[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article proposes that neuroscience can shape future theory and models in consumer decision making and suggests ways that neuroscience methods can be used in decision-making research. The article argues that neuroscience facilitates better theory development and empirical testing by considering the physiological context and the role of constructs such as hunger, stress, and social influence on consumer choice and preferences. Neuroscience can also provide new explanations for different sources of heterogeneity within and across populations, suggest novel hypotheses with respect to choices and underlying mechanisms that accord with an understanding of biology, and allow for the use of neural data to make better predictions about consumer behavior. The article suggests that despite some challenges associated with incorporating neuroscience into research on consumer decision processes, the use of neuroscience paradigms will produce a deeper understanding of decision making that can lead to the development of more effective decision aids and interventions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) plays a critical role in processing appetitive stimuli. Recent investigations have shown that reward value signals in the vmPFC can be altered by emotion regulation processes; however, to what extent the processing of positive emotion relies on neural regions implicated in reward processing is unclear. Here, we investigated the effects of emotion regulation on the valuation of emotionally evocative images. Two independent experimental samples of human participants performed a cognitive reappraisal task while undergoing fMRI. The experience of positive emotions activated the vmPFC, whereas the regulation of positive emotions led to relative decreases in vmPFC activation. During the experience of positive emotions, vmPFC activation tracked participants' own subjective ratings of the valence of stimuli. Furthermore, vmPFC activation also tracked normative valence ratings of the stimuli when participants were asked to experience their emotions, but not when asked to regulate them. A separate analysis of the predictive power of vmPFC on behavior indicated that even after accounting for normative stimulus ratings and condition, increased signal in the vmPFC was associated with more positive valence ratings. These results suggest that the vmPFC encodes a domain-general value signal that tracks the value of not only external rewards, but also emotional stimuli.
Journal of Neuroscience 07/2013; 33(27):11032-9. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The temporal-parietal junction (TPJ) has been proposed to support either specifically social functions or non-specific processes of cognition such as memory and attention. To account for diverse prior findings, we propose a nexus model for TPJ function: overlap of basic processes produces novel secondary functions at their convergence. We present meta-analytic evidence that is consistent with the anatomical convergence of attention, memory, language, and social processing in the TPJ, leading to a higher-order role in the creation of a social context for behavior. The nexus model accounts for recent examples of TPJ contributions specifically to decision making in a social context and provides a potential reconciliation for competing claims about TPJ function.
Trends in Cognitive Sciences 06/2013; · 16.01 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Neural mechanisms of decision-making and reward response in adolescent cannabis use disorder (CUD) are underexplored. METHODS: Three groups of male adolescents were studied: CUD in full remission (n=15); controls with psychopathology without substance use disorder history (n=23); and healthy controls (n=18). We investigated neural processing of decision-making and reward under conditions of varying risk and uncertainty with the Decision-Reward Uncertainty Task while participants were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging. RESULTS: Abstinent adolescents with CUD compared to controls with psychopathology showed hyperactivation in one cluster that spanned left superior parietal lobule/left lateral occipital cortex/precuneus while making risky decisions that involved uncertainty, and hypoactivation in left orbitofrontal cortex to rewarded outcomes compared to no-reward after making risky decisions. Post hoc region of interest analyses revealed that both control groups significantly differed from the CUD group (but not from each other) during both the decision-making and reward outcome phase of the Decision-Reward Uncertainty Task. In the CUD group, orbitofrontal activations to reward significantly and negatively correlated with total number of individual drug classes the CUD patients experimented with prior to treatment. CUD duration significantly and negatively correlated with orbitofrontal activations to no-reward. CONCLUSIONS: The adolescent CUD group demonstrated distinctly different activation patterns during risky decision-making and reward processing (after risky decision-making) compared to both the controls with psychopathology and healthy control groups. These findings suggest that neural differences in risky decision-making and reward processes are present in adolescent addiction, persist after remission from first CUD treatment, and may contribute to vulnerability for adolescent addiction.
