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

Zhang, X, Huettel, SA, Mullette-Gillman, OA, Guo, H, and Wang, L. "Exploring common changes after acute mental stress and acute tryptophan depletion: Resting-state fMRI studies.(Accepted)" Journal of Psychiatric Research 113 (June 2019): 172-180. Full Text

McDonald, KR, Broderick, WF, Huettel, SA, and Pearson, JM. "Bayesian nonparametric models characterize instantaneous strategies in a competitive dynamic game." Nature Communications 10.1 (April 18, 2019): 1808-null. Full Text

Amasino, DR, Sullivan, NJ, Kranton, RE, and Huettel, SA. "Amount and time exert independent influences on intertemporal choice." Nature Human Behaviour 3.4 (April 2019): 383-392. Full Text

Sullivan, NJ, Fitzsimons, GJ, Platt, ML, and Huettel, SA. "Indulgent Foods Can Paradoxically Promote Disciplined Dietary Choices." Psychological Science 30.2 (February 2019): 273-287. Full Text

Hobkirk, AL, Bell, RP, Utevsky, AV, Huettel, S, and Meade, CS. "Reward and executive control network resting-state functional connectivity is associated with impulsivity during reward-based decision making for cocaine users." Drug and Alcohol Dependence 194 (January 2019): 32-39. Full Text

Shelby, RA, Dorfman, CS, Bosworth, HB, Keefe, F, Sutton, L, Owen, L, Corsino, L, Erkanli, A, Reed, SD, Arthur, SS, Somers, T, Barrett, N, Huettel, S, Gonzalez, JM, and Kimmick, G. "Testing a behavioral intervention to improve adherence to adjuvant endocrine therapy (AET)." Contemporary Clinical Trials 76 (January 2019): 120-131. Full Text

Meade, CS, Bell, RP, Towe, SL, Chen, N-K, Hobkirk, AL, and Huettel, SA. "Synergistic effects of marijuana abuse and HIV infection on neural activation during a cognitive interference task." Addiction Biology (September 21, 2018). Full Text

Lighthall, NR, Pearson, JM, Huettel, SA, and Cabeza, R. "Feedback-Based Learning in Aging: Contributions and Trajectories of Change in Striatal and Hippocampal Systems." The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 38.39 (September 2018): 8453-8462. Full Text

Wing, EA, Iyengar, V, Hess, TM, LaBar, KS, Huettel, SA, and Cabeza, R. "Neural mechanisms underlying subsequent memory for personal beliefs:An fMRI study." Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience 18.2 (April 2018): 216-231. Full Text

Meade, CS, Addicott, M, Hobkirk, AL, Towe, SL, Chen, N-K, Sridharan, S, and Huettel, SA. "Cocaine and HIV are independently associated with neural activation in response to gain and loss valuation during economic risky choice." Addiction biology 23.2 (March 2018): 796-809. Full Text


Massar, SAA, Lim, J, and Huettel, SA. "Sleep deprivation, effort allocation and performance." Progress in Brain Research. January 1, 2019. Full Text

Jack, J, Appelbaum, LG, Beam, E, Moody, J, and Huettel, SA. "Mapping rhetorical topologies in cognitive neuroscience." Topologies as Techniques for a Post-Critical Rhetoric. January 1, 2017. 125-150. Full Text

Huettel, SA. "Functional MRI (fMRI)." Encyclopedia of Spectroscopy and Spectrometry. December 9, 2016. 778-784. Full Text

Martin, RS, and Huettel, SA. "Cognitive functions as revealed by imaging of the human brain." Neuroscience in the 21st Century: From Basic to Clinical, Second Edition. January 1, 2016. 2727-2753. Full Text

Huettel, SA. "Novel developments in cognitive fMRI." fMRI: From Nuclear Spins to Brain Functions. September 16, 2015. 557-579. Full Text

Utevsky, AV, and Huettel, SA. "Social Decision Making." Brain Mapping: An Encyclopedic Reference. February 14, 2015. 231-234. Full Text

Coutlee, CG, and Huettel, SA. "Rules, rewards, and responsibility: A reinforcement learning approach to action control." Moral Psychology, Volume 4: Free Will And Moral Responsibility. January 1, 2014. 327-334.

San Martin, R, and Huettel, SA. "Cognitive functions as revealed by imaging of the human brain." Neuroscience in the 21st Century: From Basic to Clinical. November 1, 2013. 2213-2238. Full Text

Venkatraman, V, Payne, JW, and Huettel, SA. "Neuroeconomics of risky decisions: From variables to strategies." Decision Making, Affect, and Learning: Attention and Performance XXIII. May 1, 2011. Full Text

Venkatraman, V, Huettel, SA, Libedinsky, C, and Chee, MWL. "Economic decision-making and the sleep-deprived brain." Neuroimaging of Sleep and Sleep Disorders. January 1, 2010. 145-153. Full Text


"THE IMPACT OF FEEDBACK TIMING ON VALUE LEARNING IN AGING.": Oxford University Press (OUP), November 2015. Full Text


Libedinsky, C, Smith, D, Huettel, S, and Chee, MW. "REWARD VALUATION IN SLEEP-DEPRIVED INDIVIDUALS." 2011.

Wang, L, Newell, B, Mullette-Gillman, OA, Gadde, KM, Kuhn, CM, McCarthy, G, and Huettel, SA. "Modulation Effect of Rumination Trait and Low Tryptophan on Default-Mode Network Connectivity." May 1, 2010.

Yaxley, RH, Van Voorhees, EE, Huettel, SA, and De Bellis, MD. "Brain activation during decisions involving behavioral risk: Adolescents v. adults." April 1, 2008.

Madden, D, Spaniol, J, Whiting, W, Bucur, B, Provenzale, J, Cabeza, R, and Huettel, S. "Adult age differences and similarities in the functional neuroanatomy of visual attention: Evidence from FMRI." 2005.

Bucur, B, Madden, DJ, Spaniol, J, Provenzale, JM, White, LE, Cabeza, R, and Huettel, SA. "Age-related decreases in cerebral white matter integrity: Implications for episodic and semantic retrieval processes." 2005.

Erwin, S, Datta, N, Huettel, S, Winecoff, AA, Zucker, NL, Sweitzer, MM, Watson, K, and Platt, M. "Data from: Neurobiology of social reward valuation in adults with a history of anorexia nervosa." (November 27, 2018). Full Text

Selected Grants

Nicotine Withdrawal and Reward Processing: Connecting Neurobiology to Real-World Behavior awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co-Mentor). 2017 to 2022

Improving Adherence to Adjuvant Endocrine Therapy in Breast Cancer Patients awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2016 to 2021

Targeting reward dysfunction as a mechanism to improve smoking cessation awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co-Mentor). 2016 to 2021

Behavioral and Physiology in Aging awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2015 to 2020

Mechanisms Regulating Complex Social Behavior awarded by University of Pennsylvania (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2020

Exploring Reactions to Health Warnings on Waterpipe Tobacco Ads awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2018 to 2019

The Modulatory Role of Reward on Attentional Brain Processes awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2006 to 2019

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