We are a cognitive neuroscience research laboratory at Royal Holloway, University of London. We use brain imaging methods to investigate how our brain activity relates to our social decision making. Much of our research involves decision making or face perception, using methods like behavioural experiments, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG) and computational modelling. The lab is directed by Dr Nicholas Furl.
In social settings, we make decisions that attempt to maximise the things that we value. This might mean deciding whether to approach or avoid a person. Or we might act on the basis of whether a person appears trustworthy/untrustworthy or attractive/unattractive. Indeed, the face is one of the main ways we communicate socially with others and the appearance of faces, such as other people’s facial emotional expressions often motivate our actions.
Using the brain’s neural mechanisms, we make decisions about what to do and whom we like. We use various neural and computational mechanisms to extract information about who a person is, how a person is feeling emotionally, the words being said and so on. There are many mechanisms that our brains use to accomplish these things. Some of our brain regions are specialised for specific functions. Some brain regions work together as networks with other brain areas. Some communicate in rhythm with other brain regions.
In our lab, we observe these phenomena with brain imaging. And we use computational models to attempt to predict how people will behave, what people will decide, what people will perceive and how their brains will respond while they experience these activities.
Our work has been supported by the ESRC and the Bial Foundation.