How is it that a depressed individual may value nothing at all, whereas an addict might value drug consumption at the expense of all else? What quantitative neurobehavioral measures of motivation, social function, and emotion may be useful for clinical assessment? What makes some people especially vulnerable to peer pressure?
To address these and related questions, we examine the functional neuroscience of human motivation and social decision-making. Our falls in the realm of computational psychiatry, an emerging field that broadly applies quantitative model-based understandings of neural functioning to understand the neural and behavioral decision-making processes that break down in mental illness.
Ongoing projects use multiple methods, including behavioral tasks, self-report, clinical interviews, computational models, and functional neuroimaging to: 1) study the neural substrates of how, when, and why humans make and change their decisions; 2) detail how these neurobehavioral systems are affected in disorders marked by difficulties in motivated decision-making (e.g., major depression, addiction, PTSD); and 3) develop biologically-informed interventions to remediate these functional deficits.
Dr. Chiu is accepting students for Fall 2021.