The aim of the Perception and Decision-Making Lab is the study of the main variables (internal or external factors) that determine the way we make decisions. We are interested in what do we choose, and how we choose. With this objective in mind, we use a variety of methods that include behavioural experiments and computational modelling.
The dynamic in the Lab is a very cooperative work between all the members, all the people contributing to the goal of the Lab, no matter the particular project in which each member is focused on. That means, that as a member of the Lab, you must be focus on your project, but know perfectly what other members are doing, so you could contribute to their work, participating in weekly meetings, suggesting papers, methods, or even new topics to be considered.
We support a multidisciplinary and a comparative approach. Because of that, we work with rats (Rattus norvegicus), pigeons (Columba livia) and humans (infants, teenagers, and adults).
We are interested in studying several components of decision making. Using single participants, we have studied individual differences on risk-sensitivity, decision making under risk and uncertainty, the relationship between several behavioural variables (i.e., latency of response, cost or effort, deprivation level) and the attributed-value to an alternative, sub-optimal choice, etc… We have been strongly interested in the use of the group-foraging paradigm to the study of decision making under collective conditions. Recently, two experimental paradigms were developed in the Lab. The first, contributed to test the Marginal Value Theorem when more than two different patches conform the habitat to be explored by a single individual. The second, is an open-field arena that we have used to test the recent Agent-Based Models predictions, under group foraging situations. The arena and software developed permit to track simultaneously a group of four individuals, usually rats, and record on real-time how they explore the habitat or arena, and exploit patches. Under this preparation we have been focused on the variables that determines the moment-to-moment change of strategy, from producer to scrounger, and vice versa. We are interested in how timing affect decision-making, as well. Our work has focused on two main phenomena: 1) time discounting and 2) how timing on individuals trained with no-choice trials, compared with individuals trained with free-choice trails (using joked groups) is affected. Our last interest is focused on the development of short-time evaluation tasks, for humans, to assess different components of decision making: rational choice, decision under risk and uncertain situations, cooperation, timing, etc.