Research Projects

Learn about our key areas of research and ongoing projects

Research in the Decision Neuroscience Lab investigates decision-making and cognitive processes related to decisions. For example, we ask questions such as: How are decisions encoded in the brain? How do we make decisions when the choice options are equally likely or valuable? How do we change our mind? How does context bias preferences or judgements outside of the decision-makers' awareness? When do people prefer to actively sample information?

We also investigate the cognitive and neural basis of dietary decisions, how food preferences are encoded in the brain, and how we can encourage people to make better dietary decisions.

Current projects

  • Change-of-Mind decisions, decision errors and decision confidence

    This research program investigates the cognitive and neural basis of decisions that do not lead to the desired outcome. Often, we have to change our mind, even after committing to an initial decision. This can happen because new information becomes available, or because of how we process the available information. In case we don't change our mind, such decisions might result in either decision errors, or we might have low confidence in our decision outcomes. This research program investigates the interplay of decision-related factors across a variety of different decision problems, such as perceptual decisions and voluntary decisions.
  • Neural correlates of information sampling in uncertain environments

    This research program investigates when and why people are interested in actively seeking information. We are looking at different factors that drive information-seeking, such as its instrumental value, its utility for understanding the world better, and its power make us feel better, or less uncertain. By using mathematical modelling of people's choices in uncertain environments, and linking these models with neuroimaging data, we aim to identify neuro-cognitive mechanisms underlying information processing. This research program is particularly focused at understanding why people seem to value information even in cases when this information does not help
    them with obtaining better outcomes.
  • The neural representation of food choices

    In this research program, we aim to understand how attributes of foods and drinks are represented in the brain. Ultimately, knowing when and how food items are encoded, might allow us to understand why it is so difficult to eat healthily. We hope that this knowledge might further be useful for developing strategies for biasing food decisions in a more healthy direction. This research program combines methods from experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience with approaches from population health to build bridges between lab-based research and applied psychology.

Other collaborative projects with our partners

  • Emotion regulation and decision-making (with Prof Carmen Morawetz, Innsbruck University)
  • Performance monitoring and perfectionism (with Prof Jutta Stahl, University of Cologne)
  • Neuro-cognitive development in iron-deficient children in developing countries (with A/Prof Sant-Ryan Pasricha, WEHI; Dr Leila Larson, University of South Carolina)
  • Volition as as goal-directed action (with Prof Patrick Haggard, Dr Silvia Seghezzi, UCL)