Drug and alcohol dependence 06/2013; · 3.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Success in many decision-making scenarios depends on the ability to maximize gains and minimize losses. Even if an agent knows which cues lead to gains and which lead to losses, that agent could still make choices yielding suboptimal rewards. Here, by analyzing event-related potentials (ERPs) recorded in humans during a probabilistic gambling task, we show that individuals' behavioral tendencies to maximize gains and to minimize losses are associated with their ERP responses to the receipt of those gains and losses, respectively. We focused our analyses on ERP signals that predict behavioral adjustment: the frontocentral feedback-related negativity (FRN) and two P300 (P3) subcomponents, the frontocentral P3a and the parietal P3b. We found that, across participants, gain maximization was predicted by differences in amplitude of the P3b for suboptimal versus optimal gains (i.e., P3b amplitude difference between the least good and the best gains). Conversely, loss minimization was predicted by differences in the P3b amplitude to suboptimal versus optimal losses (i.e., difference between the worst and the least bad losses). Finally, we observed that the P3a and P3b, but not the FRN, predicted behavioral adjustment on subsequent trials, suggesting a specific adaptive mechanism by which prior experience may alter ensuing behavior. These findings indicate that individual differences in gain maximization and loss minimization are linked to individual differences in rapid neural responses to monetary outcomes.
Journal of Neuroscience 04/2013; 33(16):7011-9. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine whether sleep deprivation would affect the discounting of delayed rewards, of rewards entailing the expense of effort, or both.
We measured rates of two types of reward discounting under conditions of rested wakefulness (RW) and sleep deprivation (SD). Delay discounting was defined as the willingness to accept smaller monetary rewards sooner rather than larger monetary rewards later. Effort discounting was defined as the willingness to accept smaller rewards that require less effort to obtain (e.g., typing a small number of letter strings backward) over larger but more effortful rewards (e.g., typing more letter strings to receive the reward). The first two experiments used a crossover design in which one session was conducted after a normal night of sleep (RW), and the other after a night without sleep (SD). The first experiment evaluated only temporal discounting whereas the second evaluated temporal and effort discounting. In the second experiment, the discounting tasks were repeatedly administered prior to the state comparisons to minimize the effects of order and/or repeated testing. In a third experiment, participants were studied only once in a between-subject evaluation of discounting across states.
The study took place in a research laboratory.
Seventy-seven healthy young adult participants: 20 in Experiment 1, 27 in Experiment 2, and 30 in Experiment 3.
Sleep deprivation elicited increased effort discounting but did not affect delay discounting.
The dissociable effects of sleep deprivation on two forms of discounting behavior suggest that they may have differing underlying neural mechanisms. CITATION: Libedinsky C; Massar SAA; Ling A; Chee W; Huettel SA; Chee MWL. Sleep deprivation alters effort discounting but not delay discounting of monetary rewards. SLEEP 2013;36(6):899-904.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The identification of objects and events in the environment depends on a variety of information-processing mechanisms that extend over time, however briefly. Consequently, there is not a complete dichotomy between perception and attention. Perceptual processing is initiated at the level of sensory receptors, but the contribution of attention is evident even at the earliest stages of identification. Psychophysical studies, for example, have demonstrated that attending to a specific display location facilitates both threshold-level detection and contextual integration (between a target and surrounding stimuli). These findings imply a modulating role of attention in what are usually considered early-level perceptual processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The social and neural sciences share a common interest in understanding the mechanisms that underlie human behaviour. However, interactions between neuroscience and social science disciplines remain strikingly narrow and tenuous. We illustrate the scope and challenges for such interactions using the paradigmatic example of neuroeconomics. Using quantitative analyses of both its scientific literature and the social networks in its intellectual community, we show that neuroeconomics now reflects a true disciplinary integration, such that research topics and scientific communities with interdisciplinary span exert greater influence on the field. However, our analyses also reveal key structural and intellectual challenges in balancing the goals of neuroscience with those of the social sciences. To address these challenges, we offer a set of prescriptive recommendations for directing future research in neuroeconomics.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To make adaptive decisions in a social context, humans must identify relevant agents in the environment, infer their underlying strategies and motivations, and predict their upcoming actions. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging, in conjunction with combinatorial multivariate pattern analysis, to predict human participants' subsequent decisions in an incentive-compatible poker game. We found that signals from the temporal-parietal junction provided unique information about the nature of the upcoming decision, and that information was specific to decisions against agents who were both social and relevant for future behavior.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Canonical models of rational choice fail to account for many forms of motivated adaptive behaviors, specifically in domains
such as food selections. To describe behavior in such emotion- and reward-laden scenarios, researchers have proposed dual-process
