Research Group

„Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Decision Making“

Funded by the Ministerium für Innovation, Wissenschaft und Forschung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen

The research group “neurocognitive mechanisms of decision making“ examines the neural processes involved in the coding of and learning from performance feedback. The so-called reward system mainly involves the dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain, the basal ganglia and parts of the prefrontal cortex. Dopamine neurons code a reward prediction error, i.e. the difference between expected and actually obtained outcome. If the consequences of a behavior are better than expected, DA neuron firing increases and the frequency of the behavior is enhanced. For worse-than-expected outcomes, firing decreases, as does the frequency of the behavior. Within the research group the work focuses on three questions: 1) Which neural structures are involved in the coding of reward/performance feedback prediction and in the coding of prediction errors? 2) To what extent do the neural mechanisms for learning from positive and negative feedback differ? 3) Are the neural processes for active learning from feedback comparable to those for learning by observed feedback in another person?

 

Center for Mind, Brain and Cognitive Evolution

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