Decision Neuroscience: How it started and where we are today

Decision neuroscience is an emerging area of research whose goal is to integrate research in neuroscience and behavioral decision-making. Neuroeconomics is a more specialized field of study that seeks to bridge neuroscience research on human choice with economic theory, whereas neuromarketing addresses the neuroscience behind consumers’ choices, including product branding, preference, and purchase decisions. More recent research seeks to include the field of information science by examining the impact of social media and other technology use on the human brain. All these areas capitalize on knowledge from the fields of neuroscience, behavioral economics, finances, marketing, and information science to explore the neural “road map” for the physiological processes intervening between knowledge and behavior, and the potential interruptions that lead to a disconnection between what one knows and what one decides to do. Thus, decision Neuroscience is the domain that captures the interests of scientists who are attempting to understand the neural basis of judgment and decision-making in health as well as social behavior.

Prof. Dr. Antoine Bechara is a Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles (formerly Professor of Neurology at the University of Iowa). His research includes the study of impaired decision-making in patients with focal brain damage and its application to decision-making in other populations, including patients with substance use disorders, as well as behavioral addictions such as excessive internet use. He is one of the original contributors to a field that became known as “Decision Neuroscience”. This keynote address will deal with a review of the past decades of research in decision neuroscience and an outlook on where the field could be moving.