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.

Upcoming Events

Molly Crockett

Thursday, March 7, 2019, 4:15 pm - 5:30 pm
Greene Science Center, 9th Floor Lecture Hall

Adam Sanborn

Thursday, March 28, 2019, 4:15 pm - 5:30 pm
Greene Science Center, L7-119
Past Events

Angela Yu, “Faces: A Window into Cognition “

Thursday, December 6, 2018, 4:15 pm - 5:30 pm
9th Floor Seminar Room, Jerome L. Greene Hall

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...

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Tom Griffiths, “Resource-rational models of decision-making”

Thursday, November 29, 2018, 4:15 pm - 5:30 pm
Greene Science Center, 9th Floor Lecture Hall

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...

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Pietro Ortoleva, “Econographics”

Thursday, November 15, 2018, 4:15 pm - 5:30 pm
Greene Science Center, 9th Floor Lecture Hall

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, ...

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Colin Camerer – “Using Visual Saliency in Game Theory”

Thursday, September 13, 2018, 4:15 pm - 5:30 pm
Greene Science Center, 9th Floor Lecture Hall

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...

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Joe Kable – “Fractioning the Prospective Brain” [Joint with SCCN Seminar]

Tuesday, December 12, 2017, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Jerome L. Green Science Center

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...

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Rava da Silveira – “Various approaches to online inference — human behavior and theoretical models”

Thursday, November 9, 2017, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
326 Uris Hall

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...

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Peter Dayan – “Betwixt Fast and Slow: Integrating Model-Free and Model-Based Decision Making”

Thursday, April 27, 2017, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
330 Uris Hall

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 ...

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Ben Hayden – “Neuronal Foundations for Economic Value”

Sunday, April 16, 2017, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
301 Uris Hall

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...

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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
303 Uris Hall

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 ...

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Anne Churchland – “A Multisensory Approach For Understanding Design Circuits”

Thursday, December 8, 2016, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
209 Warren Hall

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...

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Jan Drugowitsch – “Normative Decisions Between More than Two Alternatives”

Thursday, October 20, 2016, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
301 Uris Hall

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...

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Ernst Fehr – “The Brain’s Functional Network Architecture Reveals Human Motives”

Thursday, September 29, 2016, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
326 Uris Hall

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...

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Jacqueline Gottlieb, Mark Dean, Eric Johnson – Symposium on Information Selection

Thursday, April 21, 2016, 6:00 pm
326 Uris Hall

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...

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Giorgio Coricelli – “Strategizing and Attention in Games”

Thursday, March 24, 2016, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
326 Uris Hall

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...

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Jonathan Cohen – “Capacity Constraints in Cognitive Control: Toward a Rational Explanation”

Thursday, February 25, 2016, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
326 Uris Hall

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...

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David Laibson – “Myopia and Discounting”

Wednesday, November 4, 2015, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
208 Warren Hall

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 ...

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Wolfram Schultz – “Experimental Economics on Reward Neurons”

Monday, September 21, 2015, 6:00 pm - 7:40 pm
141 Uris Hall

Rewards induce learning (positive reinforcement), approach behavior, economic decisions and positive emotions (pleasure, desire). We investigate basic neuronal reward signals during learning and decis...

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Benedetto De Martino – “Imperfect Choice and the Brain: Confidence in Value-Based Judgments”

Thursday, April 30, 2015, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
207 Warren Hall

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...

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Tom Cunningham – “Hierarchical Aggregation of Information and Decision-Making”

Tuesday, March 31, 2015, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
311 Warren Hall

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, ...

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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
326 Uris Hall

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...

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Drazen Prelec – “Behavioral and Brain Mechanisms of Self-Signaling”

Thursday, February 5, 2015, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
207 Warren Hall

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 ...

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Joshua Gold – “Adaptive Decision-Making in a Dynamic World”

Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
326 Uris Hall

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 ...

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Aldo Rustichini – “Intelligence and Social Behavior”

Monday, September 22, 2014, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
328 Uris

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...

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1022 International Affairs Building (IAB)
Mail Code 3308  
420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
Ph: (212) 854-3680
Fax: (212) 854-0749
Business Hours:
Mon–Fri, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

1022 International Affairs Building (IAB)

Mail Code 3308

420 West 118th Street

New York, NY 10027

Ph: (212) 854-3680
Fax: (212) 854-0749
Business Hours:
Mon–Fri, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.