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Bio-Economics and Decision Making Center
    The center of Bio-Economics and Decision Making (BDM) is an international cross-disciplinary research platform. It is jointly established by Institute for Advanced research of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, and School of life science of Fudan University in April 2014. It studies the biological basis of individuals' decision-making from many perspectives including neurobiology, neurogenetics, neuropharmacology, imaging genomics, psychology and experimental economics.
    The biological revolution of the last 40 years has positioned modern science to tackle one of the deepest and most vexing problems of the modern era – the biological basis of human choice. A large number of maladies that afflict the world today remain obscure due to an almost complete ignorance of the biological architecture of human decision-making. These maladies range from economic melt-downs, driven in large measure by widespread breakdowns in trust between individuals and institutions freezing commerce worldwide, to individual diseases in humans where the primary symptoms are dramatic and often involving pathological changes in decision making. The biological underpinnings of the human capacity to choose are only poorly understood. We do not know how this biology develops or how it may be disrupted by disease, injury, diet, life style, social contexts and environmental challenges such as social stress. By putting decision making under the lens of experimental economics, neuroimaging, and molecular genetics, our research will help generate informative quantitative phenotypes that will enable a major step forward in understanding the molecular architecture of human choice under risk and social influence.
    The main research field of this center is organized around two broad themes – individual decision making and social decision making. The former involves primate, solitary decisions not directly affecting others, e.g., financial risk taking, savings and investment, while the latter concerns decisions that can impact the wellbeing of others, e.g., competitive behavior arising from the marketplace and other regarding behavior such as charitable giving and altruistic punishment. Our overall research strategy is simultaneously implementing methodologies from behavioral and experimental economic and methodologies from neuroscience and genetics in order to delineate the psychological neural and genetic determinants of decision making. We will ascertain whether specific decision processes are under genetic control and if so, seek to determine the extent of genetic influence as well as identify the genes involved. In addition, we are interested in investigating the origins of moral sentiments. By combining the methodologies of neuroscience, psychology and experimental economics we aim to uncover the neurobiological roots of moral decision making. We also intend to examine deficits in decision-making in clinical groups such as eating disorders and other personality disorders (anti-social personality disorders) as well as depression and high functioning autism.
    The principle research objective of Bio-Economics and Decision Making Center is to understand individual difference in individual and social decision making from multidisciplinary perspectives. Our specific aims are to identify genomic regions associated with decision making, map decision-making imaging signatures to genome; detect environmental-modulation of human choice and find biomarkers as predictors of decision making. Moreover, it will also contribute to the training of future generations of scientists. Students who participate in the research programs will receive cutting edge training in the emerging area of biological economics and decision making.  The multidisciplinary atmosphere will encourage cross fertilization of ideas and engage students to address fundamental challenges at the intersection of economics, business, psychology, and biology. We envisage that our research will have profound implications for future research in economics, finance, and the social sciences, and aim to play a leadership role in the emergence of a biological science of economic decision making. Ours will be among the first attempts to map the “decision making” brain onto the human genome which we see as a crucial next step in the 21st century push toward understanding how each of us, from the home to the market place and the corridors of power, make critical life decisions.
    Bio-Economic and Decision Making Center is led by Professor Chew Song Hong, a world-leading decision theorist who pioneers in non-expected utility theory, particularly the weighted utility model, and more recently in the biological basis of human choice. He is among the pioneers in publishing findings on the molecular genetics of choice behavior which is beginning to have an impact in mainstream economics journals, such as the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty and the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.
    The national and international collaborations between multidisciplinary groups, without a doubt will play an important role in the success of Bio-Economics and Decision Making Center.
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