Decision Neuroscience and Neuroeconomics

Humans have to perform many decisions every day, ranging from food to social or financial choices. Contemporary economics has contributed fundamentally to our understanding of decision making by analysing how costs and benefits connected to a particular choice are weighted and opportunity costs of decisions are identified.
Both from a rational choice as well as a behavioural economics perspective, theories have been put forward to explain and predict economic decision making and inform policies and institutions. Neuroeconomics makes use of multiple methods and provides the possibility to measure the neural correlates of reasoning underlying the decision process, thereby building the foundation for competitive model testing.
The methods are drawn from neuroscience, behavioural and experimental economics as well as cognitive, social and evolutionary psychology.

Many models of economic decision making provide similar predictions for choice behaviour, but state different assumptions about the motives and processes leading up to a particular choice. Hence, the ability of testing these process assumptions of existing theories furthers our understanding by dismissing inaccurate models of the decision making process and allowing the development of more psychologically and biologically plausible models of the process.

The goal of neuroeconomics is to integrate physiological and behavioural data to improve our understanding of the deliberation process and motivation behind a given decision with the ultimate goal of improving models of human choice behaviour.

Our lab has worked extensively in different domains of values-based choices:

  • How do people integrate social contexts and social norms into their behaviour?
  • How are food choices influenced by contextual factors and how do these change the weighting of different choice attributes?
  • To understand heterogeneity of individuals and determinant of preferences.

We do apply functional and structural MRI, eye-tracking and behavioural experiments.