Recent, widely— publicized research in mechanisms of attention, the dopaminergic striatal system, and neuroeconomics have shined a light on a long and productive history of behavioral research in decision making. While this upswelling of interest in decision making is exciting and has already produced some valuable insights, in order for the field to truly benefit from the merger between neuroscience and behavioral decision making, people need to fully understand both aspects and to think critically about the ways in which neuroscience can answer questions that were heretofore unanswerable. To this end, students in PSYCH 722 will attend lectures for Frank Yates's undergraduate course in decision processes (PSYCH 449— consult the course description for more information), where you will learn in detail about the history and breadth of views in behavioral decision making. In addition, students in PSYCH 722 will meet weekly with Stephanie Preston to discuss the lectures and additional readings from neuroscience and animal behavior that can shed light on the topic.
During the semester, each student will be expected to identify an outstanding issue in decision making and design an experiment that can cleanly discriminate between two likely theories. PhD students who plan to study decision making in any form, or who want to learn how to integrate across levels of analysis (e.g. behavior and neuroscience) are greatly encouraged to attend.