Ethan's Picture  

Ethan Bromberg-Martin

 Senior Scientist
 Department of Neuroscience
 Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

 CV: pdf

I study how the brain learns what things are good and what things are bad, and how it uses this knowledge to banish the bad things and gather the good things! I believe that learning about the world is not simply a passive process of parameter estimation and error-reduction, but an active delight of exploration and discovery. Why else be a scientist?

Past appearances

A neural network for information seeking
University of Ghent
April 1, 2021 (Virtual Seminar)

A neural network for information seeking
Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) Annual Meeting [site]
Symposium: From Wikipedia Searches to Single Cell Recording: Uncovering the Mechanisms of Information-Seeking
May 3, 2020 (Virtual Conference)

How do time and uncertainty motivate information seeking?
Computational and Systems Neuroscience (Cosyne) Annual Meeting [site]
Feb 27-Mar 1, 2020 in Denver, CO



A ventrolateral prefrontal cortex neuron anticipating information about both rewards and punishments!    A prefrontal network integrates preferences for advance information about uncertain rewards and punishments
by Ahmad Jezzini, Ethan S. Bromberg-Martin*, Lucas R. Trambaiolli*, Suzanne N. Haber, and Ilya E. Monosov   (* equal contribution)
Neuron (2021), volume 109, pp 1-14.
[full text]  [pdf]

A cortex-basal ganglia neural network mechanism to motivate information seeking!    Neural circuitry of information seeking
by Ethan S. Bromberg-Martin and Ilya E. Monosov                                 
Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences (2020), volume 35, pp 62-70.
[psyarxiv preprint]  [full text]

A theoretical framework for motivated belief formation!    The value of beliefs
by Ethan S. Bromberg-Martin and Tali Sharot                                 
Neuron (2020), volume 106, issue 4, pp 561-565
[pubmed]  [full text]  [pdf]

A dorsal striatum neuron anticipating information about uncertain future rewards!    A neural network for information seeking
by J. Kael White*, Ethan S. Bromberg-Martin*, Sarah R. Heilbronner, Kaining Zhang, Julia Pai, Suzanne N. Haber, and Ilya E. Monosov   (* co-first authors)
Nature Communications (2019), volume 10, issue 1, pp 5168.
[pubmed]  [full text]  [pdf]  [supplementary information]

The human midbrain signaling the bias to get information about gains vs. losses!    Valuation of knowledge and ignorance in mesolimbic reward circuitry
by Caroline J. Charpentier, Ethan S. Bromberg-Martin, and Tali Sharot
PNAS (2018), volume 115, issue 31, pp E7255-E7264.
[pubmed]  [full text]  [pdf]  [supplementary information]

An orbitofrontal cortex neuron signaling the greater value of information for high-stakes gambles!    Orbitofrontal cortex uses distinct codes for different choice attributes in decisions motivated by curiosity
by Tommy C. Blanchard, Benjamin Y. Hayden*, and Ethan S. Bromberg-Martin*   (* co-senior authors)
Neuron (2015), volume 85, issue 3, pp 602-614.
[pubmed]  [full text]  [pdf + supplementary information]

Lateral habenula neurons signaling unexpected information about future rewards!    Lateral habenula neurons signal errors in the prediction of reward information
by Ethan S. Bromberg-Martin and Okihide Hikosaka
Nature Neuroscience (2011), volume 14, issue 9, pp. 1209-1216.
[pubmed]  [full text]  [pdf]  [supplementary information]
 News and Views by Niv and Chan:  [full text]  [pdf]

Our hypothesis about dopamine neurons getting multiple motivational signals!    Dopamine in motivational control: rewarding, aversive, and alerting
by Ethan S. Bromberg-Martin, Masayuki Matsumoto, and Okihide Hikosaka
Neuron (2010), volume 68, issue 5, pp. 815-834
Review article
[pubmed]  [full text]  [pdf]
 Cited by:
  [faculty of 1000]

Lateral habenula neurons using multiple timescales of memory!    Multiple timescales of memory in lateral habenula and dopamine neurons
by Ethan S. Bromberg-Martin, Masayuki Matsumoto, Hiroyuki Nakahara, and Okihide Hikosaka
Neuron (2010), volume 67, issue 3, pp. 499-510.
[pubmed]  [full text]  [pdf]  [supplemental data]
 Cited by:
  [faculty of 1000]

Lateral habenula and dopamine neurons tonically anticipating a rewarding task!    Distinct tonic and phasic anticipatory activity in lateral habenula and dopamine neurons
by Ethan S. Bromberg-Martin, Masayuki Matsumoto, and Okihide Hikosaka
Neuron (2010), volume 67, issue 1, pp. 144-155.
[pubmed]  [full text]  [pdf]  [supplemental data]

Lateral habenula neurons signaling inferred stimulus values!    A pallidus-habenula-dopamine pathway signals inferred stimulus values
by Ethan S. Bromberg-Martin, Masayuki Matsumoto, Simon Hong, and Okihide Hikosaka
Journal of Neurophysiology (2010), volume 104, issue 2, pp. 1068-1076.
[pubmed]  [full text]  [pdf]

Dorsal raphe neurons excited by a rewarding task!    Coding of task reward value in the dorsal raphe nucleus
by Ethan S. Bromberg-Martin, Okihide Hikosaka, and Kae Nakamura
Journal of Neuroscience (2010), volume 30, issue 18, pp. 6262-6272.
[pubmed]  [full text]  [pdf]

A dopamine neuron signaling preference for reward information!    Midbrain dopamine neurons signal preference for advance information about upcoming rewards
by Ethan S. Bromberg-Martin and Okihide Hikosaka
Neuron (2009), volume 63, issue 1, pp. 119-126
[pubmed]  [full text]  [pdf]  [supplemental data]
 Cited by:
  [faculty of 1000]  [nature]  [nature reviews neuroscience]

Dopamine release promoting synaptic plasticity!    New insights on the subcortical representation of reward
by Okihide Hikosaka, Ethan Bromberg-Martin, Simon Hong, and Masayuki Matsumoto
Current Opinion in Neurobiology (2008), volume 18, issue 2, pp. 203-208
Review article


  Ph.D. in Neuroscience (2009) from Brown University.
      Thesis: "The Role of Dopamine in Information-Seeking" (Advisor: Okihide Hikosaka)

I did my Ph.D. thesis work at the National Eye Institute, as part of the Graduate Partnership Program with the National Institutes of Health.

Bachelor of Science in Computational Biology (2005) from Brown University.


  My academic ancestry at

Affiliations: Society for Neuroscience.
    Society for Neuroscience (SFN)
    Computational and Systems Neuroscience (Cosyne)
    Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS)
    Association for Psychological Science (APS)