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April 13: Michael Shadlen, MD, PhD, Columbia University

'The Neurobiology of Decision Making: A Window on Cognition'

Dr. Michael Shadlen, Professor of Neuroscience at Columbia University Medical Center, will discuss, "The Neurobiology of Decision Making: A Window on Cognition," from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, April 13, in LSRC-B035 (the DIBS Lecture Hall). Lunch is available; first come, first served. 

 Dr. Shadlen holds a PhD in Neurobiology from the University of California, Berkeley. He received his M.D. from Brown University and did his residencey at Stanford Medical School. Here is more information from his website:

Decisions as a Window on Cognition - The Neural Building Blocks of Thought

The evolution of sophisticated brains has freed us from the immediacy of sensation and action by giving us the capacity for flexible decision-making. The evidence we obtain through our senses (or from memory) need not precipitate an immediate, reflexive response. Instead our decisions are deliberative and provisional, contingent on other sources of information, long-term goals, and values. I believe the principles of brain function that underlie simple forms of reasoning and decision-making are also the building blocks of human cognition.

Brain circuits support integration of evidence from diverse sources (for example, different senses and memory), assign more or less weight to cues that differ in their reliability, calculate expected costs and benefits associated with anticipated outcomes, process elapsed time to meet a deadline or to assess temporal cost, and implement rules (such as deciding on what to decide upon) and policies (balancing accuracy against speed).