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Invited-Symposium Sessions

Session #

Day

Date

Time

Location

Invited-Symposium Session #1

Sunday

April 14

10:15am – 12:00pm

Grand Ballroom

Invited-Symposium Session #2

Sunday

April 14

1:30 – 3:30pm

Grand Ballroom A

Invited-Symposium Session #3

Monday

April 15

10:15am – 12:00pm

Grand Ballroom

Invited-Symposium Session #4

Monday

April 15

3:00 – 4:30pm

Grand Ballroom

Invited-Symposium Session #5

Tuesday

April 16

10:15am – 12:00pm

Grand Ballroom

Invited-Symposium Session #6

Tuesday

April 16

3:00 – 4:30pm

Grand Ballroom

Invited-Symposium Session 1

Sunday, April 14, 10:15 am – 12:00pm, Grand Ballroom

Order and disorder in the emotion brain: Emotional regulation in health and disease

Chair: Richard J Davidson1; 1UW-Madison

Speakers: Richard J Davidson, James Gross, Regina Lapate, Karina S. Blair.

 

This symposium will feature recent research on the neural bases of emotional reactivity and regulation and illustrate the application of insights gleaned from basic research to the clinical arena in understanding fundamental abnormalities in mood and anxiety disorders. In addition, new approaches to the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, as well to the promotion of well-being in putatively psychologically “healthy” individuals, based upon knowledge of the neural bases of emotion regulation, will be considered. The following speakers will participate: Richard J. Davidson, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Organizer James Gross, Stanford University Regina Lapate,University of Wisconsin-Madison, Karina Blair, NIMH

Talk 1: Reactivity, regulation and recovery: The R’s of emotion regulation from the perspective of affective neuroscience

Richard J Davidson1; 1University of Wisconsin-Madison

Parsing the temporal dynamics of emotional responding provides insights into understanding how reactivity, regulation and recovery in response to affectively salient stimuli can be disentangled. This talk will consider each of these subcomponents and provide illustrations from studies with both normal individuals and patients with mood and anxiety disorders/symptoms. Emphasis will be placed on prefrontal-amygdala and prefrontal-striatal connectivity, as well as on the temporal dynamics of amygdala activation in response to affective stimuli. Finally, behavioral strategies that alter brain function to improve emotion regulation for alleviating symptoms and promoting well-being will be described.

Talk 2: Emotion Regulation: Conceptual and Empirical Foundations

James Gross1; 1Stanford University

The past decade has seen an extraordinary increase in research on emotion regulation. Work from dozens of laboratories around the world has converged to establish that emotion regulation plays a crucial role in determining a wide range of affective, cognitive, and social outcomes. My talk will have three parts. In the first part of the talk, I will define emotion regulation and describe a framework for understanding the role of emotion regulation in healthy adaptation. In the second part of the talk, I will review key behavioral findings which suggest that specific forms of emotion regulation have different consequences for affective, cognitive, and social functioning. In the third part of the talk, I will discuss the neural bases of one particularly important form of explicit emotion regulation, namely cognitive reappraisal, and consider how adaptive forms of emotion regulation such as reappraisal fail in the context of psychopathology.

Talk 3: Investigating emotional regulation: Integrating psychophysiology and neuroimaging with an individual-differences approach

Regina Lapate1; 1University of Wisconsin-Madison

The remarkable inter-individual heterogeneity that characterizes emotional responding makes individual differences a powerful tool for the study of emotional regulation processes and associated neural mechanisms. In this light, this talk will underscore the value of adopting an individual-differences approach to examine the neural bases and information-processing conditions promoting successful emotional regulation. In the first part of the talk, I will report on neuroimaging and psychophysiological data suggestive of high stability and generalizability of success in a particularly effective form of emotional regulation: cognitive reappraisal. In the next part of the talk, I will examine the regulatory consequences of processing emotion in conditions precluding cognitive reappraisal due to lack of awareness of the source of emotion. Specifically, I will review recent findings demonstrating a benefit of conscious awareness in preventing physiological responses to emotional provocation from biasing appraisal of unrelated neutral stimuli, including the neural bases underlying those effects. Finally, I will discuss the relevance of this work for understanding emotional circuitry function and dysfunction with improved specificity under a biologically informed and process-based approach.

