Adam Steiner

Ph.D. 2014


Thesis Title:

Regretful Choices: Neural Representations of Choice in the Orbitofrontal Cortex

Current Position:

Assistant Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Undergraduate Institution and Major/Degree:

  • Kansas State University B.S. General Physics
  • Kansas State University B.S. Psychology

Major Advisor(s):

Research Description:

Decisions are central to life. Every aspect no matter how small requires a decision, often with complex consequences. My long term interest is to understand and study the process of decision making: first by understanding the neural correlates and second by integrating the neural correlates of decision-making with theories in economics and learning psychology. To this end, I am interested in pursuing the neural correlates of decision-making in the frontal cortex, more specifically how are decisions made when taking the future into context and how do these events correlate with the ideas initially presented in the psychology of learning and behavior?

Past research demonstrated profound deficits in decision making following damage to the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). These studies implicated the OFC in decision making. However, prior research has not investigated the role of the OFC in decision making in the absence of explicit instructional cues. As a result, it is not know how the OFC represents decisions when required to internally generate a response or decide upon a course of action. Other learning systems, such as the hippocampus and ventral striatum have demonstrated reward related activity when a rat was at a physically different location on a maze. During the formation of a choice the rat represents the consequences of his decisions. These representations can be seen in the non-local neural representations from hippocampus which display the rat representing his forward paths, ahead of his actual position.

Lab Rotations:

  • Paul Iaizzo
  • Apostolos Georgopoulos
  • Cheryl Olman
  • David Redish

Courses Taken Beyond the Core Courses:

  • NSc 8320 Neurostatistical Analysis
  • Phsl 5201Computational Neuroscience: Membranes and Channels
  • Psy 5993 Machine Learning
  • NSc 5202 Theoretical Neuroscience: Systems and Information Processing
  • CGSC 8041 Cognitive Neuroscience

Conferences Attended and Presentations:

  • Society for Neuroscience - 2007, 2008, 2010

Selected Publications and Presentations:


  • Steiner AP, Redish AD. Behavioral and neurophysiological correlates of regret in rat decision-making on a neuroeconomic task. Nat Neurosci. 2014;17(7):995-1002.. 
  • Steiner AP, Redish AD. The road not taken: Neural correlates of decision making in orbitofrontal cortex. Front Neurosci. 2012;6:131. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2012.00131.    
  • Blumenthal A, Steiner AP, Seeland KD, Redish AD. Effects of pharmacological manipulations of NMDA-receptors on deliberation in the multiple-T task Neurobiol. Learn Mem. 2011;95:376-384.


  • Steiner AP, Redish AD. Orbitofrontal cortical ensembles during deliberation and learning on a spatial decision-making task. Society for Neuroscience, San Deigo CA, November 2010.
  • Blumenthal A, Steiner AP, Seeland K, Redish AD.Involvement of NMDA-receptors in vicarious-trial-and-error behaviors on a spatial task. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego CA, November 2010.
  • Steiner A.P & Redish A.D. Orbitofrontal Cortex Activity During a Multiple-T Task. Center for Cognitive Sciences, Minneapolis MN, March 2010.
  • Steiner A.P & Redish A.D. Orbitofrontal Cortex Activity During a Multiple-T Task. Graduate Program in Neuroscience Retreat, Minneapolis, MN, Feburary 2010
  • Steiner AP, Gill MJ, Ha RA, Cain ME. Dose dependent effects of d-cycloserine on operant responding. 79th Annual Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago IL, May 2007.
  • Ha RA, Pittenger ST, Steiner AP, Parrish MH, Cain ME. Individual differences in response to nicotine conditioning and reinstatement. 79th Annual Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago IL, May 2007.
  • Ha RA. Kabriel JR, Steiner AP, Parrish MH, Cain ME. Effects of Rearing Environment on Pavlovian Conditioned Hyperactivity. Pavlovian Society Annual Meeting, September 2006.

Professional Memberships:

  • Society for Neuroscience

Awards and Honors:

  • National Institutes of Drug Abuse (NIDA) Graduate Trainee, 2009-2012:
  • Graduate Program in Neuroscience NIH Training Grant Trainee, 2007-2009.

Home Town:

  • Wichita , KS
Adam Steiner