Presented by Jessica Laird, Brenna Krieger, and Philip Shiu

Decision-making is part of our daily routine, but what is really going on in our heads? This lecture will explore the science of decision-making from the perspectives of Economics and Neurobiology. First, we’ll learn how economists examine decision-making when there is a tradeoff between immediate and future happiness. For example, how do people compare the present cost of specialized training with the benefit of increased wages in the future? By assigning numbers to these costs and benefits, economists can make mathematical models to predict people’s choices. Second, we’ll see how neurobiologists can look at brain activity during decision-making activities, to discover what parts of the brain contribute to this complex process. Last, we’ll take a closer look at the individual cells inside our brains, neurons. Neurons work together to let us perceive our world and react to it—a process that involves “decisions” for both the cells and the whole organism. By examining the neurons involved in decision-making in a model organism, the microscopic worm C. elegans, we can discover how the actions of individual neurons lead to behavior.

Lecture Part 1

Lecture Part 2

Lecture Part 3

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