Cognition and Decision Seminar Series
The Cognition and Decision Seminar Series brings together scholars from economics, psychology, neuroscience and other fields who are united by an interest in the cognitive mechanisms involved in decision making and related behavior, and the ways in which a better understanding of these mechanisms can lead to more accurate models of human behavior and more effective public policies. Research presented in the seminars employs a variety of methods, including but not limited to physiological measurement of nervous systems, observation of decision making in laboratory settings, computational modeling of decision processes, and normative analyses of optimal decisions subject to information constraints or limits on the complexity of processing.
The seminar meets from 4:15-5:30 PM, generally on Thursdays in the Greene Science Center, 9th floor Lecture Hall (press for directions). Registration is required, in order to allow entry to the building.
The seminar organizers are Mark Dean, Eric Johnson, Michael Shadlen, Daphna Shohamy, and Michael Woodford. The Cognition and Decision Seminar Series is jointly sponsored by the Cognitive and Behavioral Economics Initiative of the Department of Economics, and the Center for Decision Sciences of Columbia Business School.
To stay up to date on the seminar series, please join the mailing list.
Moral Decision-Making: Conscience, Context, and Conformity Classical models of antisocial behavior propose that violence arises out of a failure of lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) to “put the brake...Find out more »
Face processing plays a central role in everyday life. Faces also represent a complex and rich class of stimuli that humans readily process, recognize, and make judgments on. Understanding how the bra...Find out more »
Anybody trying to understand human decision-making faces a challenge: the two dominant perspectives on how human minds work are fundamentally at odds with one another. The classic approach of assumi...Find out more »
Decades of research in economics and psychology has identified a large number of behavioral regularities—specific patterns of behavior present in the choices of a large fraction of decision makers, ...Find out more »
We measure and study visual salience in two-player games, in which players both prefer to match choices of locations or one prefers match and the other mismatch (hide-and-seek). Visual salience is pre...Find out more »
Though neuroscientists have developed an exquisitely detailed understanding of the role of different brain regions in perceiving the external world, our understanding of the relevant functional module...Find out more »
In natural settings, we make decisions based on streams of partial and noisy information. Arguably, we summarize the perceived information into a probabilistic model of the world, which we can exploit...Find out more »
Behavioural and neural evidence reveals a retrospective, model-free or habitual process that caches returns previously garnered from available choices, and a prospective, model-based or goal-directed ...Find out more »
Value is a central concept in economic theory and in neuroeconomics. Nonetheless, we have only recently begun to understand how the brain evaluates options and compares values to make beneficial choic...Find out more »
Cary Frydman – “The Role of Salience and Attention in Choice Under Risk: An Experimental Investigation”Thursday, March 2, 2017, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
We conduct two experiments to test the predictions of a recently proposed theory of context-dependent choice under risk called salience theory. The theory predicts that a decision maker’s attention ...Find out more »
The Churchland lab aims to define the neural circuits that allow animals to integrate evidence across time and from different sensory inputs (sight, hearing, etc) in order to guide decisions. To achie...Find out more »
Every-day decisions frequently require choosing among multiple alternatives. Compared to binary choice paradigms, much less is known about the computational principle of decisions with more than two o...Find out more »
Goal-directed human behaviors are driven by motives. Motives are, however, purely mental constructs that are not directly observable. Here, we show that the brain’s functional network architecture c...Find out more »
Understanding how people choose what information to attend to is central to modeling human behavior. The study of information acquisition lies at the intersection of three disciplines: neuroscience, p...Find out more »
I will present the results of two related experimental studies (work in collaboration with Luca Polonio) in which we used eye-tracking to measure the dynamic patterns of visual information acquisition...Find out more »
The capacity for cognitive control, one of the defining characteristics of human cognition, is also remarkably limited. Typically, people cannot engage in more than a few — and sometimes only a sing...Find out more »
For the last century, economists have assumed that agents have ‘deep’ time preferences — in other words, agents value pleasures and pains in t years more than pleasures and pains in ...Find out more »
Rewards induce learning (positive reinforcement), approach behavior, economic decisions and positive emotions (pleasure, desire). We investigate basic neuronal reward signals during learning and decis...Find out more »
Basic psychophysics tells us that decisions are rarely perfect: even with identical stimuli choice accuracy fluctuates and errors are often made. Metacognition allows appraisal of this uncertainty and...Find out more »
It is commonly argued that the brain aggregates information in a hierarchical fashion. I will discuss how hierarchical aggregation of information gives rise to predictable imperfections in inference, ...Find out more »
Yael Niv – “Focus Versus Breadth: The Effects of Neural Gain on Information Processing and Decision Making”Thursday, February 26, 2015, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Neural gain, thought to be modulated by the locus coeruleus-norepinephrine system, can be thought of as a contrast control mechanism — when gain is high, the contrast between weakly and strongly...Find out more »
Decisions often reveal something about of one’s preferences, to others but also to oneself. After the fact, this can be a source of pleasure or pain; before the fact, anticipation of these feelings ...Find out more »
We learn from experience to make better decisions, often by adjusting our expectations to match past outcomes. In a dynamic world, this adjustment process must itself be adaptive, because changes can ...Find out more »
Intelligence profoundly affects social behavior. Evidence will be provided on how intelligence affects the rate of cooperation in repeated games, social cohesion in school environments, attitude to ri...Find out more »