How is it that a depressed individual may value nothing at all, whereas someone with substance use disorder 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 work 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., mood, anxiety, and substance-related disorders); and 3) develop biologically-informed interventions to remediate these functional deficits.
The Chiu lab is currently quite full, and we are not actively seeking doctoral students for Fall 2023. Exceptions may be made for individuals from underrepresented groups and/or with disadvantaged backgrounds and/or who have demonstrated exceptional motivation for research. Quantitative aptitude and programming experience will be considered favorably. Please include CV with inquiries.