Ajua Duker and I were interviewed in this podcast about our recent paper:

Upcoming talks/workshops:

Nov  7: Talk at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Nov 19: Talk at Georgetown University 

Dec  6:  Talk & workshop at Harvard University

Dec 13: Talk at NeurIPS, Biological and Artificial Reinforcement Learning Workshop


I'm a cognitive computational neuroscientist at Columbia University, Electrophysiology, Memory, and Navigation Lab

Previously I was a postdoc at Princeton Neuroscience Institute (with Ken NormanMatt Botvinick, Jon Cohen, Nathaniel Daw).  I got my doctoral degree in Berlin, Germany (with John-Dylan Haynes), BSc in software engineering from Tehran, Iran, and MSc in History and Philosophy of Science from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. 

I study how learning and representing relational structures underlie memory & planning. 

I show that learning multi-scale predictive representations that are updated via memory replay supports cognitive maps, abstraction, hierarchical planning, etc. I use behavioral experiments, computational modeling (reinforcement learning & neural networks), machine learning, fMRI, and electrophysiology.  

In another line of research, I use graph theory, modeling, multi-subject experiments, and multi-agent simulations to study how conversational networks shape collective memory and collective behavior


Publications and preprints


  • 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 (2019) Anxiety, avoidance, and sequential evaluation.
    bioRxiv preprint ]

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

  • 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 preprintalso see 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 ,   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 link,  bioRxiv 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 revaluationNature Human Behaviour, 1.
    [ Nat Hum Beh paper , free 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.
    PDF link + PDF file ]


  • 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. [ PDF 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. [ PDF 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. [ PDF link + PDF file

Open access code and datasets



Working manuscripts


  • Russek E, Momennejad I,  Botvinick MM, Gershman SJ, Daw N (in prep) Predictive representations in human prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. 

  • Momennejad I*, Tomov M*, Norman KA, Cohen JD (in prep) The strategic allocation of working memory and episodic memory in cognitive control: A neural network model of prospective memory. [ poster PDF file ]

  • Momennejad I, Cohen JD, Norman KA (in prep) MVPA evidence of episodic future simulation predicts goal-directed behavior in prospective memory. [ Ask me about it! ]

  • Momennejad I, Reverberi C, Haynes J-D (in prep) Sequence effects: Task similarity facilitation and dissimilarity costs in the planning and execution of task sequences. [ poster PDF file ]


Recent Teaching

Recent Talks and Workshops (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, 1-5PM: Structure for Efficient Reinforcement Learning (SERL) Workshop

Full Program:
4th Multidisciplinary Conference on Reinforcement Learning and Decision Making (RLDM), Montreal, Canada

August 8-17: "Cognitive Maps" at MIND 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






ida.m [at]