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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

Ben Hayden and Jessica Cantlon will co-direct University of Rochester's new Center for the Origins of Cognition. This semester's speakers will include Jesse Goldberg, Pierre-Yves Oudeyer, and Dan Everett.

New paper by Brie Sleezer, Giuliana Loconte, and Megh Castagno on contributions of OFC to set-shifting published in European Journal of Neuroscience!

New paper with Habiba and James Marshall, Angelo Pirrone, and Tom Stafford using models inspired by honeybees to understand primate choice to be published in Decision!

Preprint of new manuscript by Blanchard, Piantadosi, and Hayden on (non)-categorical responses in neurons on bioRxiv.