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

Ngo, Lawrence, et al. “Two Distinct Moral Mechanisms for Ascribing and Denying Intentionality.Scientific Reports, vol. 5, Dec. 2015, p. 17390. Epmc, doi:10.1038/srep17390. Full Text Open Access Copy

Knutson, B., and S. A. Huettel. “The risk matrix.” Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, vol. 5, Oct. 2015, pp. 141–46. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.cobeha.2015.10.012. Full Text

Massar, Stijn A. A., et al. “Separate and overlapping brain areas encode subjective value during delay and effort discounting.Neuroimage, vol. 120, Oct. 2015, pp. 104–13. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.06.080. Full Text

Kwak, Youngbin, et al. “The Rational Adolescent: Strategic Information Processing during Decision Making Revealed by Eye Tracking.Cognitive Development, vol. 36, Oct. 2015, pp. 20–30. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.cogdev.2015.08.001. Full Text Open Access Copy

Plassmann, H., et al. “Consumer neuroscience: Applications, challenges, and possible solutions.” Journal of Marketing Research, vol. 52, no. 4, Aug. 2015, pp. 427–35. Scopus, doi:10.1509/jmr.14.0048. Full Text

Young, J. S., et al. “Synchrony between sensory and cognitive networks is associated with subclinical variation in autistic traits.” Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, vol. 9, no. MAR, Mar. 2015. Scopus, doi:10.3389/fnhum.2015.00146. Full Text Open Access Copy

Smith, David V., et al. “Functional connectivity with ventromedial prefrontal cortex reflects subjective value for social rewards.Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, vol. 9, no. 12, Dec. 2014, pp. 2017–25. Epmc, doi:10.1093/scan/nsu005. Full Text

Venkatraman, V., et al. “An overall probability of winning heuristic for complex risky decisions: Choice and eye fixation evidence.” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, vol. 125, no. 2, Nov. 2014, pp. 73–87. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2014.06.003. Full Text

Lighthall, Nichole R., et al. “Functional compensation in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex improves memory-dependent decisions in older adults.The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience, vol. 34, no. 47, Nov. 2014, pp. 15648–57. Epmc, doi:10.1523/jneurosci.2888-14.2014. Full Text

Murty, Vishnu P., et al. “Resting state networks distinguish human ventral tegmental area from substantia nigra.Neuroimage, vol. 100, Oct. 2014, pp. 580–89. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.06.047. Full Text


Selected Grants

Neural Mechanisms of Social Reward Valuation and Decision Making awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2009 to 2014

Brain Imaging the Effects of High Sensation Value Anti-Drug PSAs awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2009 to 2013

Neurogenetic Model of Social Behavior Heterogeneity in Autism Spectrum Disorders awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2009 to 2012

Neural Mechanisms for the Construction of Subjective Value and Preferences awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2009 to 2012

Neurobiological underpinnings of decisions involving social rewards awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2009 to 2012

From Phenotype to Mechanism: Mapping the Pathways underlying Risky Choice awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2009 to 2011

Frontal Function in Adolescent Cannabis Use Disorders awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2005 to 2011

Functional Neuroimaging of Strategic Retrieval Processes awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co-Principal Investigator). 2006 to 2011

Neural Compensation and Economic Decision Making in Aging awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2007 to 2010

A Linux Cluster Computational Facility for Neuroimaging Research awarded by National Institutes of Health (Major User). 2009 to 2010