How We Decide: using neuroscience and economics to understand choice

Professor Paul W. Glimcher, Julius Silver Professor of Neural Science, Economics and Psychology at New York University

Co-presented with the School of Economics

13 June, 2014

Over the course of the last decade scientists have learned a tremendous amount about how our brain makes choices. Whether choosing a dinner, a spouse or an investment, we now know where in the brain our likes and dislikes are encoded, how we represent alternatives, and even how we choose. Our understanding of these processes is now at the point where we can reliably use brain scanners to predict what (and who) any individual likes and even how much they are willing to pay for something. Perhaps even more interesting, we can see how the precise architecture of the brain leads us to systematic mistakes in our decision-making. An understanding of these limitations can help us to develop decision-making approaches which help us avoid these errors - errors which we often later regret. help us avoid these errors - errors which we often later regret.

In his lecture Professor Glimcher, perhaps the leading world expert on the neurobiology and economics of human decision making, will explain how our brains make choices, for good and ill, and how an understanding of those brain mechanisms will revolutionise economic theory.

Professor Paul Glimcher

Professor Paul W. Glimcher is Julius Silver Professor of Neural Science, Economics and Psychology at New York University and Director, Center for Neuroeconomics, NYU. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The Association for Psychological Science and the McKnight, Whitehall, Klingenstein and McDonnell Foundations, and Investigator of the National Eye Institute, The National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institute on Aging. He was the founding President of the Society for Neuroeconomics.

Professor Glimcher has published in Nature, Science, Neuron, Journal of Neurophysiology, American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Games and Economic Behavior, Vision Research, Experimental Brain Research, MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Science and numerous edited volumes. His books include Decisions, Uncertainty and, the Brain: The Science of Neuroeconomics (2003), winner of the American Association of Publishers Medical Sciences Book of the Year, 2003; Neuroeconomics. Decision Making and the Brain (2009) winner of the American Association of Publishers Economics and Social Sciences Book of the Year Awards, 2009; Foundations of Neuroeconomic Analysis (2011); and Neuroeconomics. Decision Making and the Brain (2nd ed. 2013). Professor Glimcher’s work has been covered by the popular press in the Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, Money Magazine, New Scientist, and on National Public Radio, The BBC, Le Monde, Die Welt, Frankfurter Allgemeine, La Vanguardia, Fox Newsand NOVA amongst others.