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Read Montague, Ph.D.

Read Montague, Ph.D.

Virginia Tech Carilion Vernon Mountcastle Research Professor
Director, Center for Human Neuroscience Research

Read Montague, Ph.D. headshot

“People take drugs to manipulate their serotonin when they have such low levels. Now, we can measure a point every 100 milliseconds. It’s a completely different ball game in terms of the time regime that we’re in and the implications for understanding human behavior.”

Decoding the neurobiology of decision-making, learning, and valuation

How can science explain free will? Where do our values come from? 

Dr. Montague’s research focuses on computational neuroscience: the connection between physical mechanisms present in real neural tissue and the computational functions that these mechanisms embody. His early theoretical work focused on the hypothesis that dopaminergic systems encode a particular kind of computational process, a reward prediction error signal, similar to those used in areas of artificial intelligence like optimal control. The Montague Lab uses theoretical, computational, and experimental approaches to the problems of mental health and its derangement by disease and injury. They recently pioneered new approaches to measure sub-second fluctuations in dopamine and serotonin levels in the striatum of conscious human subjects.

Over the past decade, he was a member of the MacArthur Foundation Network on Neuroscience and Law with a particular interest in the mental states project(s). Work in the laboratory is supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, The Kane Family Foundation, Autism Speaks, The MacArthur Foundation, The Dana Foundation, and The Wellcome Trust.

  • Virginia Tech Carilion Vernon Mountcastle Research Professor, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC
  • Director, Center for Human Neuroscience Research
  • Professor, Department of Physics, College of Science
  • Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, School of Medicine

Hula, A., Moutoussis, M., Will, G.-J., Kokorikou, D., Reiter, A., Ziegler, G., NSPN Consortium, Bullmore, E., Jones, P., Goodyer, I., Fonagy, P., Montague, P. R., & Dolan, R. J. (2020). Multi-Round Trust Game Quantifies Inter-Individual Differences in Social Exchange from Adolescence to AdulthoodPsyArXiv Preprints, 1-20. [PDF Download]

Euler S, Nolte T, Constantinou M, Griem J, Montague PR, Fonagy P. (2019). Interpersonal Problems in Borderline Personality Disorder: Associations with Mentalizing, Emotion Regulation, and Impulsiveness. Journal of Personality Disorders : 1-17.

Luo Y, Hétu S, Lohrenz T, Hula A, Dayan P, Ramey SL, Sonnier-Netto L, Lisinski J, LaConte S, Nolte T, Fonagy P, Rahmani E, Montague PR, Ramey C. (2018). Early childhood investment impacts social decision-making four decades later. Nature Communications 9(1): 4705.

Hula A, Vilares I, Dayan P, Montague PR. (2018). A Model of Risk and Mental State Shifts During Social Interaction. PLOS Computational Biology 14(2): e1005935.



Baylor College of Medicine
Brown Foundation Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry
Director, Human Neuroimaging Lab
Director, Computational Psychiatry Unit

  • The Salk Institute: Postdoctoral fellowship
  • Rockefeller University: Postdoctoral fellowship
  • University of Alabama Birmingham: Ph.D., Biophysics
  • William R. and Irene D. Miller Lectureship, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 2011–2012
  • Network Member, The MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience, 2011-2015
  • Walter Gilbert Award, Auburn University, 2011
  • Welcome Trust Principal Research Fellowship, 2011-2018
  • Kavli Fellow, U.S.-China Frontiers of Science, National Academy of Science, 2010
  • Member, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ., 2005–2006
  • Michael E. DeBakey Excellence in Research Award, 1997, 2005

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