Decision-Theory and Decision-Making

Decision-theory and decision-making, two fields that seemingly address the same issue (decisions) but hardly speak one to the other. Our first DT/DM (the slash “/” symbol is therefore what we will have to think about in this group) will take place on December 21st, from 4 to 6pm, at Edelstein Center seminar room, Givat Ram.
The first meeting will be a particular presentation on a particular topic and experiment (see abstract below). It would be tempting to start by spelling out some general and meta-disciplinary issues on the purpose of this group (-:the slash issue) but it will come a bit later. We start in medias res and we are looking forward to our joint discussions.
First meeting abstract:
How long-term beliefs can overcome short-term rewardsOptimal decision making requires balancing rewarding short- and abstract long-term outcomes against each other, and failure to do so efficiently underlies core societal problems such as addiction or obesity. Different learning mechanisms have been proposed to underlie both propensities, yet neural evidence for this is lacking. We created an original task that permits to orthogonalize belief updating and immediate reward-processing in order to assess to what extent the former is influenced by the latter. We demonstrate that long-term beliefs are biased by short-term outcomes and that dissociable brain regions facilitate both types of learning. The former is associated with ventral striatal activity, and the latter engages dorsal striatum and frontopolar cortex. Yet, stronger representation of short-term learning by dorsal striatum and frontopolar cortex correlated with optimal long-term belief formation across participants. This suggests that reflection about short-term rewards determines long-term learning success and failure.