Center for Psychosocial… Department of General… About us Section Section Social… Teaching

Course on computational psychiatry: Heidelberg 12.-14.5.2022

Focus topic: Reinforcement learning models on social learning

Schedule, location and logistics

12.-14.05.2022 at Heidelberg (Germany)

Meeting point for all parts: Lecture Hall, Voßstraße 4, 69115 Heidelberg

Day Time Topic Speaker(s) Format



14:30-15:00 Arrival, registration & welcome    
  15:00-15:15 Introduction lecture on the course schedule: What can you expect from the course? Christoph Korn, Franziska Baessler lecture
  15:15-15:45 Games for getting-to-know each other Franziska Baessler  
  15:45-16:00 Break    
  16:00-16:45 Introduction lecture on computational psychiatry Christoph Korn, Koen Frolichs lecture
  16:45-17:00 BREAK & arrivals for keynote lecture    
  17:00-18:00 Keynote lecture: Computational Psychopathology: a mechanistic explanation of mental health symptoms Paolo Ossola lecture
  open end Reception on the premises of the Clinic for General Psychiatry (exact location will be signposted)    
  open end Drinks at a beer garden in Heidelberg (    



9:00-10:00 Which biomarkers are relevant for bipolar disorder? Massimiliano Buoli ecture
  10:00-10:30 Modelling aspects of bipolar disorder using drift diffusion models Paolo Ossola ecture
  10:30-10:45 Break    
  10:45-12:15 Programming principles & how to do it in Python (including statistics & simple plots) Christoph Korn, Koen Frolichs, et al. ecture & hands-on
  12:15-13:00 Break, lunch    
  13:00-14:30 In-depth introduction of Reinforcement Learning (RL) models & of our experimental task Christoph Korn, Koen Frolichs, et al. ecture & hands-on
  14:30-14:45 Break    
  14:45-16:15 Constructing RL models for simple tasks and our task (using simulations) Christoph Korn, Koen Frolichs, et al. hands-on
14.05. Saturday 9:00-9:45 Research Project: Emotion & Susceptibility – Can emotional instability predict mental health shifts? Markus Kötter, Franziska Baessler lecture
  9:45-10:00 Break    
  10:00-12:15 Fitting models to behavioral data, model comparisons (& quality checks) Christoph Korn, Koen Frolichs, et al. ecture & hands-on
  12:15-12:30 Break    
  12:30-12:45 Outlook on how to model biophysical & neuroimaging data Christoph Korn lecture
  12:45-13:15 Wrap-up, feedback & goodbye    


The course will take place in person. The keynote lecture is open to everyone. The theoretical lectures (but not the hands-on programming) will be made accessible online via a live stream. Please bring your laptop to the hands-on sessions if possible! The lectures on Friday are not mandatory for the students of the elective course (Wahlfachtrack) “Digital Medicine.”

Wearing a face mask is mandatory in the buildings. For up-to-date information, see

Topics – What will you learn?

In this three-day course, you will gain insights into the burgeoning field of computational psychiatry, its promises and pitfalls. The course consists of mixture of theoretical lectures on recent findings and practical sessions on programming (in Python).

Specifically, you learn the basics of how to use reinforcement models for analyzing behavioral datasets from human participants. You get an idea of how these models can help to understand psychiatric disorders. You gain hands-on experience with programming such models. Our example datasets cover experiments on social learning about other persons’ character traits and preferences.

Logistics –Who can attend?

This international course is organized within the framework of the 4EU+ European University Alliance ( and includes students and lecturers from three universities.

  • Heidelberg University Hospital (Germany) 
  • University of Milan (UNIMI, Italy) 
  • Sorbonne University (France)

No fees apply. Students of Sorbonne University (France) and of the University of Milan (UNIMI, Italy) can apply for funds covering costs for travelling and lodging.

At Heidelberg University, the course is integrated in the elective courses (Wahlfachtracks) “Digital Medicine” and “Psychosocial Medicine.”

The course is open to students across a wide variety of backgrounds including Medicine (with a particular focus on Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy), Psychology, Political Science, and Computer Science, etc.

Students at different levels can attend (BSc, MSc, MD, or PhD).

Registration – How can you sign up? Write an email to Heike Hager stating:

- your university 
- your field of study 
- your level of study (BSc, MSc, MD, or PhD) 
- if you want to apply for funding of your travelling and lodging costs

Deadline for registration: 01.04.2022 (a few places may be available for late applications)

Lecturers – Who is involved?

  • Jun.-Prof. Dr. Christoph Korn (Heidelberg University Hospital, Department of General Adult Psychiatry). The whole team of the Section “Social Neuroscience:” Koen Frolichs gives lectures & hands-on tutorials. Lisa Doppelhofer, Sihui Zhang, Sergej Golowin & Benjamin Kuper-Smith help during the hands-on tutorials. 
  • Dr. Franziska Baessler (Heidelberg University, Department for General Internal and Psychosomatic Medicine)
  •  Prof. Dr. Massimiliano Buoli (University of Milan, UNIMI, Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation) 
  • Prof. Dr. Florent Pasquier (Sciences de l’éducation et de la formation, Sorbonne Université) 
  • Dr. Antonius Wiehler (Institut du cerveau et de la moelle épinière (ICM), Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Sorbonne Université) 

Keynote speaker 

  • Prof. Dr. Paolo Ossola (Università di Parma, Department of Medicine and Surgery)

This course is organized within the framework of the 4EU+ European University Alliance.