Talk 4: Emotional regulation in patients with anxiety disorders

Karina S Blair1; 1NIHM

Clinical reports suggest that emotion regulation difficulties are seen in a variety of anxiety conditions; e.g., Generalized Social Phobia (GSP), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, the specific computational nature of this difficulty has only begun to emerge. This talk will focus on three studies of one form of emotional regulation; the role of dorsal prefrontal cortex (both medial and lateral regions) in attention control priming task relevant representations at the expense of emotional information. In the first study, patients with GSP, GAD and co-morbid GSP/GAD and healthy controls (HCs) performed an emotional reappraisal paradigm. Patients in all three groups showed reduced recruitment, relative to HCs, of dorsal anterior cingulate (dACC) and parietal cortices (PC) when explicitly regulating an emotional image. In the second study, patients with GSP, GAD and co-morbid GSP/GAD and healthy controls (HCs) performed the affective Stroop (AS) paradigm where task related priming of number representations implicitly reduces representation of emotional distracters. Again patients in all three groups showed reduced recruitment, relative to HCs, of dACC and PC as a function of task demands. In the third study, patients with PTSD, trauma controls (TCs) and HCs performed the AS. Patients with PTSD showed reduced recruitment of lateral frontal and PC when engaged by task demands while TCs showed indications of heightened recruitment of these regions. These data will be discussed in terms of emotional regulation deficits as a general risk factor for the development of a variety of anxiety conditions.

Invited-Symposium Session 2

Sunday, April 14, 1:30 – 3:00pm, Grand Ballroom A

Building blocks for language

Chair: Peter Hagoort1; 1Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging

Speakers: Simon Fisher, Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz, Kara Federmeier, Peter Hagoort

 

The language system is based on a language-ready brain whose development is instructed by genes for building such a brain, by a structural and functional organization of the newborn and infant brain that seems predisposed to develop a full-fledged language system, and by the recruitment of other than core areas in the perisylvian cortex to realize the communication potential of language. This symposium will focus on these building blocks for language in its full glory.

Talk 1: Decoding the genetics of speech and language

Simon Fisher1; 1MPI for Psycholinguistics; Nijmegen, the Netherlands

Researchers are beginning to uncover the neurogenetic pathways that contribute to our unparalleled capacity for spoken language. Initial clues come from identification of genetic risk factors implicated in developmental language disorders. The underlying genetic architecture is complex, involving a range of molecular mechanisms. For example, we have shown that rare protein-coding mutations of the FOXP2 transcription factor cause severe problems with sequencing of speech sounds, while common genetic risk variants of small effect size in genes like CNTNAP2, ATP2C2 and CMIP are associated with typical forms of language impairment. In my talk I will describe how investigations of genes like FOXP2, in humans, animals and cellular models, can unravel the complicated connections between genes and language. This depends on interdisciplinary research at multiple levels, from determining molecular interactions and functional roles in neural cell-biology all the way through to effects on brain structure and activity.

Talk 2: Neural basis of infants’ language ability

Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz1; 1INSERM, Neurospin; Saclay, France

The development of non-invasive brain imaging techniques has opened the black-box of the infant brain and recent studies have revealed the early and complex organization of the peri-sylvian areas from the onset of the cerebral circuitry before term. I will discuss how these new data shed light on the emergence of language in the human species.

Talk 3: Many structures from the same blocks: language processing dynamics in the two cerebral hemispheres

Kara Federmeier1; 1University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign & Beckmann Institute

Appreciating the meaning of a word, sentence, or larger discourse involves analyzing complex, often ambiguous perceptual inputs and linking them to information stored in long-term memory. Electrophysiological data suggest that meaning arises through a binding process, established via activity in temporal lobe areas and reflected in the N400 component, which creates an initial semantic representation built from activity in a distributed, multimodal set of brain areas. Although initiated by word perception, this process is not strictly feedforward. Top-down information built over time from context substantively changes processing by preactivating features of likely upcoming words. Strong temporal pressures are created by the fact that words are encountered at a rapid rate and that the binding process seems to be temporally constrained (N400 latency is strikingly invariant); information that is not available quickly enough cannot be incorporated immediately. Top-down processes that come on-line later thus serve to refine and revise the initial representation. The efficacy of top-down processing depends on the integrity of neural feedback connections, which appear to be different for the left and right cerebral hemispheres. In particular, left hemisphere dominance for language production attests to the presence of concept-to-form connections that are less well-developed in the right hemisphere. The consequence of this difference is a set of parallel, partially independent language comprehension systems. The multifaceted nature of meaning processing affords the brain important flexibility for dealing with varying processing circumstances, task demands, and resource availability.

