Neuroeconomics

Brain mechanisms that underlie economic decision making in humans

Student: 
Khoi Vo '12
Sponsor: 
Dr. Joe Kable
Department: 
Psychology
School: 
Arts and Sciences

My research in the field of neuroeconomics addresses how people learn from experience in order to make good economic decisions. Previous work has suggested that the striatum is an important brain structure for learning. Human neuroimaging studies have found signals in the striatum related to the changing value of an option during economic decision-making. However, these studies cannot identify whether the striatum is necessary for learning to occur. My research addresses this issue of necessity by examining decision making in patients with rare focal bilateral damage to this structure.  The picture above shows a typical test where subjects are asked to choose the fractal that gives them the largest monetary reward.