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

Cordero, Daniella M., et al. “Cocaine dependence does not contribute substantially to white matter abnormalities in HIV infection.J Neurovirol, vol. 23, no. 3, June 2017, pp. 441–50. Pubmed, doi:10.1007/s13365-017-0512-5. Full Text

Li, Rosa, et al. “Reason's Enemy Is Not Emotion: Engagement of Cognitive Control Networks Explains Biases in Gain/Loss Framing.The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience, vol. 37, no. 13, Mar. 2017, pp. 3588–98. Epmc, doi:10.1523/jneurosci.3486-16.2017. Full Text

Delgado, Mauricio R., et al. “Viewpoints: Dialogues on the functional role of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex.Nat Neurosci, vol. 19, no. 12, Nov. 2016, pp. 1545–52. Pubmed, doi:10.1038/nn.4438. Full Text

Jenke, Libby, and Scott A. Huettel. “Issues or Identity? Cognitive Foundations of Voter Choice.Trends in Cognitive Sciences, vol. 20, no. 11, Nov. 2016, pp. 794–804. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.tics.2016.08.013. Full Text

Kwak, Y., and S. A. Huettel. “Prosocial reward learning in children and adolescents.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 7, no. OCT, Oct. 2016. Scopus, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01539. Full Text Open Access Copy

Meade, Christina S., et al. “Compensatory activation in fronto-parietal cortices among HIV-infected persons during a monetary decision-making task.Hum Brain Mapp, vol. 37, no. 7, July 2016, pp. 2455–67. Pubmed, doi:10.1002/hbm.23185. Full Text

San Martín, René, et al. “Altruistic traits are predicted by neural responses to monetary outcomes for self vs charity.Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci, vol. 11, no. 6, June 2016, pp. 863–76. Pubmed, doi:10.1093/scan/nsw026. Full Text

Kwak, Youngbin, and Scott A. Huettel. “Prosocial Reward Learning in Children and Adolescents.Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 7, Jan. 2016, p. 1539. Epmc, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01539. Full Text

Coutlee, Christopher G., et al. “Reduced Risk-Taking following Disruption of the Intraparietal Sulcus.Frontiers in Neuroscience, vol. 10, Jan. 2016, p. 588. Epmc, doi:10.3389/fnins.2016.00588. Full Text

San Martín, René, et al. “Cortical Brain Activity Reflecting Attentional Biasing Toward Reward-Predicting Cues Covaries with Economic Decision-Making Performance.Cereb Cortex, vol. 26, no. 1, Jan. 2016, pp. 1–11. Pubmed, doi:10.1093/cercor/bhu160. Full Text Open Access Copy


Selected Grants

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

Neurocognitive Impact of Marijuana Use in Patients with HIV/AIDS awarded by National Institutes of Health (Collaborator). 2013 to 2015

Neurobehavioral and fMRI Research in HIV Infection and Cocaine Dependence awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2010 to 2015

Social Threat and Aging: Neural Mechanisms of Emotion Regulation awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2009 to 2015

Behavior And Physiology In Aging awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 1999 to 2015

Increasing Empathy to Improve Mental Health awarded by University of California, Los Angeles (Principal Investigator). 2012 to 2015

Anhedonia, Aging, and the Neural Correlates of Attentional Control in Depression awarded by National Institutes of Health (Consultant). 2010 to 2015

Understanding Information Processing During Consumer Choice awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2014

Prefrontal Function in Adolescent Limited vs Life Course Persistent SUD awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2008 to 2014