Scott Huettel

Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Faculty Fellow of the Center for Child and Family Policy

Scott Heuttel's work focuses on understanding the brain mechanisms underlying executive control, with particular emphasis on systems responsible for economic and social decision making. He and his team use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to probe changes in brain activation associated with decision making, integrating fMRI activation measures with behavioral and psychometric data.

Because economic and social decisions are common in game settings, many of his lab experiments use paradigms adapted from gambling, such as poker or slot machines. An underlying neural theme throughout his work is to understand the functions supported by prefrontal cortex: in what ways do different prefrontal regions contribute to an individual decision?

Ongoing studies evaluate whether there are distinct forms of uncertainty whose resolution is mediated by different brain systems; how certainty, risk, and ambiguity differentially influence decision processes; and how changes in the probability of events influence brain systems for decision making. Collectively, these studies fall under the emerging field of "neuroeconomics".

Research Interests:

  • Cognitive Neuroscience


  • Ph.D. Duke University - 1999

Recent Publications (More Publications)

  • Carter, RM; Bowling, DL; Reeck, C; Huettel, SA (2012) A distinct role of the temporal-parietal junction in predicting socially guided decisions. Science (New York, N.Y.), 337, 109-111, [doi], [abs]
  • S.A. Huettel, Allen W. Song, Gregory McCarthy (2009) Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 2nd Edition
  • Weber, BJ; Huettel, SA (2008) The neural substrates of probabilistic and intertemporal decision making. Brain Research, 1234, 104-115, [doi], [abs]
  • Levallois, C; Clithero, JA; Wouters, P; Smidts, A; Huettel, SA (2012) Translating upwards: linking the neural and social sciences via neuroeconomics. Nature Reviews. Neuroscience, 13, 789-797, [doi], [abs]
  • Smith, DV; Hayden, BY; Truong, T-K; Song, AW; Platt, ML; Huettel, SA (2010) Distinct value signals in anterior and posterior ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 30, 2490-2495, [20164333], [doi], [abs]
  • Henninger, DE; Madden, D; Huettel, SA (2010) Age-Related Cognitive Decline Predicts Changes in Risk Preference Psychology and Aging, 25, 262-270,
  • Goyer, JP; Woldorff, MG; Huettel, SA (2008) Rapid electrophysiological brain responses are influenced by both valence and magnitude of monetary rewards. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20, 2058-2069, [18416673], [doi], [abs]
  • Venkatraman, V; Rosati, AG; Taren, AA; Huettel, SA (2009) Resolving response, decision, and strategic control: evidence for a functional topography in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 29, 13158-13164, [repository], [doi], [abs]
  • Carter, RM; Macinnes, JJ; Huettel, SA; Adcock, RA (2009) Activation in the VTA and nucleus accumbens increases in anticipation of both gains and losses. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 3, 21, [19753142], [doi], [abs]
  • B Bucur, DJ Madden, J Spaniol, JM Provenzale, R Cabeza, LE White, SA Huettel (2007) Age-related slowing of memory retrieval: Contributions of perceptual speed and cerebral white matter integrity.
  • Venkatraman, V; Payne, JW; Bettman, JR; Luce, MF; Huettel, SA (2009) Separate neural mechanisms underlie choices and strategic preferences in risky decision making. Neuron, 62, 593-602, [19477159], [doi], [abs]
  • Huettel, SA; Misiurek, J; Jurkowski, AJ; McCarthy, G (2004) Dynamic and strategic aspects of executive processing. Brain Research, 1000, 78-84, [doi], [abs]
  • Clithero, JA; Carter, RM; Huettel, SA (2009) Local pattern classification differentiates processes of economic valuation. Neuroimage, 45, 1329-1338, [doi], [abs]
  • Huettel, SA; Mack, PB; McCarthy, G (2002) Perceiving patterns in random series: dynamic processing of sequence in prefrontal cortex. Nature Neuroscience, 5, 485-490, [doi], [abs]
  • Huettel, SA; Payne, JW (2009) Integrating neural and decision sciences: Convergence and constraints Journal of Marketing Research, 46, 14-17, [doi]
  • Clithero, JA; Tankersley, D; Huettel, SA (2008) Foundations of neuroeconomics: from philosophy to practice. Plos Biology, 6, e298, [doi]
  • Platt, ML; Huettel, SA (2008) Risky business: the neuroeconomics of decision making under uncertainty. Nature Neuroscience, 11, 398-403, [18368046], [doi], [abs]
  • Tankersley, D; Stowe, CJ; Huettel, SA (2007) Altruism is associated with an increased neural response to agency. Nature Neuroscience, 10, 150-151, [doi], [abs]
  • Huettel, SA; Stowe, CJ; Gordon, EM; Warner, BT; Platt, ML (2006) Neural signatures of economic preferences for risk and ambiguity. Neuron, 49, 765-775, [16504951], [doi], [abs]