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Pre Conference Neuroeconomics Lunch Lecture

SABE Lake Tahoe 2014

Alison Harris

"Using Event-Related Potentials to Study Brain Dynamics of Decision-Making

July 21, 2014

Harrahs Automobile Museum
10 Lake St, Reno, NV 89501

The Speaker:

Alison Harris is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Claremont McKenna College and a visiting associate at California Institute of Technology.  Her areas of expertise are decision neuroscience, neuroeconomics, and cognitive neuroscience.  After receiving her PhD in psychology at Harvard University, she worked for four years as a post-doctoral researcher in at the University of Pennsylvania, where she obtain significant experience in experimental design.  Her recent publications are appearing to the top journals of neuroscience. 

The Topic:

From selecting a snack in the supermarket to allocating financial resources, our lives are filled with choices. Emerging research from the field of neuroeconomics suggests that a common neural circuitry underlies such disparate decisions: in particular, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) is associated with subjective value across a wide variety of tasks and goods. Here I will discuss how the high temporal resolution and whole-brain coverage of event-related potentials (ERP) enable us to measure neural signals related to value and decision-making over the time course of choice. Combined with advanced statistical and source reconstruction techniques, this novel approach reveals the emergence of neural activity correlated with subjective preference, localized to regions including vmPFC. Reflecting the integration of sensory attribute information, these value signals are also modulated by top-down goals (e.g., weight loss) through connections with dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Finally, markers of attentional deployment highlight the role of attention in modulating early perceptual responses in a goal-relevant fashion. Together these results highlight the utility of ERP in understanding the cortical dynamics of decision-making, providing a fuller picture of how neural signals of subjective value emerge in the time leading up to choice.

The Location: 

Bill Harrah was a prominent gaming pioneer who founded Harrah's Hotels and Casinos.  He assembled the largest and most historically significant collection of automobiles in the world, reaching approximately 1,400 vehicles at its peak.  After his death in 1978, Holiday Inns purchased Harrah's Hotels and Casinos and Harrah's Automobile Collection.  The announcement of plans to sell the collection led to a public outcry.  In response, Holiday Inns donated 175 cars and the research library to the future nonprofit museum.  At the time, it was the largest corporate philanthropic gift in U.S. history.  Holidays Inns sold the balance of the Harrah collection.   Through generous donations from the City of Reno Redevelopment Agency, the State of Nevada, and many individuals and organizations, the museum opened on November 5, 1989.    In March 2012, The National Automobile Museum (The Harrah Collection) was selected by Autoweek magazine as one of America's Five Greatest Automobile Museums. The collection now contains more than 200 exceptional vehicles, including vintage, classic and special interest automobiles, rare and one-of-a-kind wonders, dynamic race cars.  It is one of the finest horseless carriage collections in the world.

Cost (Including entry to the museum and lunch): $30

To Be Included:

Email Professor Mark Pingle and express your interest.  You will then be sent an email, so you can register for the lunch and pay.

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