Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Ryan Read Rose Hills

Identifying Description-experience Gap in Primates for Risky Decisions

Subjective perceptions of risk can profoundly influence decision making. Recent work suggests that people perceptually inflate risks learned through experience compared to those learned through description. However, due the difficulty of neurophysiological recordings in humans the neural mechanisms underlying this description-experience gap (DE gap) remain unclear. To address this issue, Ryan will behaviorally explore whether the DE gap exists in non-human primates (NHPs) using behavioral tasks based on previous studies in humans. If NHPs display the same biases and follow a similar learning model it would indicate fundamental similarity in cognitive systems which emerged prior to the evolutionary divergence of the species. In doing so Ryan will validate the existence of the DE gap in NHPs and enable subsequent neurophysiological recordings to understand the neural mechanisms behind this probability distortion.

Message To Sponsor

Having the chance to work on this research project this summer is critical for me to advance my research and have an opportunity to forge my path in this field. Having dedicated time allocated towards investigating a project I have a vested interest in, and have worked towards is deeply important to me both personally and in my career. The skills I form here will be critical for me to attend graduate school and work in research to help address neurological disorders.
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Joni Wallis
Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
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