Postdoctoral fellows

Although the lab does not currently have vacant grant-funded postdoc slots, Dr. McGuire is happy to chat informally with prospective postdocs about potential future openings (email jtmcg@bu.edu). Active research themes in the lab include (1) computational modeling of decision processes and (2) neuroimaging studies of decision-related brain systems in PFC, striatum, and MTL.

In addition, there are two internal programs at Boston University that offer postdoctoral funding on a competitive basis. Please get in touch if you would be interested in applying to work with the lab through either of the following programs.

  • The College of Arts & Sciences Society of Fellows provides 2–3 years of funding and professional development support for postdoctoral scholars. The program emphasizes interdisciplinary research, teaching, and advancing the inclusivity and diversity of the academic community. Applications for the upcoming cycle are due October 16, 2023 for a start date of September 1, 2024.
  • The Center for Systems Neuroscience Fellows program aims to bring postdocs to BU who will contribute to the development and use of new methodological approaches, including computational and neuroimaging techniques. In past years, the program’s call for applications has typically been released in mid-January.

Prospective Ph.D. students

The lab is primarily affiliated with the Brain, Behavior, and Cognition track of the Psychology graduate program (applications due annually on Dec. 1). We also work with students in the Graduate Program for Neuroscience (applications due annually on Dec. 15).

If you are interested in applying to work with the lab, please feel welcome to send an email to let Dr. McGuire know to be on the lookout for your application and to ask any questions you might have. Please understand that as a general matter it isn’t feasible to schedule meetings with applicants prior to the review of applications.

Undergraduate research

The lab periodically has openings for undergraduate research assistants. We sometimes have paid positions available; research can also be undertaken through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program or for course credit in the Psychology or Neuroscience major. Interested students should email the following application materials to jtmcg@bu.edu by Dec. 1 for the following Spring semester or Apr. 1 for the following Summer or Fall:

  • Your unofficial academic transcript
  • Your CV or résumé
  • A 1–2 paragraph statement of interest, addressing (1) what aspects of the lab’s work interest you, and (2) any previous experience you might have with research or with computer programming (prior exposure to R, Python, or Matlab is especially relevant, but no experience is required).

If you are a BU student with a work-study financial aid award, please mention it in your email, as we are sometimes able to hire into work-study positions.


Congratulations, Dr. Yixin Chen!

April 10th, 2023 in Announcements.

Congratulations to Yixin Chen on a successful Ph.D. thesis defense!!

New paper by Bakst & McGuire on context-appropriate learning

November 22nd, 2022 in Announcements.

Leah Bakst's paper, Experience-driven recalibration of learning from surprising events, is in press at Cognition. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2022.105343

Prospective Ph.D. students

September 21st, 2022 in Uncategorized.

Information for prospective Ph.D. students applying in the 2022–23 admissions cycle can be found on the Opportunities page!

Presentations at RLDM and Cog Sci 2022

August 31st, 2022 in Announcements.

Yixin Chen presented new findings on computational models of voluntary persistence at the Reinforcement Learning and Decision Making and Cognitive Science Society meetings in Summer 2022.

Chen, Y. & McGuire, J.T. (2022, June). RL with temporal representations captures phenotypes of adaptive persistence behavior. Poster at the 5th Multidisciplinary Conference on Reinforcement Learning and Decision Making, June 8–11, Providence, RI.
and Extended Abstract

Chen Y., Fulford, D., & McGuire, J.T. (2022, July). Test-retest reliability of task-based measures of voluntary persistence. Flash Talk at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, July 27–30, Toronto, Canada.
Extended Abstract

Preprint on adaptive learning

March 4th, 2022 in Announcements.

Check out Leah Bakst's preprint presenting eye-tracking evidence for adaptive learning across statistical contexts.

Bakst, L., & McGuire, J.T. (2022). Experience-driven recalibration of learning from surprising events. PsyArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/3rh9a

Poster at OHBM 2020

June 26th, 2020 in Announcements.

The lab presented new findings on vmPFC organization at the virtual meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping.

Individual-specific functional architecture and activation patterns in medial prefrontal cortex.
Claudio Toro-Serey, Yixin Chen, Lauren Sussman, Joseph T. McGuire

Leah Bakst’s talk at VSS 2020

June 26th, 2020 in Announcements.

Leah Bakst presented new findings on brain representations of uncertainty in a talk at the virtual meeting of the Vision Sciences Society:

Dynamic spotlight model recovers the position but not the width of covert spatial attention.
Leah Bakst, Ilona Bloem, Joseph T. McGuire, and Sam Ling

View the talk here!

New paper in Memory & Cognition by Stuart Babcock and colleagues

December 20th, 2019 in Announcements.

Time-conjunctive representations of future events.

New paper in NeuroImage by Claudio Toro-Serey and colleagues

November 10th, 2019 in Announcements.

Spectral partitioning identifies individual heterogeneity in the functional network topography of ventral and anterior medial prefrontal cortex.

New preprint: Eye movements reflect adaptive predictions and predictive precision

July 19th, 2019 in Announcements.

Bakst, L. & McGuire, J.T. (2019). Eye movements reflect adaptive predictions and predictive precision. PsyArXiv preprint. doi:10.31234/osf.io/gh7a5