About the YIA Awards

The purpose of the awards is to recognize outstanding contributions by scientists early in their careers. Two awardees, one male and one female, are named by the Awards Committee, and are honored at the CNS annual meeting.

Congratulations to Donna Rose Addis and Christopher Summerfield for being awarded the 2015 Young Investigator Award. Donna Rose Addis and Christopher Summerfield will give their award lectures on Sunday, March 29, 2015, 1:30 –2:30 pm, in the Grand Ballroom A in the Hyatt Regency San Francisco.

Constructive Episodic Simulation of Future Events

Donna Rose Addis, Ph.D.
University of Auckland, New Zealand

Humans spend a great deal of their time thinking about their future activities. In particular, we can draw upon information stored in episodic memory to construct detailed simulations about upcoming events. Future simulations have adaptive value, enhancing wellbeing, problem solving and decision making. However, if these simulations are to guide and enhance our future behaviour, it is critical that future events are not only sufficiently detailed but also successfully encoded into memory. In this talk, I will discuss recent behavioural and neuroimaging studies from my laboratory examining how constructive episodic memory processes (supported by the hippocampus and associated networks) support the simulation of detailed future events, as well as the factors that influence the encoding of simulations.

Do humans make good decisions?

Christopher Summerfield, Ph.D.
University of Oxford

Human performance on perceptual classification tasks approaches that of an ideal observer, but economic decisions are often inconsistent and intransitive, with preferences reversing according to the local context. I will discuss the view that suboptimal choices may result from the “efficient” coding of decision-relevant information, a strategy that allows expected inputs to be processed with higher gain than unexpected inputs. Efficient coding leads to ‘robust’ decisions that depart from optimality but maximise the information transmitted by a limited-capacity system in a rapidly-changing world. I will consider recent work from my lab and elsewhere showing that when perceptual environments are variable or volatile, perceptual decisions exhibit the same suboptimal context-dependence as economic choices, and we propose a general computational framework that accounts for findings across the two domains.

Previous Winners


Daphna Shohamy, Ph.D. , Columbia University
David Badre, Ph.D., Brown University


Uta Noppeney, Ph.D., University of Birmingham, UK
Tor Wager, Ph.D., University of Colorado


Adam Aron, Ph.D., University of California San Diego Roshan Cools, Ph.D., Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour


Michael J. Frank, Ph.D., Brown University
Elizabeth Kensinger, Ph.D., Boston College


Kara Federmeier, University of Illinois
Adam Anderson, University of Toronto


Lila Davachi, New York University
Clayton Curtis, New York University


Charan Ranganath, University of California Davis
Kevin Ochsner, Columbia University
Rebecca Saxe, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Silvia A. Bunge, University of California
Steven Laureys, MD, University of Liège


Frank Tong, Vanderbilt University
Alumit Ishai, University of Zurich


Sabine Kastner, Princeton University
Kevin LaBar, Duke University


Anthony Wagner, Stanford University
Eleanor Maguire, University College London


Roberto Cabeza, Duke University
Sharon Thompson-Schill, University of Pennsylvania


Isabel Gauthier, Vanderbilt University
Randy Buckner, Washington University Saint Louis


Each award includes $500 US to be used by the winners toward travel costs to the meeting, or for any other purpose.