Elsa Fouragnan

School of Psychology

Portland Square • Plymouth PL4 8AA • United Kingdom

Phone +44(0)77 0333 5897 • E-mail

Professional experience

University of Plymouth, UK

UKRI Future Leader Fellow, Decision and Learning Lab

Head of Stimulation Laboratory, Brain Research Imaging Centre

May 2020 – Present (Lecturer from 2018 – 2020)

University of Oxford, UK

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 

Advisor: Prof. Matthew Rushworth

April 2016 - Present


University of Glasgow, UK

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 

Advisor: Dr. Marios Philiastides

November 2012 – April 2016


University of Southern California, USA

PhD Visitor Scholar

October 2010 – April 2011


DARPA, San Diego, USA

Research Engineer (Research & development)

Quantum Applied Sciences & Research, DARPA research Project: “Non-invasive sensing systems, EEG machine-learning”

March 2008 – October 2009


PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience (European Scholarship)

Defended in April 2013,

University of Trento, Italy

Centre for Mind/Brain Sciences

Thesis title: The neural computation of trust and reputation

Advisors: Prof. Giorgio Coricelli, Prof. Paolo Avesani

Thesis examers: Prof. Kerstin Preuschoff, Prof. Natalie Sebanz

MEng (distinction) in Cognitive Engineering

Received in 2008, Polytechnic institute (INP-ENSC)

University of Bordeaux, France

Engineering skills: Artificial Intelligence, Biomedical Engineering

Specific skills: Psychology, Human & Machine Cognition

BA (1 st class with distinction) in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences

Received in 2005, Victor Segalen, Bordeaux II

University of Bordeaux, France

Trained in Psychology, Cognitive Science, Developmental Psychology, Mathematics in the Life Science, Data Analysis


Grants & Awards


UKRI Future Leader Fellowship - 2020-2027 "Mapping the neural circuit of credit assignment for a new targeted intervention in addiction" Role: PI

Leverhulme - 2019-2022 "Social perception as Bayesian hypothesis testing and revision" with Patric Bach (PI) Role: Co-I

Praxis Clinical Grant, 2012 “The role of emotions and impulsivity in eating disorders” with Dr. Remi Neveu Role: Co-I


PIUNA Grant, Spain, 2011 “Social learning and reputation effect with the use of behavioral and physiological data” with Prof. Christine Choirat, University of Barcelona Role: Co-I


Travel grant for J-1 exchange visitor (6 months), Los Angeles, USA, 2010 PhD visitor Scholar, KAP Economics Department, University of Southern California PhD European fellowship, 2009-2013


European Scholarship for three years PhD


Lopez-Persem A, Roumazeilles L, Folloni D, Marche K, Fouragnan E, Khalighinejad N, Rushworth M, Sallet J Differential functional connectivity underlying asymmetric reward-related activity in human and non-human primates PNAS November 10, 2020 117 (45) 28452-28462;  doi:10.1073/pnas.2000759117

Trudel N, Scholl J, Klein-Flügge MC, Fouragnan E et al. Polarity of uncertainty representation during exploration and exploitation in ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Nat Hum Behav (2020).


Wittmann MK., Fouragnan E, Folloni D et al. Global reward state affects learning and activity in raphe nucleus and anterior insula in monkeys. Nat Commun 11, 3771 (2020).


Queirazza F, Fouragnan E, Cavanagh J, Steele D, Philiastides M. Neural signatures of reinforcement learning in unmedicated depressed patients predict response to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Forthcoming – Science Advances. 2019


Fouragnan E*, Chau BKH*, Folloni D*, Kolling N, Verhagen L, Klein-Flügge M, Tankelevitch L, Papageorgiou GK, Aubry JF,  Sallet J§, Rushworth MFS§ The macaque anterior cingulate cortex translates counterfactual choice value into actual behavioral change. Nature Neuroscience 22 (5), 797–808. April 2019

Folloni D*, Verhagen L*, Mars R, Fouragnan E, Aubry JF, Rushworth MFS, Sallet J. Non-invasive and reversible manipulation of activity in deep structures of the primate brain using focal ultrasound neurostimulation. Neuron. March 2019. 10.1016/j.neuron.2019.01.019

Fouragnan E, Retzler C, Philiastides MG. Separate neural representations of prediction error valence and surprise: Evidence from an fMRI meta‐analysis. Hum Brain Mapp. 2018;00:1–20. March 2018.

Fouragnan E, Retzler C, Mullinger K, Philiastides MG. Spatiotemporal neural characterization of prediction error valence and surprise during reward learning in humans. Scientific Reports(7):4762. July 2017.


Pisauro A, Fouragnan E, Retzler C, Mullinger K, Philiastides MG. Neural correlates of evidence accumulation during value-based decisions revealed via simultaneous EEG-fMRI. Nature Communications(8): 15808. July 2017. 


Neveu R, Fouragnan E, Barsumian F, Carrier E, Lai M, Sultan J, Nicolas A, Coricelli G. Preference for safe rather than risky options in binge eating. Front. Behav. Neurosci. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2016.00065. March 2016.


Fouragnan E, Retzler C, Mullinger K, Philiastides M. Two spatiotemporally distinct value systems shape reward-based learning in the human brain. Nature Communication (6):8107doi: 10.1038/ncomms9107. August 2015.

Neveu R et D, Barsumian F, Fouragnan E, Carrier E, Lai M, Sultan J, Nicolas A, Coricelli G. Improved planning abilities in binge eating. PLoS ONE 9(8):e105657. August 2014.


Fouragnan E, Chierchia G, Greiner S, Neveu R, Avesani P, Coricelli, G. Reputational priors magnify striatal responses to violation to trust. The Journal of Neuroscience 33(8):3602–3611. February 2013.


Fouragnan E*, Pisauro A*, Philiastides MG. Neural trade-off between cooperation and competition in social dilemma (ready for submission)


*§: Authors contributed equally to the work




Undergraduate and Masters at the School of Psychology, Plymouth University; PSYC412, 415, 404, 570, 2018 - Present

UNIQ summer school, University of Oxford, July 2017

LM51; BA in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences, Trento, Italy, term 2010

Operating Centre (French civil aviation of Bordeaux Merignac), June 2007

MA in Psychotherapy, Institute of Hydrotherapy, Dax, France, February 2006

Undergraduate Degree in Sports Management, Bordeaux II, France, Oct 2005



Medical students. St Peter College, University of Oxford, second term, 2018

Sarah Lawrence Program, University of Oxford, first semester 2017/2018

RM-EPI, University of Oxford, second semester 2016/2017

UNIQ summer school, University of Oxford, July 2017

Critical review, PSYCH4056, Glasgow, first semester 2014/2015, 2015/2016

Maxi-project, PSYCH4007P, Glasgow, second semester 2014/2015, 2015/2016




Nadescha Trujel, PhD in Experimental Psychology, Oxford, 2016 – 2019

Davide Folloni, PhD in Experimental Psychology, Oxford, 2016 – 2019

Hailey Trailer, MSc in Experimental Psychology, Oxford, 2016 – 2018

Sabina Gherman, PhD in Experimental Psychology, Glasgow, 2014 – 2016

Jessica Diaz, PhD in Experimental Psychology, Glasgow, 2014 – 2016

Leon Franzen, PhD in Psychology, Glasgow, 2014 – 2015

Richard Belcredi, MSc in Experimental Psychology, Glasgow, 2014 – 2015

Cherry E. Frondozo, MSc Cogn. Neurosciences, Trento, Italy, 2012 – 2013

Francesco Zaffuto, MSc Cogn. Neurosciences, Trento, Italy, 2011 – 2012