We are very happy to congratulate Yoanna Kurnianingsih on being awarded a 'Best Presentation" award at the recent National Psychology Graduate Students Conference!
Her talk was entitled: The Neural Basis of Subjective Valuation.
We will have three projects presenting at the upcoming Society for Neuroscience conference - we look forward to discussing these projects when you come by! (Titles & author lists just below, with abstracts further down).
- Moral judgment modulation by disgust priming through altered fronto-temporal functional connectivity. O. MULLETTE-GILLMAN, Y. A. KURNIANINGISH, H. ONG, F.-C. QUEVENCO, K. KWOK, J. Z. LIM; Mon, Nov 17, 1:00 - 5:00 PM, 458.04/SS30 - Poster 458. Human Decision-Making: Social and Emotional Factors
- Pre-existing brain states predict risky choices. Y.-F. HUANG, C. SOON, O. A. MULLETTE-GILLMAN, P.-J. HSIEH; Wed, Nov 19, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 743.01/RR45 - Poster 743. Human Decision-Making: Risk, Effort, and Loss
- Risk preferences and choice strategies: Interrelationships across gains and losses domains. O. A. MULLETTE-GILLMAN, Y. KURNIANINGSIH; Wed, Nov 19, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 743.03/RR47 - Poster 743. Human Decision-Making: Risk, Effort, and Loss
Moral judgment modulation by disgust priming through altered fronto-temporal functional connectivity. O. MULLETTE-GILLMAN, Y. A. KURNIANINGISH, H. ONG, F.-C. QUEVENCO, K. KWOK, J. Z. LIM; Mon, Nov 17, 1:00 - 5:00 PM, 458.04/SS30 - Poster 458. Human Decision-Making: Social and Emotional Factors
We investigated the neural mechanisms of emotional modulation of moral judgments utilizing a paradigm known to have robust priming effects (Ong et al., 2014), within this, disgust priming alters the moral acceptability of actions as a bi-directional function of individual sensitivity to disgust. Here, we show that the change in behaviorally-rated acceptability covaries with individual differences in neural activations in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC). Through functional connectivity analyses, we show that the emotional prime results in significantly reduced connectivity between dmPFC and bilateral temporal-parietal junction (TPJ). Our findings suggest a model through which moral decision making is the product of the integration of deliberative reasoning with social and emotional information. Participants (N=19) underwent fMRI scanning while judging the acceptability of actions in a set of moral dilemmas. Dilemmas always involved harming one person so as to save the lives of multiple others. Prior to each trial, subjects were subliminally primed with a face displaying either a disgusted or neutral expression. Post-scan, subjects completed the Disgust Sensitivity (DS) Scale - Revised (Olatunji et al., 2007). Pooling these subjects with our prior participants (N=74) (Ong et al., 2014), revealed an overall significant function between the priming effect and DS (r = .35, p < .01), although the relationship did not reach significance in the smaller neuroimaging sample alone. This function revealed bi-directional modulation of moral acceptability by presentation of disgust stimuli - high sensitivity to disgust enhances moral acceptability while low sensitivity reduces it. No significant activation differences were found between the disgust and neutral conditions during the priming or decision phases. Using the behavioral change in acceptability due to priming (disgust - neutral) as a between-subject covariate, we found significant modulation in the dmPFC, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and right middle temporal cortex. PPI analyses of the dmPFC ROI at the time of priming revealed that the dmPFC ROI was functionally connected with bilateral TPJ during the neutral, but not the disgust prime, with the difference in weights between these conditions correlated with DS scores (r = .55; p < .05). Examining the specificity of this effect, the dmPFC was also functionally connected to one other cluster, including the lateral occipital cortex, with connectivity unaltered by the emotionality of the subliminal faces.
Pre-existing brain states predict risky choices. Y.-F. HUANG, C. SOON, O. A. MULLETTE-GILLMAN, P.-J. HSIEH; Wed, Nov 19, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 743.01/RR45 - Poster 743. Human Decision-Making: Risk, Effort, and Loss
Rational decision-making models assume that people resolve an economic problem based on its properties and the underlying utility. Here we challenge this view by examining whether pre-stimulus endogenous neuronal fluctuations can bias economic decisions. We recorded subjects’ pre-stimulus neural activity patterns with fMRI before they chose between pairs of certain outcomes and risky gambles. Our results indicate that activities in the brain regions associated with uncertainty and reward processing can bias subsequent risky decision making, showing that these neuronal activities are involved in biasing subsequent choice selection. This finding challenges theories which propose that choices merely reveal stable underlying distributions of hedonic utility. Endogenous brain states of this sort might originate from a systematic cause or a stochastic type of neural noise, which can be construed as contextual factors that shapes people’s decision making.
