Decision Neuroscience, including its subfields of neuroeconomics and neuromarketing among others, has provided new insights into the mechanisms that underlie a wide range of economic and social phenomena, from risky choice and consumer behavior to altruism and cooperation. The field represents a primary example of truly interdisciplinary research with people from diverse fields like economics, psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, business administration, physics and engineering, working together in advancing our knowledge of mechanisms underlying decision making and decision preferences. This incredibly unique program would be one of the first of its kind, and Temple University is looking forward to watching this program grow.
The interdisciplinary PhD program in Decision Neuroscience trains the next generation of researchers in the field of decision neuroscience with the ability to integrate and apply academic findings to real-world questions and problems. Currently, few schools offer such a program.
The interdisciplinary initiative seeks to leverage the capabilities of the Fox School of Business and the the College of Liberal Arts’ Brain and Cognitive Science Program to position Temple University as a leader in the area of Decision Neuroscience. The Fox School of Business at Temple University has always been at the forefront of this area, through the efforts of the Center for Neural Decision Making (CNDM). Similarly, the Psychology department at Temple University has been at the forefront of research in the broad area of brain and cognitive sciences. Bridging the two through a university-wide, interdisciplinary initiative attracts high quality graduate students to Temple, and opens up several exciting funding opportunities in the form of external grants.
For more information please consult the program’s promotional materials.
All students admitted to this program are considered for full financial support for up to five years. Funding typically comes in the form of research or teaching assistantship and includes full tuition and a competitive stipend. The funding is renewable every year, subject to good progress and annual evaluations. Fellowship consideration will be given to applications received by December 15th.
Students interested in the Decision Neuroscience program should apply through the Fox School of Business PhD Program application page. Application requirements can be found on the Application & Program Requirements page. Though the GMAT is preferred, GRE scores will also be considered for this program.
Priority will be given to applications received before December 15.
All applications will be reviewed by a joint committee, consisting of faculty from both the College of Liberal Arts Psychology department and the Fox School of Business. If you have any questions about the program, please contact Dr. Vinod Venkatraman.
The core component of the Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Decision Neuroscience (IPDN) is the intensive two-year structure, which prepares students for independent research in the field of Decision Neuroscience by combining classroom learning experiences with hands-on laboratory rotations.
During their two years of coursework, students will complete a pro seminar, five required courses, and six additional courses which include electives based on the students’ research areas. At the end of these two years, students will complete a comprehensive exam, where they are asked to propose and defend a research paper in their proposed field of research. Once students pass this qualifying exam, they will begin work on their dissertation with their primary advisor, who can be from either the Fox School or from the College of Liberal Arts.
IPDN PhD students will complete two laboratory rotations during their first year of coursework, one in the Fall semester and one in the Spring semester. Each semester lab rotation should be focused on a different neuroscience subfield, ideally pairing the student with different faculty mentors. Students will also have the option to complete a third rotation during the Summer if they desire additional laboratory exposure.
There have been several notable accomplishments in the area of Decision Neuroscience at Temple University. These include:
- A series of publications in top-tier “A” journals in the past couple of years on the topic of Decision Neuroscience (e.g., Organization Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Journal of Marketing Research, Management Information Systems Quarterly, and Information Systems Research; plus various neuroscience journals like Brain, Cerebral Cortex, Journal of Neuroscience, Neuroimage, Neuron, and Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience).
- Six years of organizing the Interdisciplinary Symposium in Decision Neuroscience, which has been attended by top scientists in the field.
- Large scale grant funding (federal and industry) awarded to key faculty members like Drs. Jason Chien, Angelika Dimoka, Ingrid Olson, Crystal Reeck, and Vinod Venkatraman.
- Strong industry collaborations that have led to increased visibility in popular media, including articles in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Newsweek, and Science Online.
This interdisciplinary collaboration will leverage the strengths of the following research centers across the Fox School, and also work closely with the Department of Psychology’s Brain and Cognitive Sciences division.
The Center for Neural Decision Making (The Center), directed by Drs. Angelika Dimoka, Crystal Reeck, and Vinod Venkatraman, examines how an understanding of the brain’s underlying functionality can inform human decision making, behavior and preference formation. The Center uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), eye tracking, and other biometric data (skin conductance, heart rate, breathing) to develop models of decision making that are biologically plausible. The large-scale nature of neuroimaging data requires sophisticated data collection, processing, and analysis approaches, and the Center is at the forefront of experimentation and development of these methodologies.
The Temple University Neurocognition Laboratory, directed by Dr. Jason Chein, uses traditional experimental and cognitive neuroscience methods to delineate the specific processes that underlie working memory and cognitive control, and to adjudicate between alternative theoretical models relating to these constructs. The lab explores relationship between working memory and cognitive control, and the involvement of these capacities in the broader landscape of higher-order cognition (e.g., problem solving, decision-making, language, etc).
The Olson Lab, directed by Dr. Ingrid Olson, studies human memory and its relationship to social processing, conceptual aspects of language (especially abstract concepts such as ‘truth’), and decision making. The Olson lab particularly investigates neural structure-function relationships, especially in regards to white-matter connectivity and brain networks that predict human behavior.
High-Dimensional Statistics has emerged as a new field as a result of the confluence of recent advances made in Statistics in response to the urgent need for the development of newer and more appropriate statistical tools to analyze neuroscience data with high-dimensions.