Current Members

Mingbo Cai

Lab Director

mingbo[dot]cai [at] miami[dot] edu

Mingbo Cai (蔡明博) is an Assistant Professor at Department of Psychology, University of Miami. His interest includes the computational mechanism of learning and decision making, spontaneous thoughts, brain imaging analysis method, brain-inspired machine learning, and time perception. On the topics of human and machine learning, he is especially interested in how humans or machines can learn latent structure or “generative model” of the environment without direct supervision. He started the lab at International Research Center of Neurointelligence in the University of Tokyo in 2019 and moved to UMiami in 2024. Prior to these, he was a postdoctoral researcher in Yael Niv‘s lab at Princeton University, after obtaining his Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience from Baylor College of Medicine, working with David Eagleman and Wei Ji Ma, and B.S. degrees in Electronics and Psychology from Peking University.

Remotely collaborating former members

Ronald Dekker

Postdoctoral Researcher

Ron was a postdoctoral researcher in the Cai Lab in 2022-2023. His research focuses on how knowledge is represented in human and machine agents, and what consequences this has for learning and generalization. He is now at working for EY Japan as a data scientist. In his spare time, he is remotely collaborating with Mingbo Cai, Nicolas Schuck (University of Hamburg), and Quentin Huys (UCL) on the project he did at Cai Lab on decoding the semantic content and dynamics of spontaneous thought . Before coming to the Cai Lab, Ron received his Ph.D. from the University of Oxford, under the supervision of Prof. Christopher Summerfield. His Ph.D. work primarily involved understanding the effects of different training schedules on learning through large-scale online studies and using neural networks as a computational model.

Wei Chen

Collaborating PhD Student

Wei Chen is currently a collaborating graduate student from Yotsumoto lab, The University of Tokyo. His current research focuses on the computational modelling of decision making in schizophrenia and development of reinforcement learning throughout life span. Before coming to UTokyo, he obtained a B.E.Hons. from The University of Auckland, specialized in software engineering. At the moment, he is hosted at Yunzhe Liu‘s lab in Beijing Normal University

John Day

Research Assistant

John is currently a research assistant at the Cai Lab (remotely in Tokyo). He is originally from Detroit, Michigan, United States. He received his B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Michigan in 2020. He is interested in the relationship between artificial intelligence and natural intelligence. His current research involves developing and drawing insight from brain-inspired AI. He hopes to eventually pursue these research interests in graduate school. Besides research, John spends his free time working out, discovering new music, and teaching himself Japanese.

Aaron T. Nakamura

Research Assistant


Aaron Nakamura jointly works at Cai Lab, Nagai Lab, and Baby Lab. He has contributed to many projects at Cai Lab and has performed almost all the fMRI scanning. He is most actively contributing to the project on decoding spontaneous thoughts. He attended the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities for his graduate education in counseling psychology after earning his Bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in TESL (Teaching ESL). He has a background in working for youth at a mental health treatment center. His research focuses lie primarily in the fields of clinical, developmental, and cultural psychology. He is interested in examining the impact of Early Childhood Adversity (ECA), mainly child maltreatment, and alterations in brain structures/functions. He is also interested in investigating how people can formulate and stabilize one’s national, racial/ethnic, and cultural identity through ECA. He is also broadly interested in language acquisition.


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