models that posit competition between a slower, analytic faculty and a fast, impulsive, emotional faculty. In this paper,
we examine the assumptions and limitations of these approaches to modeling motivated choice. We argue that models of this
form, though intuitively attractive, are biologically implausible. We describe an approach to motivated choice based on sequential
sampling process models that can form a solid theoretical bridge between what is known about brain function and environmental
influences upon choice. We further suggest that the complex and dynamic relationships between biology, behavior, and environment
affecting choice at the individual level must inform aggregate models of consumer choice. Models using agent-based complex
systems may further provide a principled way to relate individual and aggregate consumer choices to the aggregate choices
made by businesses and social institutions. We coin the term “brain-to-society systems” choice model for this broad integrative
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Complex economic decisions - whether investing money for retirement or purchasing some new electronic gadget - often involve uncertainty about the likely consequences of our choices. Critical for resolving that uncertainty are strategic meta-decision processes, which allow people to simplify complex decision problems, evaluate outcomes against a variety of contexts, and flexibly match behavior to changes in the environment. In recent years, substantial research has implicated the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) in the flexible control of behavior. However, nearly all such evidence comes from paradigms involving executive function or response selection, not complex decision-making. Here, we review evidence that demonstrates that the dmPFC contributes to strategic control in complex decision-making. This region contains a functional topography such that the posterior dmPFC supports response-related control, whereas the anterior dmPFC supports strategic control. Activation in the anterior dmPFC signals changes in how a decision problem is represented, which in turn can shape computational processes elsewhere in the brain. Based on these findings, we argue for both generalized contributions of the dmPFC to cognitive control, and specific computational roles for its subregions depending upon the task demands and context. We also contend that these strategic considerations are likely to be critical for decision-making in other domains, including interpersonal interactions in social settings.
European Journal of Neuroscience 04/2012; 35(7):1075-82. · 3.75 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Social contexts can have dramatic effects on decisions. When individuals recognize each other as coming from the same social group, they can coordinate their actions towards a common goal. Conversely, information about group differences can lead to conflicts both economic and physical. Understanding how social information shapes decision processes is now a core goal both of behavioural economics and neuroeconomics. Here, we describe the foundations for research that combines the theoretical framework from identity economics with the experimental methods of neuroscience. Research at this intersection would fill important gaps in the literature not addressed by current approaches in either of these disciplines, nor within social neuroscience, psychology or other fields. We set forth a simple taxonomy of social contexts based on the information content they provide. And, we highlight the key questions that would be addressed by a new 'identity neuroeconomics'. Such research could serve as an important and novel link between the social and natural sciences.
Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 03/2012; 367(1589):680-91. · 6.23 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Research in neuroscience faces the challenge of integrating information across different spatial scales of brain function. A promising technique for harnessing information at a range of spatial scales is multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data. While the prevalence of MVPA has increased dramatically in recent years, its typical implementations for classification of mental states utilize only a subset of the information encoded in local fMRI signals. We review published studies employing multivariate pattern classification since the technique's introduction, which reveal an extensive focus on the improved detection power that linear classifiers provide over traditional analysis techniques. We demonstrate using simulations and a searchlight approach, however, that non-linear classifiers are capable of extracting distinct information about interactions within a local region. We conclude that for spatially localized analyses, such as searchlight and region of interest, multiple classification approaches should be compared in order to match fMRI analyses to the properties of local circuits.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A core goal for marketers is effective segmentation: partitioning a brand's or product's consumer base into distinct and meaningful groups with differing needs. Traditional segmentation data include factors like geographic location, demographics, and shopping history. Yet, research into the cognitive and affective processes underlying consumption decisions shows that these variables can improve the matching of consumers with products beyond traditional demographic and benefit approaches. We propose, using managing a brand as an example, that neuroscience provides a novel way to establish mappings between cognitive processes and traditional marketing data. An improved understanding of the neural mechanisms of decision making will enhance the ability of marketers to effectively market their products. Just as neuroscience can model potential influences on the decision process—including pricing, choice strategy, context, experience, and memory—it can also provide new insights into individual differences in consumption behavior and brand preferences. We outline such a research agenda for incorporating neuroscience data into future attempts to match consumers to brands.
