The choices we make define the quality of our lives as well as that of future generations. In response to changing environments, organisms ranging from mice to humans must continually make choices that increase their chances of survival and continuation. Thus, evolutionarily conserved brain circuits can be examined at multiple levels of analysis across different species. We aim to establish conceptual and substantive links across levels of analysis -- from neural circuits to individual choice to group tendencies. Such links could spark major advances both in basic neuroscience research and in the application of neuroscientific findings to enduring social problems.
The NeuroChoice initiative is part of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute. NeuroChoice brings together faculty from diverse disciplines to: (1) deepen our understanding of the neural mechanisms supporting choice, and (2) apply this knowledge to optimize choices related to addiction and investment. Such a consilience will require new conceptual and experimental tools that bridge historically distant fields of inquiry. Our group ultimately aims to transform the scientific understanding of choice, and promote more optimal decision-making. We will also engage with public and private policymakers whose work could benefit from neuroscientific findings, and who might reciprocally help identify promising new directions for high-impact research.