The Schmidt College of Science is pleased to announce that a new Neuroeconomics Graduate Certificate Program was launched at the beginning of the Fall 2023 semester. The program aims to provide students with the tools needed to analyze, interpret, and apply neuroscientific data in order to understand real-world decisions.
Neuroeconomics is an interdisciplinary field that combines principles from neuroscience, economics, and psychology to study how individuals make decisions. It focuses on understanding the neural processes underlying economic and financial choices, as well as how emotions, cognitive processes, and social factors influence decision-making.
“This program represents a unique opportunity at FAU to bridge the gap between diverse fields such as neuroscience, economics, and psychology,” said William Alexander, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology and member of the FAU Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences. “By bringing together students and scientists from different backgrounds, this interdisciplinary initiative will equip students with the tools needed to conduct research at the overlap of multiple disciplines. Students who complete this certificate will be prepared for a wide variety of positions in academia and industry.”
While many of the underlying ideas can be traced back further, the term “neuroeconomics” gained prominence in the early 2000s when many of the methods used, including neuroimaging and intensive computational approaches, became widely available. In the broader context of academic disciplines, it is considered a relatively new field.
Studies and research in neuroeconomics encompass a wide range of topics, such as investigating the brain regions and neural pathways that activate during decision-making processes, understanding how people assess risk and reward, studying the impact of social influences on economic choices, and examining how psychological biases affect financial decision-making. Researchers use techniques including EEG and MRI to record brain activity, virtual environments to evaluate behavior in realistic settings, and computational approaches to analyze and interpret how brain activity contributes to choice behavior.
“Studying neuroeconomics is important because it provides insights into the complex interplay of biological, psychological, and economic factors that shape decision-making,” said Alexander. “This knowledge can have implications for designing policies, interventions, and strategies to improve decision-making processes, both at the individual and societal levels.”
Any FAU master’s or doctoral student in good standing who meets the prerequisite course requirements can apply. Interested students should contact Assistant Professor Will Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.