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Alan Sanfey


Alan Sanfey is Professor and Principal Investigator at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands.


Previously he has held positions as Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Arizona, and as a postdoctoral research fellow at Princeton University. He was awarded a Ph.D. and Masters Degree in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Colorado, and an undergraduate honors degree in Psychology from University College Dublin, Ireland. He currently heads the Decision Neuroscience group at the Donders Institute.


His research utilizes a novel approach to the study of both individual and interactive decision-making by combining the methods of behavioral experiments, functional neuroimaging, and formal economic models. Examining sophisticated high-level behavior at a neural level, such as deciding on how much risk to take with an investment or deciding on a strategy when playing a competitive game with an opponent, can provide important clues as to the fundamental mechanisms by which decision- making operates.


A further goal of his group is to use the knowledge gleaned from these studies to inform public policy debates, for example in understanding how expectations play a role in financial, environmental and health-care decisions. He has published his work extensively in leading international journals across several fields (Psychology, Neuroscience, Economics and Business).


His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and he recently received a prestigious European Research Council Consolidators grant which will fund his research group for the next five years.


When not in the lab, he enjoys many sports, mostly football and running, and a lot of outdoor activities including hiking, running, biking (The Netherlands is a good place to be for this), and mountaineering (not such a good place for this though).

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