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I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research NYC. In this role, I broadly focus on building and evaluating generative AI, inspired by my research in cognitive neuroscience, reinforcement learning, and NeuroAI.  

Specifically, I study how humans and AI build models of the world and use them in memory, exploration, & planning. I build and test brain & behavior inspired algorithms for learning & reasoning, e.g., AI for gaming with Xbox. My approach combines reinforcement learning, neural networks, large language models, & machine learning with behavioral experiments, fMRI, & electrophysiology.

Most Fridays (4 PM ET) I cohost The Learning Salon (with John Krakauer & Melanie Mitchell).

I am delighted to serve as a mentor at the New Museum's New Inc, the incubator for creative science.

If you prefer podcasts, I discuss my work on AI and Rethinking intelligence with Ashley Lorens at the Microsoft Research AI frontiers podcast. Moreover, BrainInspired & Parsing Science have kindly featured earlier work, as well as our panels on Deep RL and Dopamine & Advancing Neuro Deep learning.

Academic Background​

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


Taylor Webb*, Shanka Subra Mondal*, Yi Wan, Brian Krabach, Ida Momennejad (2023) A prefrontal cortex-inspired architecture for planning in Large Language Models.  

[ arXiv ] [ Github ]

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Ida Momennejad*, Hosein Hasanbeig*, Felipe Vieira Frujeri*, Hiteshi Sharma, Robert Ness, Nebojsa Jojic, Hamid Palangi, Jonathan Larson (2023)  Evaluating cognitive maps and planning in Large Language Models with CogEval.
[ arXiv ] [ GitHub ] [ conversation logs ] NeurIPS 2023.

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Ida Momennejad (forthcoming) Memory and Planning in Brains and Machines: Multiscale Predictive Representations.
To appear in Space, Time, and Memory, Edited by Lynn Nadel and Sara Aronovitz, forthcoming book in Oxford University Press. [ arxiv ]


Safoora Yousefi, Leo Betthauser, Hosein Hasanbeig, Raphael Milliere, Ida Momennejad (2023) Decoding In-Context Learning: Neuroscience-inspired Analysis of Representations in Large Language Models. 

arXiv ]


Hosein Hasanbeig, Hiteshi Sharma, Leo Betthauser, Felipe Vieira Frujeri,
Ida Momennejad (2023) ALLURE: Auditing and improving LLM-based evaluation of text using iterative in-context-learning. 

[ arXiv ]


Sugandha Sharma, Guy Davidson, Khimya Khetarpal, Anssi Kanervisto, Udit Arora, Katja Hofmann, Ida Momennejad (2024) Toward Human-AI Alignment in Large-Scale Multi-Player Games. 

arXiv ]


Imitating Human Behavior with Diffusion Models (2023)  Pearce, Rashid, Kanervisto, Bigness, Sun, Georgescu, Mac, Zheng Tan, Momennejad, Hofmann, Devlin. ICLR 2023 [ link ]


Ali Rahimi-Kalahroudi, Janarthanan Rajendran, Ida Momennejad, Harm van Seijen, Sarath Chandar (2023) Replay Buffer With Local Forgetting for Adaptive Deep Model-Based Reinforcement Learning. CoLLAs 2023.

[ arXiv ]


Stephanie Milani, Arthur Juliani, Ida Momennejad, Raluca Georgescu, Jaroslaw Rzpecki, Alison Shaw, Gavin Costello, Fei Fang, Sam Devlin, Katja Hofmann (2023)  Navigates Like Me: Understanding How People Evaluate Human-Like AI in Video Games. ACM CHI (Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems) 2023. arXiv ]

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Ida Momennejad (2022)  A Rubric for Human-like Agents and NeuroAI.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B

[ journal link ]  [ free preprint arXiv ]

Eigen Memory Trees (2022) Mark Rucker, Jordan T. Ash, John Langford, Paul Mineiro, Ida Momennejad

In revision arXiv ]

Social Network Structure Shapes Innovation: Experience-sharing in RL with SAPIENS (2022)  Eleni Nisioti, Mateo Mahaut, Pierre-Yves Oudeyer, Ida Momennejad, Clément Moulin-Frier 

In revision [ arXiv[ Github Repo ]

Interaction-Grounded Learning with Action-inclusive Feedback
(2022) Tengyang Xie, Akanksha Saran, Dylan J. Foster, Lekan Molu, Ida Momennejad, Nan Jiang, Paul Mineiro, John Langford

NeurIPS 2022 [ arXiv  preprint]

Towards Evaluating Adaptivity of Model-Based Reinforcement Learning Methods (2022)  Yi Wan, Ali Rahimi-Kalahroudi, Janarthanan Rajendran, Ida Momennejad, Sarath Chandar, Harm van Seijen [ arXiv ]

ICML 2022

NeuroNav: A Library for Neuroscience Inspired Learning (2022) Julliani, Barnett, Davis, Sereno, Momennejad, RLDM 

[ arXiv ] [ Githib Repo ]

PARSR: Priority Adjusted Replay for Successor Representation (2022)

Barnett, Momennejad, RLDM 2022

Describeland: One-Shot Learning from a Demonstration with Hierarchical Latent Language (2022) Nathaniel Weir, Xingdi Yuan, Marc-Alexandre Cote, Matthew Hausknecht,  Romain Laroche, Ida Momennejad, Harm Van Seijen, Benjamin Van Durme.  AAMAS.

How Humans Perceive Human-like Behavior in Video Game Navigation (2022) Zuniga*, Milani*, Leroy*, Rzepecki, Georgescu, Momennejad, Bignell, Sun, Shaw, Costello, Jacob, Devlin, Hofmann. 
CHI Late Breaking Work, 2022.    

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 , PDF ]

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

Pudhiyidath A, Morton NW, Viveros Duran R, Schapiro AC,  Momennejad I, Hinojosa-Rowland DM, Molitor RJ, Preston AR (2022-accepted) Representations of temporal community structure in hippocampus and precuneus predict inductive reasoning decisions.

The Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience    [ 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
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


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