Talk 4: The neurobiology of language beyond the information given

Peter Hagoort1; 1Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour & Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

Speakers and listeners do more than exchanging propositional content. They try to get things done with their utterances. For speakers this requires planning of utterances with knowledge about the listener in mind, whereas listeners need to make inferences that go beyond simulating sensorimotor aspects of propositional content. For example, the statement “It is hot in here” will usually not be answered with a statement of the kind “Yes, indeed it is 32 degrees Celsius”, but rather with the answer “I will open the window”, since the listener infers the speaker’s intention behind her statement. I will discuss a series of studies that identify the network of brain regions involved in audience design and inferring speaker meaning. Likewise for indirect replies that require conversational implicatures, as in A: “Did you like my talk?” to which B replies: “It is hard to give a good presentation.” I will show that in these cases the core language network needs to be extended with brain systems providing the necessary inferential machinery.

Invited-Symposium Session 3

Monday, April 15, 10:15am – 12:00pm, Grand Ballroom

Memory on time

Chair: Howard Eichenbaum1; 1Boston University

Speakers: Marc Howard, Lila Davachi, Wendy Suzuki, Howard Eichenbaum.

 

The idea that memories are organized in time was initially proposed by Aristotle and was a central feature of Tulving’s original characterization of episodic memory. There is now considerable evidence that the hippocampus plays a central role in the temporal organization of memory. Furthermore, recent studies are beginning to inform us about how memories are organized in time, and by what mechanisms the hippocampus plays its role in temporal organization. This symposium will review recent evidence from state-of-the-art research on this topic in human and animal studies.

Talk 1: What and when in the mind and brain

Marc Howard1; 1Boston University

The perception of time and memory are intimately linked. We consider the hypothesis that a variety of findings from cognitive and experimental psychology can be understood as operations on a gradually-changing representation of temporal history. Behavioral findings suggest three principles that this representation of temporal history should obey. First, at each moment this history contains information both about what stimuli were experienced and how far in the past they were experienced. Second, rather than falling off abruptly after some time scale, the history degrades gradually over hundreds or even thousands of seconds. Third, when an episodic memory is recovered, the brain “jumps back in time” to recover a previous state of the temporal history. We review neurophysiological evidence from a variety of species and brain regions and find evidence suggesting that each of these principles are respected in neural ensembles. These results suggest that it is possible to link cognition to neurophysiological findings across a variety of brain regions and domains of cognitive psychology.

Talk 2: Context and the human hippocampus

Lila Davachi1; 1New York University

Hippocampal function has long been associated with our ability to form, consolidate and retrieve episodic memories. Hippocampal processing is tightly linked with binding sequential representations to the context in which they were encountered allowing for recovery of the ‘what’ (i.e. episodic representations), ‘when’ (i.e. sequential information) and the ‘where’ (i.e. context). I will present a series of behavioral and fMRI experiments focused on understanding how we form mnemonic links across sequences of stimuli and how event boundaries disrupt sequential associations. Thus, representations spanning the same event become better integrated in memory (measured using explicit and implicit measures) and are associated with greater hippocampal neural similarity measures. Likewise, representations within the same event become reactivated during retrieval even when not deemed necessary for behavior. Thus, our perception of shared context modulates hippocampal neural similarity across sequential episodic representations and is related to how linked those representations become in memory. Further I will present evidence that hippocampal-prefrontal interactions support bridging across contexts to allow for higher-level temporal organization of our experiences.

Talk 3: Incremental timing in the monkey medial temporal lobe

Wendy Suzuki1; 1New York University

Recent work in my lab has focused on understanding how the brain encodes memory for temporal order, a critical component of episodic memory. To address this question, we recorded single unit activity and local field potentials from the medial temporal lobe including the hippocampus, the entorhinal cortex, the perirhinal cortex and visual area TE as monkeys performed a temporal order memory task. We found striking incremental timing signals from one item presentation to the next in the hippocampus. In contrast, the perirhinal cortex signaled the conjunction of items and their relative temporal order. These findings suggested that the perirhinal cortex might integrate timing information from the hippocampus with item information from visual area TE. We next asked if similar hippocampal incremental timing signals were also seen in other tasks that did not explicitly require memory for temporal order. When we examined hippocampal data from an object-place associative learning task we saw incremental timing signals very similar to the pattern seen in the temporal order memory task. In addition, we also identified incremental timing signals that also provided information about release type (early vs. late) as well as particular object-place combinations. These findings suggest that timing is a common signal conveyed by the hippocampus even in situations where memory for relative timing is not required.