Risk preferences and choice strategies: Interrelationships across gains and losses domains. O. A. MULLETTE-GILLMAN, Y. KURNIANINGSIH; Wed, Nov 19, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 743.03/RR47 - Poster 743. Human Decision-Making: Risk, Effort, and Loss
We investigated the relationships between individual risk preferences and choice strategies across the gains and losses domains during economic decision making. While prior theories and empirical studies suggest people are risk averse for gains and risk seeking for losses (Kahneman and Tversky, 1979, 2000), it is unclear whether preferences across domains are correlated - Are risk preferences in the losses domain a simple transform of preferences in the gains domain? Additionally, how does the option information that participants utilize in making their choices relate to their preferences? Here, we find that preferences are uncorrelated across domains, and that choice strategies, while correlated across domains, are correlated with risk preference in the losses domain, but not in the gains domain. Participants (N=50, 24 males, age = 23.4 ± 2.9 yrs) performed a two-alternative forced choice monetary decision task, with choices between certain and gamble options with varied absolute value and probability. Risk preferences for each domain were quantified through psychophysical indifference point analyses to produce domain-specific risk premium metrics. Choice strategy was quantified in each domain to determine the relative influence on choice behavior of two competing trial factors: 1) the relative expected value (rEV) of the options and 2) the probability of winning the gamble (pWin). In the gains domain participants were significantly risk averse (t44 = 4.97, p <.01). In the losses domain, individuals were significantly less averse than in the gains domain (t43 = 3.70, p <.01), but, contrary to prior theory were still, on average, weakly risk averse (t47 = 2.95, p < .01). Importantly, within participants there was no correlation between risk preferences across the gains and losses domains (r = -.007, p =.96). For choice strategies, across domains we found significantly higher use of the maximizing rEV information for losses than gains, with a significant correlation across domains (r = .51, p<.01). Interestingly, the relationship between preferences and choice strategies were differential across domains, with no significant relationship in gains (r = .04, p =.78), but a strong correlation in the losses domain (r = -.62, p <.01). The purpose of this study was to explicitly examine the interrelationships between preferences and strategies across domains within an intermixed task. Currently, with fMRI, we are leveraging this pattern of dissociable preferences (between domains) and choice strategies to preferences (within domains), to examine the neural architecture responsible for the value to utility transformations that are the basis of choice behavior.
October 15th, 2013.
TED*NTU: The Luck Factor
Exploring the curious role of chance, coincidence, and probability in our lives.
We are very pleased to have several posters accepted for the Society for Neuroeconomics conference this year! We hope that everyone is able to stop by and chat at the conference, and we will post up the materials afterwards.
- Lim J, Ong HH, Kurnianingsih YA, Quevenco FC, Kwok K, Mullette-Gillman OA. Disgust modulation of moral decision-making: Bridging brain and behavior. Society for Neuroeonomics Annual Conference, Lausanne Switzerland 2013. (Accepted Poster)
- Huang YF, Soon CS, Mullette-Gillman OA, Hsieh PJ. Pre-existing brain states predict risky choices. Society for Neuroeonomics Annual Conference, Lausanne Switzerland 2013. (Accepted Poster)
- Kurnianingsih YA, Leong RLF, Sam KY, Liu JCJ, Huettel SA, Chee MWL, Mullette-Gillman OA. Differential modulation of economic decision making by aging, sleep deprivation, and cognitive fatigue. Society for Neuroeonomics Annual Conference, Lausanne Switzerland 2013. (Accepted Poster)
- Taya F, Gupta S, Farber I, Mullette-Gillman OA. Preference alterations induced by choice belief. Society for Neuroeonomics Annual Conference, Lausanne Switzerland 2013. (Accepted Poster)
Please see the JC website - http://tinyurl.com/CognNeuro
for sign-up and scheduling information as we prepare to for the AY2013-14 iteration of the Cognitive Neuroscience Journal Club.
Effects of aging on economic decision making across both gain and loss domains in healthy older adults. Summary: We find no effects in the gains domain, but in the losses domain older adults are more risk averse, show lower employment of effortful-maximizing strategies, and, in support of the accumulation of wisdom across the lifespan, older adults show a high correlation between risk preferences and strategy - the more they utilize the maximizing strategy the more risk neutral (rational) their preferences were. In contrast, young adults show a much greater variability between preferences and strategies.
ODhanielLab is looking for new lab members!
These positions include a full time-research assistantship (post-baccalaureate) position, as well as research internships (full or part-time unpaid positions).
Ideal candidates should have a strong interest in Cognitive Neuroscience / Neuroeconomics research and a background that provides for rapid training in running behavioral and fMRI experiments, and assisting in data analysis (including statistics, research methodologies, and computer programming).
This is an excellent opportunity for individuals interested in gaining research experience before continuing to graduate programs in Cognitive Neuroscience, Neuroeconomics, Psychology, or Economics.
ODhanielLab is an interdisciplinary research lab examining the neural basis of human decision making. Asst Prof. O'Dhaniel Mullette-Gillman holds a joint appointment with NUS-Psychology and Duke-NUS Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders Programme, as well as being a Principle Investigator in the NUS-Neurobiology programme and SINAPSE Institute for Cognitive Science and Neurotechnologies.
Interested candidates should email odhaniel @ nus.edu.sg, including their CV, a statement of research interests, two references, and a copy of their school transcript.
Hope to hear from you!
Freshman seminar to be offered at National University of Singapore in Spring 2013:
will explore the fascinating fields of Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroeconomics.
By exploring recent research, we will examine how our brains make decisions –
examining the neurobiology of gambling, wine evaluation, dieting, and even how
hormones and genes can alter how you respond to others (altruism and morality).
We will start off with an initial orientation on the brain and research
techniques, and then take a discussion level approach to exploring these
intriguing experiments. The focus will be the use of primary literature to
facilitate critical thinking skills. Students will write weekly reaction papers
and lead presentation on one paper.
We are now a Principal Investigator of the SINAPSE institute
. or here
"Singapore offers an unusual and impressive environment and resources to launch an exciting new initiative with potential to be a world-class program to bring engineers, basic and clinical scientists with a common goal of making an impact on society...."