My lab addresses two broad areas of inquiry: (1) neural underpinnings of valuation and learning in social settings, and (2) how social and economic preferences influence valuation and learning. Specifically, I seek insight into the neural computations underlying normative social behavior using methods of decision neuroscience, behavioral economics, and social psychology. These approaches, when jointly brought to bear on complex social phenomena, provide tractable and clear answers about how humans make decisions about, among, and for one another.
To date, my experiments have focused on four inter-related questions:
- how do two people trust each other?
- how do individuals balance their own interests with the interests of others?
- how do risk preferences change across the lifespan and under social influence?
- how does social dominance influence the way we learn from others?
I also seek insights into neural computations underlying social decision-making abnormalities of psychopathology. Psychiatric illnesses, from substance abuse to borderline personality disorder, include primary features that can be studied as impaired decision-making in social contexts. In current and planned work, my lab leverages our normative work in these areas to investigate neural substrates that give rise to aberrant behavior.