Journal of Consumer Psychology 01/2012; 22(1):143–153.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adolescence is often described as a period of heightened risk-taking. Adolescents are notorious for impulsivity, emotional volatility, and risky behaviors such as drinking and driving under the influence of alcohol. By contrast, we found that risk-taking declines linearly from childhood to adulthood when individuals make choices over monetary gambles. Further, with age we found increases in the sensitivity to economic risk, defined as the degree to which a preference for assured monetary gains over a risky payoff depends upon the variability in the risky payoff. These findings indicate that decisions about economic risk may follow a different developmental trajectory than other kinds of risk-taking, and that changes in sensitivity to risk may be a major factor in the development of mature risk aversion.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A primary advantage of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) over other techniques in neuroscience is its flexibility. Researchers have used fMRI to study a remarkable diversity of topics, from basic processes of perception and memory, to the complex mechanisms of economic decision making and moral cognition. The chief contributor to this experimental flexibility-indeed, to the growth of fMRI itself-has been the development of event-related experimental designs and associated analyses. The core idea of an event-related design, as first articulated in the late 1990s, is the separation of cognitive processes into discrete points in time (i.e., "events") allowing differentiation of their associated fMRI signals. By modeling brain function as a series of transient changes, rather than as an ongoing state, event-related fMRI allowed researchers to create much more complex paradigms and more dynamic analysis methods. Yet, this flexibility came with a cost. As the complexity of experimental designs increased, fMRI analyses became increasingly abstracted from the original data, which in turn has had consequences both positive (e.g., greater use of model-based fMRI) and negative (e.g., fewer articles plot the timing of activation). And, as event-related methods have become ubiquitous, they no longer represent a distinct category of fMRI research. In a real sense, event-related fMRI has now become, simply, fMRI.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Humans' endogenous testosterone concentrations vary over a number of temporal scales, with little known about variation longer than monthly cycles. Past studies of seasonal or circannual variation have principally used male participants and have produced inconsistent results. Thus, little is known about how testosterone concentrations fluctuate throughout the year, whether such variation differs between men and women, and whether there are influences of hormonal contraceptive use. The present study collected saliva samples from a large sample (N=718) of men and women, each collected at one time point within a relatively uniform distribution over a full calendar year. Both men and normally-cycling women displayed seasonal variation in salivary testosterone concentrations, such that testosterone concentrations are maximal in the fall and minimal in the summer. Notably, normally-cycling women had testosterone concentrations that were over 100% greater at their maximum in fall compared to their minimum in summer. Women using hormonal contraceptives not only had consistently lower endogenous testosterone concentrations, but also showed a flatter seasonal testosterone profile. The implications for studies of psychology and human behavioral endocrinology are discussed.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: How does the brain translate information signaling potential rewards into motivation to get them? Motivation to obtain reward is thought to depend on the midbrain [particularly the ventral tegmental area (VTA)], the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC), but it is not clear how the interactions among these regions relate to reward-motivated behavior. To study the influence of motivation on these reward-responsive regions and on their interactions, we used dynamic causal modeling to analyze functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data from humans performing a simple task designed to isolate reward anticipation. The use of fMRI permitted the simultaneous measurement of multiple brain regions while human participants anticipated and prepared for opportunities to obtain reward, thus allowing characterization of how information about reward changes physiology underlying motivational drive. Furthermore, we modeled the impact of external reward cues on causal relationships within this network, thus elaborating a link between physiology, connectivity, and motivation. Specifically, our results indicated that dlPFC was the exclusive entry point of information about reward in this network, and that anticipated reward availability caused VTA activation only via its effect on the dlPFC. Anticipated reward thus increased dlPFC activation directly, whereas it influenced VTA and NAcc only indirectly, by enhancing intrinsically weak or inactive pathways from the dlPFC. Our findings of a directional prefrontal influence on dopaminergic regions during reward anticipation suggest a model in which the dlPFC integrates and transmits representations of reward to the mesolimbic and mesocortical dopamine systems, thereby initiating motivated behavior.
Journal of Neuroscience 07/2011; 31(28):10340-6. · 6.91 Impact Factor