Research in my Ecological Neuroscience Laboratory uses an interdisciplinary approach to study the interface between emotion and decision making. There are currently two main lines of research:
1) How do people process the emotions of others and how does this affect the type and amount of help they offer?
2) How do people make decisions about allocating resources like food, money, and material goods?
In both of these lines, we try to determine the proximate bases of the behavior (How do the central and peripheral nervous systems manifest the behavior?) as well as the ultimate bases of the behavior (Why does this behavior exist? How did it evolve?). In order to study these complex behaviors at multiple levels, we must use a variety of methods. Some examples include measuring:
- overt behavior (via computer responses or video coding)
- personality (via scales or questionnaires)
- emotion (via self-report and psychophysiology)
- brain activity (via PET and fMRI)