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Status: 06.04.2020 15:53:05
The research focus of the scientists in the Department of Decision Neuroscience and Nutrition (DNN) department are twofold. First, we use brain data to understand consumer behavior and decision-making. Second, we investigate how nutrition can impact the brain and decision-making.
This leads us to questions like: Why do we decide on a particular food in the supermarket or a particular dish in a restaurant? How do we weigh up the costs and benefits when making these choices? How do these choices emerge and how can they be modified? To this end, we look at neural, psychological, metabolic and bodily processes in order to identify their contributions to the underlying mechanisms of decision-making. Research into these basic mechanisms enables us to develop novel strategies for changing and optimizing choices and consumption behavior.
Furthermore, our research focuses on how nutritional and metabolic processes can influence our decisions and behavior. What we eat influences countless biochemical processes in our body and as a result, can also influence processes in the brain. Our research has shown that different types of nutrition can trigger different psychological and brain states.
In the past, research on eating behavior and food choices has been mainly focused on the digestive system. Recent studies point to the essential role of psychological and brain mechanisms in generating and shaping food choices. Not only can the brain influence many of our bodily functions, but conversely, bodily and metabolic processes can also influence our brain function. Our team is specifically interested in reward- based decision-making as well as decision-making in a social context.
In our work, observable decision-making behavior is dissected into its component mechanisms. We test hypotheses about these component mechanisms using a variety of different types of data, including functional and structural brain data (magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalogram), physiological data (electrodermal activity, heart rate variability, eye-tracking) and metabolic data (blood sugar levels, hormones, amino acids).
Our goal is, on one hand, to unveil the underlying mechanisms of decision-making to ultimately develop innovative concepts to optimize consumer choice. On the other hand, we aim to investigate how food influences our psyche, our brain and our behavior in order to develop creative nutritional concepts for consumer optimization. Our broader objective is to contribute to evidence-based recommendations for policy-making.
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