Iris M Donga Vilares

Photo of Iris M Donga Vilares

Contact Me

S251 Elliott Hall

75 E River Rd


My research investigates how humans make decisions, and how these differ in people with psychiatric and neurological diseases. To analyze this, I combine tools from cognitive neuroscience with neuroeconomics and computational models. One topic of particular focus is decision-making under uncertainty. I research this both at an individual/perceptual level (how do people combine uncertain prior and current information in a sensorimotor task) and at a social level (trusting others in the face of social uncertainty). Furthermore, I look at how these processes are represented in the brain. Computational models are then used to explain the resulting behaviors, and to offer a principled understanding of decision-making in health and disease.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • PhD: Neuroscience, Northwestern University / Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Chicago IL/ Lisbon Portugal, Dec 2013.
  • MSc: Mathematics Applied to the Biological Sciences, Technical University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal, 2008.
  • BSc/Licenciatura: Biology, University of Lisbon, Portugal, 2005.


  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Decision-making
  • Neuroeconomics
  • Functional neuroimaging
  • Computational Psychiatry
Courses Taught
  • Psy5993 Directed Research
  • Introduction to Cognitive Psychology (starting Spring 2019)
  • Hula A, Vilares I, Dayan P and Montague PR (2018). A model of risk and mental state shifts during social interaction. PLoS Computational Biology 14(2): e1005935.
  • Vilares I and Kording KP (2017). Dopaminergic medication increases reliance on current information in Parkinson’s Disease. Nature Human Behaviour. 1.8: 0129
  • Vilares I*, Wesley M*, Ahn W, Bonnie R, Hoffman M, Jones O, Morse S, Yaffe G, Lohrenz T, and Montague PR (2017). Predicting the knowledge-recklessness distinction in the human brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114(12):3222 -3227
  • Fernandes HL, Stevenson IH, Vilares I, and Kording KP (2014). The generalization of prior uncertainty during reaching. The Journal of Neuroscience 34(45):11470-11484.
  • Mahte P, Vilares I, Stibb S, Albert M, Pickering L, Marcianak C, Kording KP, and Toledo S (2013). Wii Fit Balance Board playing improves balance and gait in Parkinson’s disease. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 5(9):769-777.
  • Vilares I, Howard JD, Fernandes HL, Gottfried JA, and Kording KP (2012). Differential representations of prior and likelihood uncertainty in the human brain. Current Biology 22(18):1641-1648.
  • Vilares I and Kording KP (2011). Bayesian models: The structure of the world, uncertainty, behavior, and the brain. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1224:22-39
  • Vilares I, Dam G and Kording KP (2011). Trust Games: Are money and effort equivalent? PLoS ONE 6(2): e17113.