To live means to decide, to draw conclusions from available information, and to choose how to act. Our research agenda ranges from the interplay of cognitive and emotional systems to the psychology of inductive confirmation, from perceptual decision making and visual search to complex decision making in real life situations. To better understand the mechanisms underlying decision making and reasoning, CIMeC researchers combine behavioral work with state-of-the-art neuroimaging techniques (e.g. fMRI, MEG, TMS), modeling, and analyses that also involve neurophysiologists and economists. We examine how attention modulates representations of sensory stimuli as a source to bias decisions, how economics act to guide the perceptual encoding of environment, and how abstract decisions can be represented in the brain. Current research addresses whether there are mechanisms that operate on representations of decisions irrespective of the source of the information and independent of the way the outcome of the decision is signaled. Other work looks at the role of economic valuation and related brain systems in low-level perceptual representation in sensory cortex. We are using behavioral methods and formal models to study higher-level cognitive processes such as human reasoning, hypothesis-evaluation, and the search for and assessment of evidence. We are also interested in setting up tools to help communication between doctors and patients by developing appropriate procedures for weighing information in medical settings.
PIs working in this area