Decision neuroscience

Introducing the neuroscience of decision-making

Decision neuroscience brings together ideas from economics (decision theory, game theory, etc.), neurobiology, computational neuroscience, computer science and psychology to further our understanding of neural processes behind human choice. A deeper understanding of the algorithms encoded in these processes should clarify the enormous heterogeneity in human choice, over time and across individuals. It is hoped that it will shed light on the true causes behind maladaptive choice (“cognitive biases”) in general, and the symptoms of mental disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, gambling addiction), in particular. Decision neuroscience is a truly interdisciplinary field, where the emphasis is on rigorously controlled experiments and mathematical modeling of choice and neural signals.

The classes contain some standard components, such as introductions to decision and game theory, learning theory, neural processes and imaging techniques, and sometimes even a prior on pharmacology. Topics within decision neuroscience are chosen depending on the interests of the students. 

Level: PhD

An introduction to decision neuroscience is currently offered as part of the PhD course of The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health.

In 2017, we will launch a new inter-disciplinary PhD program on decision sciences at the University of Melbourne, of which decision neuroscience will be a core component. For more information about the program, visit the program website.