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Our research focuses on several broad themes:

  • Temporal dynamics of self-control. How quickly are we able to regulate our evaluative responses when making a choice? Does the brain evaluate some types of information (e.g. tasty calories!) faster than others (e.g. nutritional info)? Does the speed with which self-control processes are brought on line affect the final decision?

  • Neural and psychological bases of social preferences. Why are some people generous and thoughtful while others are not? Are there techniques (e.g. compassion meditation) that can increase our awareness of and care for the well-being of others?

  • The role of emotion in moral judgment. Do different emotions, such as anger or disgust, have different impacts on our behavior toward others? How do we resolve moral conflicts? Is it possible to have moral regret, in which one's beliefs about what is right change after a decision has been made?

  • The role of prediction in choice. Why is it so hard sometimes to make healthy decisions, even when we know that some tempting option will only lead to heartache/heartburn later? Are there ways to improve foresight or to make predictions about future consequences more meangingful? Can training improve people's ability to use predictions to guide adaptive behavior?