Scott Huettel

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

Lighthall, Nichole R., et al. “Feedback-Based Learning in Aging: Contributions and Trajectories of Change in Striatal and Hippocampal Systems.J Neurosci, vol. 38, no. 39, Sept. 2018, pp. 8453–62. Pubmed, doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0769-18.2018. Full Text

Wing, Erik A., et al. “Neural mechanisms underlying subsequent memory for personal beliefs:An fMRI study.Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, vol. 18, no. 2, Apr. 2018, pp. 216–31. Epmc, doi:10.3758/s13415-018-0563-y. Full Text

Meade, Christina S., et al. “Cocaine and HIV are independently associated with neural activation in response to gain and loss valuation during economic risky choice.Addict Biol, vol. 23, no. 2, Mar. 2018, pp. 796–809. Pubmed, doi:10.1111/adb.12529. Full Text

Kwak, Youngbin, and Scott Huettel. “The order of information processing alters economic gain-loss framing effects.Acta Psychologica, vol. 182, Jan. 2018, pp. 46–54. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2017.11.013. Full Text

Sweitzer, Maggie M., et al. “Neurobiology of social reward valuation in adults with a history of anorexia nervosa.Plos One, vol. 13, no. 12, 2018, p. e0205085. Pubmed, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0205085. Full Text

Stanton, S. J., et al. “Neuromarketing: Ethical Implications of its Use and Potential Misuse.” Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 144, no. 4, Sept. 2017, pp. 799–811. Scopus, doi:10.1007/s10551-016-3059-0. Full Text

Meade, Christina S., et al. “Cocaine dependence modulates the effect of HIV infection on brain activation during intertemporal decision making.Drug Alcohol Depend, vol. 178, Sept. 2017, pp. 443–51. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.05.043. Full Text

Utevsky, Amanda V., et al. “Large-Scale Network Coupling with the Fusiform Cortex Facilitates Future Social Motivation.Eneuro, vol. 4, no. 5, Sept. 2017. Epmc, doi:10.1523/eneuro.0084-17.2017. Full Text

Kelly, M., et al. “Moral conformity in online interactions: rational justifications increase influence of peer opinions on moral judgments.” Social Influence, vol. 12, no. 2–3, July 2017, pp. 57–68. Scopus, doi:10.1080/15534510.2017.1323007. Full Text

Li, Rosa, et al. “Five-year-olds do not show ambiguity aversion in a risk and ambiguity task with physical objects.Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, vol. 159, July 2017, pp. 319–26. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2017.02.013. Full Text


Madden, D. J., et al. “Age-related changes in neural activity during visual perception and attention.” Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging: Linking Cognitive and Cerebral Aging, 2005. Manual, doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195156744.003.0007. Full Text


Selected Grants

Nonparametric Bayes Methods for Big Data in Neuroscience awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co-Mentor). 2014 to 2019

Social Influences on Financial Decision Making awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2019

Basic predoctoral training in neuroscience awarded by National Institutes of Health (Training Faculty). 1992 to 2018

Acute and chronic nicotine modulation of reinforcement learning awarded by National Institutes of Health (Collaborator). 2013 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 (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2017

Understanding Social Influences on the Development of Risky Choice awarded by (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