Talk 4: Memory and time cells in the hippocampus

Howard Eichenbaum1; 1Boston University

Episodic memory is characterized by the temporal organization of events that constitute distinct experiences, and episodic memory depends on the hippocampus. Until recently, little has been known about how the hippocampus supports the temporal organization of memories. However, there are now descriptions of hippocampal ‘time cells’, principal neurons of the hippocampus that encode successive moments during an empty temporal gap between the key events. Time cells form qualitatively different representations (“re-time”) when the main temporal parameter is altered. Distinct ensembles of time cells encode the key events and disambiguate different sequences of events to compose unique, temporally-organized representations of specific experiences. Time cells also encode spatial information and behavioral events to differing extents, but temporal signals are observed even when spatial and behavioral influences are eliminated. Finally, temporal information for hippocampal time cells may arise in the medial entrorhinal cortex, already known for its representations of spatial contexts. These findings suggest that the hippocampus segments temporally organized memories into events that occur at each moment within a temporally defined context much the same as they represent important events that occur in particular locations in spatially defined environmental contexts.

Invited-Symposium Session 4

Monday, April 15, 3:00 – 4:30pm, Grand Ballroom

Functional Specificity in the Visual System

Chair: Nancy Kanwisher1; 1 McGovern Institute, MIT

Speakers: James Haxby, Doris Tsao, David Pitcher, Josef Parvizi.

 

The visual system has been a primary battleground for one of the central debates in cognitive neuroscience: are some regions of the brain engaged selectively in a particular high-level mental process, or are all brain regions outside primary sensory and perceptual regions broadly engaged in many different mental processes? To address this question we will invite some of the major contributors to each of these views.

Talk 1: Distributed representation in the human visual system

James Haxby1; 1Dartmouth College

Visual cortical fields can be modeled as high-dimensional representational spaces. We model these spaces using a new algorithm, hyperalignment, that affords transformation of individual brains’ voxel spaces into common, high-dimensional model spaces. Projecting individual data into common model spaces affords between-subject multivariate pattern (MVP) classification of fine distinctions among brain responses to faces, animals, and objects that equals or exceeds within-subject classification. Data in common model space coordinates can be projected back into the cortical topography of an individual’s brain using the transpose of the transformation matrix for that subject. Building models with general validity across stimuli and across experiments requires broad sampling of visual stimuli, which we demonstrate using responses measured while subjects watch a full-length action movie. Models based on responses to still images from a moderate number of categories do not have general validity. Thus, category perception experiments do not provide adequate data for modeling the representational space in ventral temporal visual cortex. Category-selective regions are preserved in the model as single dimensions that reflect the relevant category contrast. The topographies associated with these dimensions agree well with the boundaries of individual-specific category-selective regions. The high-dimensional model, however, also shows that these regions have finer-scale topographies within them that afford fine distinctions among stimulus representations that are not accounted for by models based on category-selective regions. Thus, although category-selective regions are significant features of the high-dimensional model, they are only subspaces that provide an insufficient basis for models of visual stimulus representation in ventral temporal visual cortex.

Talk 2: Systems for Category-Selective processing in the macaque

Doris Tsao1; 1CalTech

fMRI studies in the mid and late 1990s described an area in the human brain that showed strongly increased blood flow in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments when people viewed pictures of faces compared to pictures of objects (1). This seemed to offer an ideal potential preparation for tackling the problem of how the brain extracts global visual form: a small piece of brain specialized to encode a single visual form. Thus, 12 years ago, Winrich Freiwald and I began a journey into exploring the neural basis of face processing. We decided to look for a face-selective area in macaque monkeys, reasoning that it would not be unreasonable to find such a region in monkeys, since face recognition is also integral to macaques—and most importantly, if we did find such a region, then we could target an electrode to the region (something not possible in humans) and directly record from individual neurons to ask how they are encoding faces. In my talk, I will discuss the anatomical and functional organization of the macaque face processing system, as well as the more recently discovered macaque scene processing system. How are regions within these two systems system connected to each other and the rest of the brain? What representations are used in face and scene-selective regions? What is the contribution of different regions to behavior? What information is communicated between regions?

