J, Wyble B (2021) The Learning Salon: Toward a new participatory science. Neuron. 
[ Neuron linkPDF ]


Vlasceanu M, Dudik M, Momennejad I (2021) Network Structure, Gender Diversity, and Interdisciplinarity Predict the Centrality of AI Organizations.
[ psyRxiv PDF ]


Russek EM, Momennejad I, Botvinick M, Gershman S, Daw N (2021) Neural evidence for the successor representation in choice evaluation.
[ bioRxiv PDF

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Xie T, Lanford J, Mineiro P, Momennejad I (2021) Interaction Grounded Learning. ICML 2021. [ arXiv PDF ]

Devlin S*, Georgescu R*, Momennejad I*, Rzepecki J*, Zuniga E*, Costello G, Leroy G, Shaw A, Hofmann K (2021) Navigation Turing Test (NTT): Learning to Evaluate Human-Like Navigation. ICML 2021. [ arXiv PDF

Momennejad I (2020) Learning Structures: Predictive Representations, Replay, and Generalization. Current Opinions in Behavioral sciences.

[  PDF]

Brunec I, Momennejad I (2019) Predictive Representations in Hippocampal and Prefrontal Hierarchies.
bioRxiv preprint ]


Sievers B, Momennejad I (2019) SAMPL: Spreading Activation and Memory Plasticity Model.
bioRxiv preprint , Model Code on GitHub ]


Momennejad I, Sinclair S, Cikara M (2019) Computational justice: Simulating structural bias and interventions.
bioRxiv preprint 04/21/2019: python workshop ]


Zorowitz S, Momennejad I, Daw N (2020) Anxiety, avoidance, and sequential evaluation. Computational Psychiatry, 0 0:0, February, 1–17.
[ Link to published paper , see 2019 bioRxiv preprint ]


Momennejad I, Duker A, Coman A (2019) Bridge ties bind collective memories. Nature Communications. 
[ Open access paper , 
Podcast ]


Momennejad I, Norman KA, Cohen JD, Singh S, Lewis RL (2019). Rational use of Episodic and Working Memory: A Normative Account of Prospective Memory. BioRxiv, 580324 https://doi.org/10.1101/580324.
bioRxiv preprint, SfN poster ]


Momennejad I, Howard M (2018) Predicting the future with multi-scale successor representations.
bioRxiv preprint, status: in revision ]


Momennejad I, Otto RA, Daw N, Norman KA (2018) Offline replay supports planning in human reinforcement learning. eLife 2018;7:e32548. 

eLife link, Talk at CCN 2017 , PDF,  open access dataset]


Russek E*, Momennejad I*,  Botvinick MM, Gershman SJ, Daw N (2017) Predictive representations can link model-based reinforcement learning to model-free mechanisms. Plos Comp Biol.
Journal linkPDFbioRxiv preprint,  CODE ]


Momennejad I*, Russek E*, Cheong JH, Botvinick MM, Daw N, Gershman SJ (2017) The successor representation in human reinforcement learning: evidence from retrospective revaluation. Nature Human Behaviour, 1. [ Nat Hum Beh paper , PDFfree preprint , my python tutorials comparing SR & SR-Dyna,  blogpost from Deepmind 


Coman A, Momennejad I, Drach R, Geana A (2016) Mnemonic convergence in social networks: The emergent properties of cognition at a collective level. PNAS. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1525569113.
Journal link ,
Podcast ]


Wisniewsky D, Reverberi C, Momennejad I, Kahnt T, Haynes J-D (2016) The role of parietal cortex in the representation of task-reward-association. The Journal of Neuroscience. [ Journal link ] 


Haynes J-D, Wisniewsky D, Gorgen K, Momennejad I, Reverberi C (2015) fMRI decoding of intentions: compositionality, hierarchy, and prospective memory. Brain-Computer Interface (BCI), 3rd International Winter Conference. doi: 10.1109/IWW-BCI.2015.7073031. [ IEEE link ]


Momennejad I, Haynes J-D (2013) Encoding of prospective tasks in the human prefrontal cortex under varying task load. The Journal of Neuroscience 33(44):17342-17349. [ Journal link + PDF file ]


Momennejad I, Haynes J-D (2012) Human anterior prefrontal cortex encodes the 'what' and 'when' of future intentions. Neuroimage 61(1):139-48.

Journal link + PDF file ]


Recent Teaching

Sample Talks and Workshops (April-September 2019)

April 21, 1-5 PM: Computational Justice Workshop (hands-on agent-based simulation in Python), Heart of the Machine series, Pioneerworks, Brooklyn, NY

May 13-14: Context and Episodic Memory (CEMS), Philadelphia, PA


May 16-18: Control Processes 2019, Brown University, Providence, RI

May 28-29: Talk and visit, Computational Neuroscience Center, University of Washington, Seatle, WA

July 10, 1-5PMStructure for Efficient Reinforcement Learning (SERL) Workshop
4th Multidisciplinary Conference on Reinforcement Learning and Decision Making (RLDM), Montreal, Canada

August 8-17: "Cognitive Maps" at MIND19 summer school for computational methods in neuroscience at Dartmouth

September 10-13: What is biological Computation? Santa Fe Institute

Book chapters 

  • Momennejad I, Allahyari M (2017) Refiguring: in Conversation. Futureproof, Haverford College, Haverford, PA, pp 16-31.

  • Momennejad I (2011) Thinking in movements, rehearsing freedom. In: Wagner L and Gomes-Carrillo de Castro Eds., Sounds, Space, Body, a process. Ernst Schering Foundation and Association of Neuroesthetics: Berlin, pp:115-125.

  • Momennejad I (2011) Seeing with eyes closed: the neuro-epistemology of perceptual reality. In: Agudio E and Franke I Eds., Seeing with eyes closed. Association of Neuroesthetics: Berlin, pp:15-21.

  • Momennejad I and Franke I (2011) Two practices of seeing with eyes closed: contemporary art and science in dialogue. In: Agudio E and Franke I Eds., Seeing with eyes closed. Association of Neuroesthetics: Berlin, pp:9-13.



Media: Talks, outreach, press