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AACL 2013 Speaker

Professor Paul E M Phillips PhD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Pharmacology, University of Washington
President, International Society for Monitoring Molecules in Neuroscience
Board Member, Society for Neuroeconomics

2013 - Multiple valuation processes for decision making: lifespan changes

Paul E. M. Phillips
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Department of Pharmacology
University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-6560, USA

A pivotal aspect of the paradox of human behavior is that multiple valuation systems guide decision making, ranging from a cognitive process that requires deliberation to an affective process that equates to the “gut reaction” (Clark et al, 2012).  These processes have their unique benefits with cognitive valuation taking advantage of latent associations in complex representations of the world by inferential reasoning, whereas affective valuation providing a considerably faster computation which is limited to an approximation that is only updated through direct experience.  Thus, the arbitration between systems approximates to a classic speed-accuracy tradeoff based upon acquired behavioral policies and genetic disposition.  Individual variation in the arbitration process has fascinated people for centuries and has become imbedded classic literature in modern culture.  For example, the diverse ways in which individuals respond to a stimulus provides the contextual basis of for sitcoms through to biblical parables.  However, these traits are not stable across the lifespan, but change as a function of the aging brain.  This lecture will describe the neurobiological substrates of affective and cognitive valuation systems (Clark et al, 2012).  It will focus upon the individual variation in the propensity to adopt one system over the other (Flagel, Clark et al, 2011), the importance of maintaining both systems in the preservation of mental health (Lemos et al, 2012) and vulnerability during the lifespan (Clark, Nasrallah et al, 2012).  Finally, it will discuss age-related changes in these neural systems.

Clark JJ, Hollon NG and Phillips PEM (2012) Pavlovian valuation systems in learning and decision making. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 22, 1054-1061.

Clark JJ*, Nasrallah NA*, Hart AS, Collins AL, Bernstein IL and Phillips PEM (2012) Altered risk-based decision making following adolescent alcohol use results from an imbalance in reinforcement learning in rats. PLoS One 7, e37357.

Flagel SB*, Clark JJ*, Robinson TE, Mayo L, Czuj A, Willuhn I, Akers CA, Clinton SM, Phillips PEM and Akil H (2011) A selective role for dopamine in stimulus-reward learning. Nature 469, 53-57.

Lemos JC, Wanat MJ, Smith JS, Reyes BA, Hollon NG, Van Bockstaele EJ, Chavkin C and Phillips PEM (2012) Severe stress switches CRF action in the nucleus accumbens from appetitive to aversive. Nature 490, 402-406.

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BSAAM's Anti Ageing Conference London, 38 Regent on the River
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