Scott Huettel

Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and Chair

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Duke University 1999


Research in my laboratory investigates the brain mechanisms underlying economic and social decision making; collectively, this research falls into the field of “decision neuroscience” or "neuroeconomics". My laboratory uses fMRI to probe brain function, behavioral assays to characterize individual differences, and other physiological methods (e.g., eye tracking, pharmacological manipulation, genetics) to link brain and behavior. Concurrent with research on basic processes, my laboratory has also investigated the application of new analysis methods for fMRI data, including functional connectivity analyses, pattern classification analyses, and combinatoric multivariate approaches. We have also been applying computational methods to problems in behavioral economics and consumer decision making.  

I have also been very active in outreach, mentorship, and educational activities; as examples, I am lead author on the textbook Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Sinauer Associates; 3rd edition in 2014), I teach courses on Decision Neuroscience and Neuroethics, and many of my postdoctoral and graduate trainees (12 as of 2015) lead research laboratories of their own.


Decision making, neuroeconomics, behavioral economics, social cognition, executive function, fMRI

San Martín, R, Kwak, Y, Pearson, JM, Woldorff, MG, and Huettel, SA. "Altruistic traits are predicted by neural responses to monetary outcomes for self vs charity." Social cognitive and affective neuroscience 11.6 (June 2016): 863-876. Full Text

San Martín, R, Appelbaum, LG, Huettel, SA, and Woldorff, MG. "Cortical Brain Activity Reflecting Attentional Biasing Toward Reward-Predicting Cues Covaries with Economic Decision-Making Performance." Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991) 26.1 (January 2016): 1-11. Full Text Open Access Copy

Coutlee, CG, Kiyonaga, A, Korb, FM, Huettel, SA, and Egner, T. "Reduced Risk-Taking following Disruption of the Intraparietal Sulcus." Frontiers in neuroscience 10 (January 2016): 588-. Full Text

Kwak, Y, and Huettel, SA. "Prosocial Reward Learning in Children and Adolescents." Frontiers in psychology 7 (January 2016): 1539-. Open Access Copy

Ngo, L, Kelly, M, Coutlee, CG, Carter, RM, Sinnott-Armstrong, W, and Huettel, SA. "Two Distinct Moral Mechanisms for Ascribing and Denying Intentionality." Scientific Reports 5 (December 4, 2015): 17390-. Full Text Open Access Copy

Massar, SAA, Libedinsky, C, Weiyan, C, Huettel, SA, and Chee, MWL. "Separate and overlapping brain areas encode subjective value during delay and effort discounting." NeuroImage 120 (October 2015): 104-113. Full Text

Kwak, Y, Payne, JW, Cohen, AL, and Huettel, SA. "The Rational Adolescent: Strategic Information Processing during Decision Making Revealed by Eye Tracking." Cognitive development 36 (October 2015): 20-30. Full Text Open Access Copy

Knutson, B, and Huettel, SA. "The risk matrix." Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences 5 (October 2015): 141-146. Full Text

Plassmann, H, Venkatraman, V, Huettel, S, and Yoon, C. "Consumer Neuroscience: Applications, Challenges, and Possible Solutions." Journal of Marketing Research 52.4 (August 2015): 427-435. Full Text

Young, JS, Smith, DV, Coutlee, CG, and Huettel, SA. "Synchrony between sensory and cognitive networks is associated with subclinical variation in autistic traits." Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9 (March 23, 2015). Full Text Open Access Copy


Acute and chronic nicotine modulation of reinforcement learning awarded by National Institutes of Health (Collaborator). 2013 to 2018

Mechanisms Regulating Complex Social Behavior awarded by University of Pennsylvania (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2018

Social Influences on Financial Decision Making awarded by National Endowment for Financial Education (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2017

NeuroAIDS research with disadvantaged drug users awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co-Sponsor). 2014 to 2017

Vulnerability to Drug Abuse:Pathways to Recovery awarded by National Institutes of Health (Collaborator). 1997 to 2017

Engagement of Social-Cognitive Networks During Game Play in Autism awarded by Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2017

Understanding Social Influences on the Development of Risky Choice awarded by National Center for Responsible Gaming (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2016

Effects of Cocaine and HIV Decision Making Involving Potential Loss awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2013 to 2016

Neural Substrates Associated with Executive Functioning in Marijuana and HIV awarded by National Institutes of Health (Investigator). 2014 to 2016

Training in Fundamental &Translational Neuroscience awarded by National Institutes of Health (Training Faculty). 2005 to 2016