Talk 3: TMS evidence for category-selective cortical regions in human extrastriate cortex

David Pitcher1; 1Brain and Cognition, National Institute of Mental Health

Neuropsychological patients exhibiting category-selective visual agnosias have provided unique insights into the cognitive functions of the human brain but such case studies are exceptionally rare. To overcome the paucity of patients exhibiting category-selective deficits I have been using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to transiently disrupt face, object and human body perception in neurologically normal experimental subjects. Results support a modular account of cortical organization in which category-selective brain regions contribute solely to discrimination of their preferred category. Follow-up studies, that exploited the temporal precision of TMS, reveal the temporal dynamics underlying visual object perception in human occipitotemporal cortex.

Talk 4: Human Visual Numeral Area

Josef Parvizi1; 1Stanford University

Is there an area within the human visual system that has a preferential response to numerals as there are for faces, words, and scenes? We addressed this question using intracranial electrophysiological recordings and observed significantly higher response in the high-frequency broadband range to visually presented numerals, compared to orthographically similar (i.e., letters and false fonts) or semantically and phonologically similar stimuli (i.e., number-words and non-number words). This preferential response had anatomically consistent location in the inferior temporal gyrus (ITG) and anterior to the temporo-occipital incisure. This region lies within or close to the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signal-dropout zone caused by the nearby petrous bone and venous sinuses – an observation that explains prior negative findings in the fMRI studies of preferential response to numerals. Since visual numerals are culturally dependent symbols that are only learned through education, our novel finding of anatomically localized preferential response to such symbols provides yet another example of acquired category specific responses in the human visual system.

Invited-Symposium Session 5

Tuesday, April 16, 10:15am – 12:00pm, Grand Ballroom

Networking Attention

Chair: Anna Nobre1; 1University of Oxford

Speakers: Michael I Posner, Sabine Kastner, Anna C Nobre, Earl K Miller.

 

Attention is a core aspect of our mental life, at the centre stage of cognitive neuroscience. This symposium brings together scientists working with different methods and at different levels of analysis to provide a contemporary view of the scope and properties of attention-related functions, and the mechanisms that make our cognition selective, flexible and adaptive.

Talk 1: Attention Networks Past and Future

Michael I Posner1; 1University of Oregon

Fifty years ago it was sufficient to show that attention changed certain operations in the information-processing stream between stimulus and response. Twenty years ago it became possible to implicate specific brain areas. Today papers examine putative brain networks that carry out some of the functions ascribed to attention and trace their activation and synchrony in real time. These networks are present in infancy but a long developmental process involving changes in connectivity is required to reach their adult state. Individual children and adults differ in the efficiency of attention networks in part due to different genetic polymorphisms that operate in interaction with environmental influences. The efficiency of attention networks can be improved by practice, and by changing the brain state in which they operate. Looking to the future, we should be able to foster the development of these networks, locate aspects that may be deficient in certain people and test methods designed to improve or eliminate the deficiencies.

Talk 2: Neural Mechanisms of Attention Control in the Primate Brain

Sabine Kastner1; 1Princeton University

Selective attention mechanisms route behaviorally relevant information through large-scale cortical networks. While there is evidence that populations of cortical neurons synchronize their activity to preferentially transmit information about attentional priorities, it is unclear how cortical synchrony across a network is accomplished. Based on its anatomical connectivity with the cortex, we hypothesized that the pulvinar, a thalamic nucleus, regulates cortical synchrony. To test this idea, we mapped pulvino-cortical networks within the visual system using diffusion tensor imaging and simultaneously recorded spikes and field potentials from these interconnected network sites in monkeys performing a visuo-spatial attention task. Here we show that the pulvinar synchronized activity between two interconnected cortical areas according to attentional allocation, suggesting not only a critical role for the thalamus in attentional selection, but more generally in regulating information transmission across visual cortex.

Talk 3: Attention at the Interface between Memory and Perception

Anna C Nobre1; 1University of Oxford

Top-down biases that prioritise the selection and integration of some events over others in the information-processing stream are a hallmark of selective attention. In most empirical work and theoretical models, biases are derived from the sensory environment and operate upon incoming sensory signals. However, arguably, the most prevalent source of predictive biases about relevant events to unfold is past experience stored as long-term memories. Building on the contextual-cueing and spatial orienting paradigms, we developed tasks to investigate whether and how long-term memories bias perception. Behavioural evidence confirms that memories significantly enhance perceptual discrimination and response speeds for target items occurring within remembered spatial contexts. Brain imaging suggests the involvement of the hippocampus, as well as the fronto-parietal network in mediating spatial contextual memory biases, and electrophysiological recordings reveal modulation of oscillatory activity regulating visual excitability in anticipation of target events. Overall, the findings cast long-term memories as proactive mental functions flexibly and dynamically adapting our interactions with the environment from early perceptual stages.

