Lab dinner for Pierre & Clara

Lab dinner to celebrate Pierre Karashchuk and Clara Pretus on their time at Berkeley!

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From left: Weilun, Zhihao, Ming, Pierre, Anna, Clara, Gil.

New paper on neural basis of updating under ambiguity

Congratulations to Kenji Kobayashi, who paper on updating under ambiguity was just accepted at Journal of Neuroscience.

Title: Neural mechanisms of updating under reducible and irreducible uncertainty

Authors: Kenji Kobayashi and Ming Hsu

Adaptive decision-making depends on agents’ ability to make use of environmental signals to reduce uncertainty. However, because there exist multiple types of uncertainty, agents should take into account not only the extent to which signals violate prior expectancy but also whether uncertainty can be reduced in the first place. Here we studied how the brain responds to signals under conditions of reducible and irreducible uncertainty. We show behaviorally that subjects’ value updating was sensitivity to the reducibility of uncertainty, and could be quantitative characterized by a Bayesian model where agents ignore expectancy violations that do not update beliefs or values. Using fMRI, we found that neural processes underlying belief and value updating were separable from responses to expectancy violation, and that reducibility of uncertainty in value modulated connection from belief- to value-updating regions. Together, these results provide insights into how agents use the knowledge on uncertainty to improve decisions while ignoring mere expectancy violation. 

Lab Dinner for Daniel, Rachel, and Thomas

Lab dinner to celebrate Daniel Wong, Rachel Lee, and Thomas Dolman for their time at the lab!

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From Left: Zhihao, Daniel, Pierre, Rachel, Anna, Thomas, Ignacio

New paper on Neuromarketing in California Management Review

New paper just accepted at California Management Review.

Neuromarketing: Inside the mind of the consumer

Managers today are under tremendous pressure to uncover factors driving customers’ attitudes and behavior. Unfortunately, traditional methods suffer from well-known limitations, and have remained largely unchanged since their introduction decades ago. As a result, there is growing interest in brain-based approaches that may enable managers to directly probe customers’ underlying thoughts, feelings, and intentions. This article aims to provide practical guidance to managers on using these tools, focusing on two distinct uses: validation of existing insights and generation of novel insights. Throughout, we stress that managers should see traditional and brain-based approaches as complements, rather than substitutes, in understanding customers.

Pierre Karashchuk receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Congratulations to Pierre Karashchuk, who was just awarded the prestigious NSF Graduate Student Research Fellowship for his proposal applying computational linguistic models to understand stereotypes in natural language!

Welcome to Gil Sharvit

Welcome to Gil Sharvit, who is joining our lab on a postdoctoral research fellowship from the Swiss National Fund. He will be investigating cognitive mechanisms of disclosure behavior, whether the human brain encodes for a dedicated value in those situations, and how can learn to avoid bad decisions (e.g. regretful exposure) when we exchange information with others.

New paper on Dissociable contributions of imagination and willpower to the malleability of human patience

Anna Jenkins’s paper has been accepted at Psychological Science.

Dissociable contributions of imagination and willpower to the malleability of human patience

The ability to exercise patience is important for human functioning. Although it is widely known that patience can be promoted by using willpower to override impatient impulses, patience is also malleable—in particular, susceptible to framing effects—in ways that are difficult to explain on a willpower account alone. So far, the mechanisms underlying framing effects on patience have been elusive. Here we investigated a role for imagination, dissociable from willpower, in these effects. Behaviorally, a classic framing manipulation increased self-reported and independently-coded imagination during intertemporal choice (Experiment 1). Neurally, reframing increased the extent to which patience was associated with activation in brain regions associated with imagination, relative to those associated with willpower, and increased functional connectivity of brain regions associated with imagination, but not willpower, to regions associated with valuation (Experiment 2). Results suggest that reframing can increase the role of imagination in decision-making without increasing willpower exertion.

Welcome to Thomas Dolman

Welcome to Thomas Dolman, who is visiting us from University of Amsterdam as a visiting Master’s student. He will be using psychophysical approaches to data gathering and a computational approach to making predictions on social perception integration.