Gregory S. Berns

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Functional MRI experiments in human subjects strongly suggest that the striatum participates in processing information about the predictability of rewarding stimuli. However, stimuli can be unpredictable in character (what stimulus arrives next), unpredictable in time (when the stimulus arrives), and unpredictable in amount (how much arrives). These(More)
Cooperation based on reciprocal altruism has evolved in only a small number of species, yet it constitutes the core behavioral principle of human social life. The iterated Prisoner's Dilemma Game has been used to model this form of cooperation. We used fMRI to scan 36 women as they played an iterated Prisoner's Dilemma Game with another woman to investigate(More)
Certain classes of stimuli, such as food and drugs, are highly effective in activating reward regions. We show in humans that activity in these regions can be modulated by the predictability of the sequenced delivery of two mildly pleasurable stimuli, orally delivered fruit juice and water. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, the activity for(More)
Brain regions responsive to novelty, without awareness, were mapped in humans by positron emission tomography. Participants performed a simple reaction-time task in which all stimuli were equally likely but, unknown to them, followed a complex sequence. Measures of behavioral performance indicated that participants learned the sequences even though they(More)
It is well-known that social influences affect consumption decisions. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to elucidate the neural mechanisms associated with social influence with regard to a common consumer good: music. Our study population was adolescents, age 12-17. Music is a common purchase in this age group, and it is widely believed(More)
We propose a systems-level computational model of the basal ganglia based closely on known anatomy and physiology. First, we assume that the thalamic targets, which relay ascending information to cortical action and planning areas, are tonically inhibited by the basal ganglia. Second, we assume that the output stage of the basal ganglia, the internal(More)
The mesolimbic dopaminergic system has long been known to be involved in the processing of rewarding stimuli, although recent evidence from animal research has suggested a more specific role of signaling errors in the prediction of rewards. We tested this hypothesis in humans, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and an operant conditioning(More)
Given the choice of waiting for an adverse outcome or getting it over with quickly, many people choose the latter. Theoretical models of decision-making have assumed that this occurs because there is a cost to waiting-i.e., dread. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we measured the neural responses to waiting for a cutaneous electric shock. Some(More)
BACKGROUND When individual judgment conflicts with a group, the individual will often conform his judgment to that of the group. Conformity might arise at an executive level of decision making, or it might arise because the social setting alters the individual's perception of the world. METHODS We used functional magnetic resonance imaging and a task of(More)