The Institute offers an interdisciplinary program of study in Social and Decision Neuroscience that prepares students to conduct research on the neurocomputational basis of decision-making and social interactions. In order to carry out cutting-edge research in this area, students need to acquire in-depth understanding of computational modeling, statistical methods, systems neuroscience, neural measuring methods such as fMRI, EEG or single unit recordings, as well as adequate understanding of related methods and results from the social sciences. The program is designed for students seeking faculty jobs in neuroscience, psychology, marketing, economics, political science or finance, or industry positions in the technology, data science, and finance fields.
Areas of Research
This program is characterized by interdisciplinary research at the frontier of neuroscience, psychology, economics, and political science. Examples of research topics of interest include the following:
- Computational and neurobiological foundations of simple choice in animals and humans.
- Computational and neurobiological basis of economic and political decision making.
- Neurocomputational basis of emotion and the impact on cognition and behavior.
- Neurobiological basis of social behavior in human and animal models.
- Neurobiological basis of moral judgment and decision-making.
- Applications of neuroscience to economics, finance, and political science.
Research is conducted in multiple laboratories spanning a wide range of experimental techniques—from behavioral experiments to single unit neurophysiology. Researchers also have access to two state-of-the-art facilities: the Caltech Brain Imaging Center, which contains various human and animal brain scanners, and the Social Science Experimental Laboratory, which contains state-of-the-art facilities for conducting behavioral economic experiments of group and market interactions.