Decisions, decisions! Public lecture explores the biology of choice

“How the Brain makes Decisions” is the intriguing title of the inaugural public lecture of the New Systems and Computational Neuroscience Speaker Series, which features Oxford University Professor Matthew Rushworth. This free public lecture takes place today at 3pm in Room 103, Life Sciences Building on the Keele campus.

Rushworth will explore how the human brain makes decisions. A distinguished systems neuroscientist whose research on decision making has a wide influence on our understanding of the human mind, the lecture explores our capacity to make decisions from a neuroscience and a psychological perspective, but also from an economic and clinical perspective.

In his recent work, Rushworth discovered how brain areas in the frontal part of the brain act together to bring about a choice.  Brain activity in these areas relates directly to the cost and the prospective merit of a choice before the decision is actually made. Specifically, these brain activations are evident when we make social decisions, as well as during economic decisions about what and why to buy.

Rushworth brings together these social and economic aspects of our daily lives with an integrated neuroscience perspective that understands the brain as a complicated system that has to consider many lines of evidence whenever a decision is made. This perspective is of utmost importance to understand failures of decision making. This is evident in many psychiatric and neurological conditions when brain activity in the frontal lobes is compromised, leading to dysfunctional social and personal functioning. Rushworth’s research is ground-breaking with respect to the brain mechanisms underlying these conditions.

The talk will be the inaugural lecture of the New Systems and Computational Neuroscience Speaker Series at York University. The series attracts internationally distinguished and new rising researchers who combine systems neuroscience discoveries about the brain with theoretical insights about the human mind, how it learns, attends and makes decision in real life.

The Systems and Computational Neuroscience Speaker Series is jointly supported by the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Health and the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation at York University. 

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