Project 1: Processing Basic Social Rewards. R. Andersen, PI

This Project provides a systematic investigation of the basic computations at work in making simple social decisions, and contrasts them with simple non-social decisions (e.g., ones based on the value of juice or money, rather than the value of other people).  It sets the stage by investigating how social reward processing compares to nonsocial reward processing, focusing on two key steps of social decision making: computation of decision value and computation of experienced value.

Project 1 addresses five broad open questions in decision neuroscience: Are the two same basic computations of value, at the time of decision and at the time of experienced outcome, at work in making simple social decisions, as they are known to be in making non-social decisions? Are there populations of neurons in the amygdala and prefrontal cortex that encode these signals? Are these populations specialized in valuation of specific types of social stimuli, or do the same populations encode value for large classes of stimuli? Are there difference between humans and monkeys, or between single-unit neuron recordings, local field potentials and fMRI BOLD signal?  Are there any systematic individual differences in the properties of these systems?