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The Hayden Lab studies how our decision-making hardware (our brains) compares different options and chooses the most rewarding ones. We record the activity of single neurons during real choices in order to parcel out the contributions of frontal lobe structures to reward-based choices.

The lab is particularly interested in the following questions:
  • Neuroeconomics: How do properties of neurons shape the principles of economics? How do single neurons guide decisions about risk and delay? Learn more

  • Self Control: What is self-control? How is the competition between temptation and abstention instantiated in the brain? Can we enhance self-control? Learn more

  • Curiosity: What motivates curiosity? Why will we devote our scarce mental resources to learn about events in our world, even if those events are only hypothetical? Learn more

  • Disease: What are the neural underpinnings of addiction and obsessive compulsive disorder? What computations are performed in the brain regions that are dysregulated in these diseases? Why is the same circuitry implicated in depression and Tourette Syndrome? Learn more

  • And More: Can neural activity tell us anything about free will? How does what we learn in the lab inform philosophy? Learn more

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© 2014 University of Rochester, Brain & Cognitive Sciences
Last modified April 2014
Lab News

Lab is awarded an R01 from NIDA to study neural mechanisms of reward-based decisions. Now hiring post-docs.

New lab papers published in PLoS Biology and Frontiers in Decision Neuroscience.

Grad student Tommy Blanchard graduates; will move to Harvard for a post-doc in July 2015.

Three lab members will be presenting posters at the 2015 Neurobiology Retreat.

Wow! Lab is mocked by Jimmy Kimmel!

New lab paper on the red effect in rhesus monkeys, by Kelly Hughes et al. Coverage in Wired.

With support from the Klingenstein-Simons foundation and the Templeton foundation, the lab will study the neuroscience and psychology of prospection.