T & C Chen Center for Social and Decision Neuroscience Distinguished Lecture
Wolfram Schultz works on the biological basis of reward. He uses behavioral concepts from animal learning and economic decision theories to study the neurophysiology and neuroimaging of reward and risk in individual neurons and in specific brain regions, including the dopamine system, striatum, orbitofrontal cortex, and amygdala. Schultz discovered the phasic reward signal of dopamine neurons and showed that it coded reward prediction error. His group also discovered the first neuronal risk signals, and he imaged the first human brain reward signal with Nico Leenders.
His current interests concern adaptive and reference dependent reward value coding (a corner stone of prospect theory), influence of risk on reward value (as conceptualized by economic decision theory), neuronal coding of economic utility, reward and decision signals in amygdala, and reward processing in social settings. Schultz has received numerous honors and awards for his research, including the 2017 Brain Prize, which recognizes his outstanding contribution to European neuroscience.
This inaugural distinguished lecture is sponsored by the T&C Chen Center for Social and Decision Neuroscience, one of five interdisciplinary research centers affiliated with the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech. The Chen Institute at Caltech, founded in 2016 with the generous support of philanthropists Tianqiao Chen and Chrissy Luo, brings together a cross-disciplinary team of scientists and engineers to investigate one of today's greatest challenges and opportunities: understanding the brain and how it works.