Stephen M. Ross School of Business Leading in Thought and Action
Summer Workshop on Decision Neuroscience


How Neuroscience Can Inform Behavioral Decision Making Research: Overview, Methods and Applications
**PLEASE NOTE:  While we appreciate your interest, applications are no longer being accepted for this workshop!
We're including the information below for the benefit of our current roster of registered participants.
Workshop Participants: 
Refer to this site's Conference Schedule tab
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Jointly hosted by INSEAD and the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
Where: Ross School of Business
When:  August 21-23, 2009
Organizers:  James Bettman, Duke University
                         Joseph Kable, University of Pennsylvania
                         Hilke Plassmann, INSEAD
                         Carolyn Yoon, University of Michigan


The workshop aims to bring together researchers and graduate students from neuroscience, behavioral decision making and marketing to provide:

  • methodological training for students
  • a state of the art overview in the nascent field of decision neuroscience for students
  • opportunities to network with (current and future) researchers in decision neuroscience

Scholars in behavioral decision making who are interested in neuroscience have by now reached a critical mass (evidenced by regular special sessions, roundtable discussions, symposia on this topic during major conferences such as ACR , BDRM, JDM since 2003, about 20 publications in top marketing and neuroscience journals). However, one of the conclusions from a roundtable discussion during the last Association for Consumer Research Conference was that it is extremely difficult for doctoral students in behavioral decision making to receive the necessary training in neuroscience and to start collaborations with neuroscientists. Only a few schools offer classes in both fields for students (Duke, Erasmus, NYU, and Caltech, the latter two target Ph.D. students in economics rather than marketing and decision sciences). The result is that most of the students interested in decision making lack the theoretical and methodological bases and of course hands-on experience in neuroscience. In turn, neuroscience students interested in economic decision making focus their attention mainly on economics rather than other fields that focus more on decision making such as consumer behavior, decision science and organizational behavior. The idea of this summer workshop  is to bring together students from all these fields.
  • Introduction to Neuroscience for Behavioral Decision Making Scholars (10-15 students): Special slots are reserved in the renowned fMRI training course (2 weeks) at University of Michigan. More information available at
  • Introduction to Behavioral Decision Making for Neuroscience Scholars (10-15 students): Half Day Overview
  • Joint Summer Workshop Program: 3 Days
         o   Talks on the following topics by top researchers in related fields:
      • Behavioral decision making theories of choice and neural basis of decision making related value signals
      • Role of emotion and motivation in decision making
      • Behavioral and neural underpinnings of obesity, addiction and other compulsive behaviors
      • Behavioral and neural basis of self control and emotion regulation
      • Neuroeconomics of intertemporal choice and behavioral decision making theories about choice 
      • Choice and decision making under risk and uncertainty
      • Psychological and neural basis of attention in decision making
      • Neural correlates of social and affective information processing
      • Neural basis of (brand) preference formation and development over the lifespan
    • Group work (one neuroscience & one behavioral student): Dvelopment of a joint project idea that will be presented at the end ofthe workshop
    • Social program in the evenings for networking and further iscussions for faculty and students (dinners)

Who should attend?

Students who are currently in Ph.D. programs in neuroscience, marketing, behavioral decision making, economics.  Students with limited training in the neurosciences will be expected to take the fMRI training course at the University of Michigan from August 10 to 21, 2009; they will be admitted automatically into both the workshop and the fMRI training course (i.e., they should not apply directly for the fMRI training course).  Those with neuroscience backgrounds but limited exposure to behavioral decision making research are not required to take the fMRI training course; however, they are expected to attend the half-day overview on "Introduction to Behavioral Decision Making for Neuroscientists" on August 21.

Costs and Financial Aid

Students are responsible for travel and lodging expenses. Breakfasts, lunches, and some dinners will be provided during the 3-day workshop. Limited travel funds were available for students who could not obtain sufficient travel support from their home institutions. Travel funds should have been requested with the application.


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