Lab Director

Associate Professor
Research Areas: neuro­economics, consumer neuroscience, behavioral economics
[Curriculum Vitae] [Faculty Page]
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Postdoctoral Scholar

Zhihao is primarily interested in applying insights and methodologies from neuroeconomics to understand marketing and consumer behavior. In particular, he aims at elucidating the cognitive and neurobiological mechanisms by which memories about different aspects of past experiences (e.g. of products, services, or social interactions) shape future decisions. Meanwhile, Zhihao also collaborates with Dr. Andrew Kayser at Department of Neurology, UCSF to study molecular influences on strategic reasoning in humans. Zhihao received his B.S. from Tsinghua University in 2010 and his Ph.D. from Yale University in 2016.
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Postdoctoral Scholar

My primary interest is to better understand human social interactions. By looking into decisions with social context, I examine different factors that are critical to the individual's choice behavior. These include motivations, the anticipation of outcomes, choice valuation and selection, and response to outcomes. In particular, I'm fascinated to know what are the underlying 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. I have a Master (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich) and a Ph.D. (University of Geneva) degrees in Neuroscience. I am supported by generous funding from Swiss National Fund.
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Postdoctoral Scholar

Deborah is a postdoctoral scholar working under the co-supervision of Prof. Ming Hsu and Prof. Robert Knight. Her research lies at the intersection between decision-making and cognitive neuroscience. She aims to characterize the neural and cognitive mechanisms involved in choice and outcome evaluation by using a combination of neuroscience techniques and behavioral economics paradigms. Her current work focuses on the roles of conformity, trust, and beliefs about luck. Deborah received her B.A in Economics and Law from La Sorbonne (France), and her B.Sc. in Psychobiology, Master and PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel). She is the recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship and the Rothschild Fellowship for postdoctoral studies.
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PhD Student

Nick is a PhD student in the Cognitive Neuroscience group in Psychology. He is interested in the intersection of social and economic decision-making. His research aims to characterize the neural mechanisms underlying competitive and cooperative behavior using machine learning pattern classification methods, and modulating dopamine systems using pharmacological tools. Nick received his B.A. from Rutgers University and M.S. from the University of Oxford.
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PhD Student

Sandy is a Psychology PhD student with a concentration in Computational Cognitive Neuroscience. She aspires to uncover the computational mechanisms of social decision-making. Specifically, her research aims to investigate the relationships between social interactions and the associated valuation systems utilizing behavioral economics paradigms combined with cognitive neuroscience methods. Sandy received her B.S. in Mathematics from Arizona State University and received her post-graduate research trainings from California Institute of Technology.
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Lab Manager

My current research interests are twofold. Broadly speaking, I am interested in (1) value-based decision making as it relates to the pursuit of long-term, health related goals and (2) characterizing the effects of drug use on decision making processes at the behavioral and neuronal level, using fMRI and pharmacological assays. As a lab manager, I look forward to further exploring the full scope of neuroeconomics research and expanding my cache of skills and analysis techniques in preparation for graduate school. I received my B.S. in Psychology from the University of Oregon.
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Visiting Graduate Student

Antonia is a visiting scholar at the Neuroeconomics Laboratory, conducting her master’s thesis under the supervision of Prof. Ming Hsu. Her research interest lies in the interface of psychology, economics and neuroscience. Particularly, she is dedicated to the study of economic related decision-making processes and behavior, such as consumer choices, using various neuroscientific methods, like fMRI. Her current work focuses on neurobiological mechanisms associated with the perceived similarity of branded products, and its implications for the field of marketing and law. Antonia received a B.Sc. in Business Psychology and Economics from the Leuphana University of Lüneburg and is currently completing her M.Sc. in Psychology at the University of Mannheim with a focus on behavioral and experimental economics, marketing and consumer behavior. She is the recipient of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation.
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Undergraduate Researchers
Armen Aprahamien
Riya Berry
Steven Cen
Michael Chang
Renee Cong
Alexis Ewer
Chris Gillaspy
Siyana Hristova
Wenhan Jin
Anvitha Kachinthaya
Vera Kulikov
Samira Maboudian
Anish Nuni
Samira Sriram
Albert Su
Kevin Tang
Peter Wang
Irene Wang
Chirs Wong
Michael Yang
Christine Zhu
Alan Zhu

Recent Placements

Postdoctoral Researchers

Adrianna Jenkins: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, 2018.
Ignacio Saez: Assistant Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, University of California, Davis, 2018.


Kenji Kobayashi (PhD 2017). Postdoctoral scholar, Columbia University
Eric Set (PhD 2017), Assistant Professor of Practice, NYU Shanghai
Yu-Ping Chen (PhD 2015). Assistant Professor, College of Management, National Taiwan University
Lusha Zhu (PhD 2012). Assistant Professor, Peking University, IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research

Postbacs & Undergraduates

Weilun Ding (Postbac 2018). Caltech
Pierre Karaschuk (BS 2017). University of Washington. NSF Graduate Fellowship Award.
Daniel Wong (BS 2017). University of California, San Francisco
Joshua Moller-Mara (BS 2013). NYU Shanghai