Current Specific Research Projects

A neuro-computational investigation of value precision

Dr. Mael Lebreton - FNS Ambizione

The dominant theory in neuro-economics suggest that, in order to make economic choices, an individual must first attribute expected affective values to available options –i.e. how much she likes those options-, and then select the option with the highest value. However, the affective value of available options may not always be known for certain (e.g. when one is unfamiliar with an option), which means that value estimations incorporate a notion of uncertainty –or precision.

Despite the fact that value precision might have important consequences in decision-making, this aspect of valuation has been neglected in the literature. This research proposal offers to set-up new experimental paradigms to study the role and the neural bases of value precision, using an interdisciplinary combination of behavioral experiments, computational modelling, and functional neuroimaging. Ultimately, the research output is expected to give a better understanding of the behavioral, computational and neural processes in human affective decision-making, so as to shed new lights on why our behavior seem so often maladaptive or irrational. This has fundamental implications for neuroscience, psychology and economics, but may also contribute to delineate new angles to tackle societal and clinical issues.


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