Talk 4: Attention is Rhythmic

Earl K Miller1; 1Massachusetts Institute of Technology

How are some thoughts favored over others? A wealth of data at the level of single neurons has yielded candidate brain areas and mechanisms for our best understood model: visual attention. Recent work has naturally evolved toward efforts at a more integrative, network, understanding. It suggests that focusing attention arises from interactions between widespread cortical and subcortical networks that may be regulated via their rhythmic synchronization. This could extend to all cognitive processes, suggesting our brain does not operate continuously, but rather discretely, with pulses of activity routing packets of information. Such discrete cycles would provide a backbone for coordinating computations (and their results) across disparate networks. However, it comes at a cost: it’s naturally limited in bandwidth; only so many things can be computed or carried in a single oscillatory cycle. This can explain the most fundamental property of conscious thought, its limited capacity, which is the reason why we evolved attention in the first place.

Invited-Symposium Session 6

Tuesday, April 16, 3:00 – 4:30pm, Grand Ballroom

Emerging models of human and animal decision-making

Chair: Paul Glimcher1; 1NYU

Speakers: Michael Platt, Matthew Rushworth, Antonio Rangel, Elizabeth Phelps.

 

Over the course of the last 25 years cognitive neuroscientist have gone from knowing next to nothing about how humans and animals make simple decisions to having a fairly comprehensive understanding of what is coded and where when decisions are being made. From these insights a number of powerful models of how the brain makes decisions has emerged. We propose to survey what is known and to identify the frontiers that will be engaged in the next 25 years.

Talk 1: Neuronal Mechanisms of Decision Making in the Primate Brain

Michael Platt1; 1Duke University

Neuronal Mechanisms of Decision Making in the Primate Brain Abstract. A major challenge for neuroeconomics is to provide biological explanations of decision making that cohere across systems, circuit, cellular, and molecular levels of neural structure and function. This talk will review neurophysiological evidence for the computation of basic economic variables, such as value, utility, and risk, by single neurons in the primate brain. This evidence will be situated within a broader set of basic neurobiological mechanisms that appear to subserve a wide array of functions. The existence of similar mechanisms in a wide array of animals will be marshaled to endorse the idea that basic mechanisms are conserved and repurposed by evolution to generate adaptive behavior and cognition.

Talk 2: Neural mechanisms for foraging

Matthew Rushworth1; 1University of Oxford

Often when we design experiments to look at decision-making we ask our subjects to choose between limited numbers of options that are all presented simultaneously. When animals are foraging it is thought that they usually only encounter a single option at a time. The key decision is, therefore, whether or not this option is sufficiently valuable that it is worth engaging with or whether the environment is sufficiently rich that it would be better to continue searching for something better. The effort involved in making these different choices must also be considered. The anterior cingulate cortex carries three signals that are needed for such decisions – a representation of the value of any option that might be engaged with, a representation of the average value of alternatives in the current environment, and a representation of the cost of the actions. Considering the ecological context in which decisions arise also provides a new perspective on other signals in the anterior cingulate cortex, for example signals that are related to the encoding of risk.

Talk 3: The neuroeconomics of simple choice

Antonio Rangel1; 1CalTech

Neuroeconomics seeks to characterize the computational and neurobiological basis of different types of decisions. This talk will discuss a series of studies designed to understand how the brain makes simple choices, such as whether to choose and apple or an orange, as well as the quality of the resulting decision. This includes understanding how the brain assigns value to stimuli at the time of choice, how values are compared to make a choice, how they induce the motor movements necessary to implement the choices, and how these basic processes extend to more complex choice situations.

Talk 4: The Neuroeconomics of Emotion and Decisions

Elizabeth Phelps1; 1New York University

One popular theory of emotion and decision-making suggests that there are competing systems of emotion and reason that may drive choices. In contrast to this view, recent research in affective neuroscience has highlighted a modulatory role for emotion’s influence on a range of cognitive functions, including perception, attention and memory. In this talk, I will outline how emotion’s influence on decision-making may also best be captured as a modulation of the value computation. Specifically, I will present data suggesting that the emotional reaction to decision options or outcomes is linked to choice behavior, and how modifying emotional responses may change the choice. Finally, I will discuss the overlap in the neural systems of emotion and decision-making with circuits typically implicated in affective learning and emotion regulation.