Workshop on the Representation of Value and Economic Choice

Workshop on the Representation of Value and Economic choice

FRIDAY, MAY 6, 2016

9:00 A.M - 6:30 P.M.

Warren Feldberg Room, WARREN HALL




The Program for Economic Research at Columbia University will sponsor a one-day interdisciplinary Workshop on the Representation of Value and Economic Choice, to be held on May 6, 2016. The Workshop aims to bring together economists, psychologists and neuroscientists who have a shared interest in understanding the gathering, storage and retrieval of information that occur when people make choices, and what this implies for the modelling of economic behavior.

The morning will be focused on the causes of stochasticity in choice, the degree to which this results from randomness in the way that values are represented in the brain, or in which information about values is sampled in the process of making a decision, and the consequences of such randomness or sampling processes for choice behavior. The afternoon will look at the way in which, and degree to which, uncertainty about the value of choice options (as opposed simply to point estimates of values) is represented in the cognitive processes giving rise to choices, and how this influences choice. This will include considering the degree to which actual decisionmaking involves the kind of calculations demanded by Bayesian decision theory, and the role of sampling from memory in the construction of value estimates that then determine choice.


Full Schedule


Arrival and breakfast

Session 1

Stochastic Choice


Paulo Natenzon (Washington University Economics), "Preference Reversal or Limited Sampling? Maybe Tungara Frogs Are Rational After All"


Rafael Polania (University of Zurich Neuroeconomics), "Preference Uncertainity in the Human Brain"


Coffee Break


Christopher Summerfield (Oxford Cognitive Neuroscience), "Economic Irrationality is Optimal During Noisy Decision Making"


Ian Krajbich (Ohio State Psychology and Economics), "Gaze Data Reveal Distinct Choice Processes Underlying Model-Based and Model-Free Reinforcement Learning"

Comments by Michael Woodford


General Discussion of Session 1



Session 2

Representation of Uncertainty


Peter Bossaerts (University of Melbourne Experimental Finance and Decision Neuroscience), "Neurobiological Foundations of Risk Perception"


WeiJi Ma (NYU Center for Neural Science and Psychology), "Optimality and Bayesian Inference in Perceptual Decision-Making"




Samuel Gershman (Harvard Psychology and Center for Brain Science), "Comparison and Value in an Inductive Framework"


Edward Vul (UC San Diego Psychology), "Sampling in Cognition and Decision Making"

Comments by Eric Johnson


General Discussion of Session 2








































Registration for the conference is required. For further information, please contact Juliana Capaldi.

Directions to Warren Hall

Warren Hall is located at 1125 Amsterdam Avenue between 115th and 116th. View full campus map online.

Take the #1 train to 116th Street (Columbia University) stop.  Walk across campus towards Amsterdam Avenue and turn right on Amsterdam Avenue. Warren Hall is located on the right on Amsterdam Avenue. 


Four bus lines (M4, M11, M5 and M104) serve the Columbia/Morningside Heights area. View city bus map.


From South

Exit the Henry Hudson Parkway at 96th Street and proceed east, crossing Broadway, and turn left (north) at the next light, Amsterdam Avenue. Proceed north on Amsterdam for 20 blocks to campus. In addition to street parking on Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue (metered), on Morningside Drive and on side streets, there is a garage on 114th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue (close to Amsterdam) on the south side of the street.

From North

Exit the Henry Hudson Parkway at 125th Street and proceed east, crossing Broadway, and turn right (south) at the next light, Amsterdam Avenue. Proceed south on Amsterdam for nine blocks to campus. See above for parking recommendations.