Scott Huettel, Ph.D.

Photo of Scott Huettel

Phone: 919-668-5286

Box 90999
Durham, NC 27708

Office: B243E LSRC

Email: scott DOT huettel AT duke DOT edu

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Professor; Director, Duke Center for Interdisciplinary Decision Science

Center for Cognitive Neuroscience; Brain Imaging and Analysis Center

Psychology & Neuroscience, Arts & Sciences

DIBS Faculty, Member, DIBS Executive Board, Member, DIBS Center, D-CIDES Member

Research Description

Research in my laboratory focuses on understanding the brain mechanisms underlying executive control, with particular emphasis on systems responsible for economic and social decision making. We use functional magnetic resonance imaging to probe changes in brain activation associated with decision making, integrating fMRI activation measures with behavioral and psychometric data. Because economic and social decisions are common in many game settings, many of our experiments use paradigms adapted from gambling, such as poker or slot machines. An underlying neural theme throughout our work is to understand the functions supported by prefrontal cortex: in what ways do different prefrontal regions contribute to an individual decision? Ongoing studies evaluate whether there are distinct forms of uncertainty whose resolution is mediated by different brain systems; how certainty, risk, and ambiguity differentially influence decision processes; and how changes in the probability of events influence brain systems for decision making. Collectively, these studies fall under the emerging field of "neuroeconomics."


Ph.D., Duke University, 1999

B.A., University of Texas at Austin, 1994

Recent Publications

Carter, R.M., Bowling, D.L., Reeck, C.C., & Huettel, S.A. (2012). A distinct role of the temporal-parietal junction in predicting socially guided decisions. Science, 337, 109-111.

Levallois, C., Clithero, J.A., Wouters, P., Smidts, A., & Huettel, S.A. (2012). Translating upwards: linking the neural and social sciences via neuroeconomics. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 13, 789-797.

Huettel, S.A., & Kranton, R.E. (2012). Identity Economics and the Brain: Uncovering the Mechanisms of Social Conflict. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 367 (1589), 680-691.

Research Areas

Research Topics

  • Neuroeconomics
  • Cognition
  • Functional Neuroimaging