Research Seminar 2016
Topic: Effect of social status on information transmission
Speakers: Oxana Bondarenko, Alexei Zakharov (NES and HSE)
Abstract: We investigate the effect of asymmetric social status on the transmission of information. We propose a (behavioural) laboratory experiment where social status is induced through a dictator game.
Then the same pair of players has two attempts to guess the state of the world upon observing private signals; for her second attempt, each player observes the other player's first attempt. We hypothetize that the second-stage decisions of low-status players will be more strongly affected by the first-stage decisions of the high-status players rather than vice versa. We also propose a preliminary experiment to find out which two-player game is better at inducing asymmetric social status.
Topic: “Visuospatial Biases as a Window Into Embodied Cognition”
Speaker: Andriy Myachykov (Northumbria University and HSE)
Presentation slides (PDF, 3.91 Mb)
Abstract: Existing random number generation studies demonstrate embodied attentional bias in spontaneous number production along the horizontal Mental Number Line with larger numbers produced on the right head and body turns and smaller numbers - on the left head and body turns (e.g., Loetscher, et al., 2008; Shaki & Fischer, 2014). Furthermore, research by Di Bono and Zorzi (2013) demonstrated a similar effect for other concepts that had been previously shown to rely on horizontal spatial mappings, such as letters. In my talk I will review this evidence and discuss the results of our own experiments where we modulated the random number generation paradigm to (1) random generation of words, to (2) to the means of manipulating attention different from turning the head, and (3) to assess simultaneous activation of more than one conceptual representations. In my talk, I will discuss this data from the point of the ATOM theory suggesting a general magnitude system shared by different conceptual domains (e.g., Walsh, 2015).
Title: Neural mechanisms of post-decisional spreading of alternatives: EEG study
Speaker: Marco Colosio
Abstract: Objective: Cognitive Dissonance (CD) theories state that preferences can be modulated by the mere act of choosing. According to CD theory (Festinger, 1957), a decision between two similarly valued alternatives creates a psychological tension (dissonance) that is reduced by a post-decisional re-evaluation of the alternatives, the chosen item being evaluated more positively and the rejected item more negatively. Some neuroimaging studies (see Izuma 2013, for a review) suggested that activity of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) underlies postdecisional spreading of alternatives, nevertheless the exact mechanism of CD remains unclear.
Methods: 45 right-handed hungry participants performed a free-choice paradigm (Izuma at al., 2010), in which participants were initially asked to rate their preference for food items (snack food) using 8-point Likert scale. Next, subjects made choices between pairs of foods (Self trials in the Choice task) which varied systematically so that choices were sometimes made between two equally liked items (Self-Difficult trials), and other times between one liked item and one disliked item (Self-Easy trial). In still other trials, choices were made randomly by a computer between two equally liked items (Computer trials, control condition). Next, participants were asked to rate the original set of food items again to detect post-decisional spreading. We also recorded response-locked event-related potentials (ERP) during Self-Difficult and Self-Easy trials.
Results: Our behavioral result clearly show post-decisional spreading of alternatives, i.e. items that were rejected during Self-Difficult trials were rated significantly more negative than those rejected during Self-Easy trials. Interestingly, decisions during Self-Difficult trials were accompanied by a stronger negative fronto-central ERP similar to the Error-Related Negativity (ERN).
Conclusion: ERN has been previously associated with incorrect responses and general performance monitoring mechanism (Young at al. 2004). Overall, our results suggest that CD can be mediated by the activity of the mPFC as a part of the general performance-monitoring circuitry.
Title: Neural underpinnigs of bargaining under social competition
Speaker: Mario Martinez-Saito
Abstract: A modification of the (Nash) bargaining game allowing furhter competition in the form of an additional sellers or buyer, called the Double Auction game, will be discussed from the standpoint of model-based fMRI. Implications of this study could shed light on the strategies used by people when trying to optimize profit in uncertain social environments.
Title: Individual Differences in Psychological Characteristics and Iowa Gambling Task Performance
Speaker: Maria Chumakova
Abstract: One of the most popular tools to study decision making under uncertainty in adult populations is Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). The IGT requires the participant to choose cards from four decks that have a systematically varied intermittent gain and loss structure that the participants uncover by trial and error during the experiment. Our current research project claims that individual differences in intelligence and personality might influence performance in IGT. In my talk I will present preliminary results of our project which demonstrate association between IGT performance and general intelligence, risk-readiness, rationality (as a tendency to seek for information), tolerance/intolerance for uncertainty and individual susceptibility to framing effect.
Title: Reconsolidation window or how memory can be changed
Speaker: Valeriya Belyaeva
Abstract: Recent research has provided evidence on changing fears in humans after the conditioning procedure, proposed by memory reconsolidation theory advocates. This theory states that in the moment of retrieval memories are vulnerable and can be changed. It is based on the premise that reconsolidation is an adaptive update mechanism by which new information is incorporated into old memories. Manipulating memories at reconsolidation may offer an opportunity to erase mal-adaptive memories and to improve cognitive capacities in humans by increasing memory persistence, specificity and accuracy. In the present studies it has been shown that, both memory systems (procedural and declarative) operate on the same reconsolidation principle.
