At its most fundamental, the study of decision-making attempts to understand and explain our ability to process multiple alternatives and choose an optimal course of action, and the ultimate goal of this enterprise is to construct accurate theoretical and practical models of how we decide and choose. This goal has occupied thinkers for many centuries, with multiple disciplines making efforts to build models of decision-making that both describe and prescribe this important behavior.
Despite these laudable efforts however, these fields have approached the question of how we decide with quite different assumptions and different methods. As a result, there are divergent approaches which, while undoubtedly important in and of themselves, often fail to capture the full range of decision-making.
The emergence of an interdisciplinary field in the past decade, popularly known as Decision Neuroscience, offers a highly promising avenue to examine decision-making at different levels of analysis.
We seek to investigate decision-making by taking into account theories of choice that have emerged from Psychology and Neuroscience, as well as constraints imposed by the workings of the brain, while in addition utilizing the formal mathematical models of decision-making that have been developed in Economics.
This new research direction has spurred recent studies of human decision- making, and offers exceptional promise for a more fundamental understanding of the process by which we choose options. Additionally, innovative new technologies, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and computational modeling can be used in the context of a Decision Neuroscience approach to make real progress in gaining insight into the processes that underlie decisions and choices.