Decision Making and Executive Control

We aim to understand the neurocognitive mechanisms and neurocomputational bases of adaptive decision-making in perception, action, and their inter-coordination, and how these mechanisms are subject to individual and developmental differences as well as contextual modulations. Specific characteristics of largely frontostriatal circuitry constitute a common neurocognitive mechanism underlying decision-making and its social, affective, motivational, and pharmacological modulation. Dysfunction in those mechanisms (within the normal population and in debilitating neuropsychiatric disorders) may influence decisions and actions through impulses that are so potent that they hijack the action system, and weaken control over such impulses. A better understanding of the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying adaptive decision-making may a) contribute to formal modelling of these mechanisms, b) provide a window on functional heterogeneity, and c) improve diagnostic capabilities and treatment options. At the juxtaposition of phenomenology, experimental psychology, behavioural economics, mathematical modelling, human and animal neurobiology, neuropsychiatry, and cognitive neuroimaging, the newly emerged field of decision neuroscience has begun to exert considerable impact on each of those respective fields. Using realistic laboratory tasks, it seeks to study the neurocognitive processes underlying adaptive control (perceptual decision-making, economic decision-making, outcome-based decision learning, goal-directed action selection, pre-reflective expertise, and impulse suppression) as well as individual differences in these processes ranging from normality to psychopathology and contextual modulations of these processes. Both experiment animal and human brain studies are eligible.

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