Title: Structural Neuroexperimetrics: where do we stand and where to go?
Speaker: Dmitry Ivanov
Abstract: Economic decision theory has been studying formal models of rational individual choice and testing theories of such choice for a long time. These tests have been based on the hypotheses of rational preferences that can be characterised in terms of observable and latent (individual) variables, and are subject to random errors as stipulated by the need of structural (“experimetric”) estimation. These hypotheses have recently been made subject to neuro analysis: Glimcher, Rangel, Webb and others have developed the connections between these experimetric models, measures of neural activity using fMRI and EEG, and neuropsychological Bounded Accumulation Models (BAM), such as Drift-diffusion and Race models. This approach has also been related with various types of utilities (esp.experienced and decision utility – Fehr and Rangel, 2011). We review this literature, emphasize some connections and open issues, and discuss possible directions for research in this area.
Title: Neural markers of individual differences in decision-making (Joseph W Kable and Ifat Levy)
Speaker: Alexey Gorin
Abstract: In the last few years, neuroscientists have begun to identify associations between individual differences in decision-making and features of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. Different tendencies in decision making, such as tolerance for risk, delay or effort, have been linked to various neurobiological measures, such as morphometry, structural connectivity, functional connectivity or the function of neurotransmitter systems. Though far from immutable, these neural features may nonetheless be suitable as relatively stable biomarkers for different decision traits. The establishment of such markers would achieve one of the stated goals of neuroeconomics, which is to improve the prediction of economic behavior across different contexts.
Title: Introduction to neuroentrepreneurship
Speaker: Marco Colosio
Abstract: Recently neuroscience has become popular in research applications on social science and behaviors. Neuroscience focuses on the “ultimate black box” – the brain - and infers information from images of brain activity and similar techniques (Camerer, et al. 2005) Entrepreneurship increasingly takes advantage of rigorous experimental methodologies to better understand deeper structures of entrepreneurial cognition. Thus, I will introduce the growing field of neuroentrepreneurship and its key concepts as well as I will provide a glimpse of previous works. Then, we will discuss possible future research development and limitations.
Title: Can we reliably tell truth from lie with a machine learning classifier trained on fMRI data?
Speaker: Mario Martinez-Saito
Abstract: For decades, the standard way to detect deception based on physiological measures has been the infamous polygraph test. Recently, some fMRI studies have shown that deception can be detected in group data, and intra-individual analyses have revealed detection accuracies close to 90%. Although the generalizability of these results is flimsy and practical protocols haven't been proven to be reliable yet, several companies already exist advertising and selling services based on this technology. I will introduce lie detection methods, address these questions, and put forward ideas on how to contribute to this field.
Title: Who Obeys the Commandments? Experimental Setup and Preliminary Results
Speaker: Alexis Belianin
Abstract: We present the design and preliminary results of a novel series of experiments intended to reveal the quality of obeying the three (out of ten) commandments - You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor; You shall not steal;You shall not covet - on a set of religious and non-religious subjects. Results are part of a broader cross-country and cross-religious project covering Russia, Germany, Italy and Israel.
Title: Executive control load influences the framing effect
Speaker: Zach Yaple with Chumakova M., Shestakova A., & Klucharev V.
Abstract: The framing effect is a cognitive bias, in which people react to a particular risk choices in different ways depending on how it is presented; e.g. as a gain or loss. People tend to avoid risk when a positive frame is presented but seek risks when a negative frame is presented. In the current behavioral study we attempt to find a causal link between framing effects and risk taking by manipulating executive control load. By using a switch-risk paradigm, risk options in gains and losses were selected differently under high cognitive control load, as predicted by Prospect theory. However, under conditions of low control load, risk taking was unaffected by the framing effect. Using dual process theory, we suggest that system 2 may inhibit this bias during low control load. However, once executive control is depleted by increasing cognitive load, system 1 gives rise to the framing effect.
Title: Neurobiological mechanisms of the third-party punishment as a cooperation's promoter.
Speaker: Oksana Zinchenko
Abstract: Research in the field of social rules have demonstrated that humans have strong preferences for equity and reciprocity, and have a tendency to reject rather than accept offers that are perceived as being unfair. In case that others are intentionally disadvantaged, humans often punish unfair behavior at their own expense, regardless of the likelihood of receiving anything in return. The motivation of such costly acts (called ‘‘costly’’ punishment) probably reinforce cooperation and to avoid inequity within social groups. Previous results in fMRI show that two different networks involved in decision-making process for cooperation: cognitive control system, which perform «objective» evalution of stimulus and social cognition system which includes evaluation of emotional components about possible threat or trust. So-called cognitive control system consists of lateral prefrontal cortex, social cognition system includes temporal-parietal junction, medial prefrontal cortex and amigdala. We propose a research to distinguish an influence at emotional perception of unfair economic behavior and its consequences and investigate reciprocal network regulates self-regarding and other-regarding preferences in third-party punishment. We are going to present our results of behavioral pilot and discuss further study with transcranial electrical stimulation.
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