Neurobiological Bases of Risky Sexual Decision-making

Our central project currently is an imaging study of the neurobiological biases of risky sexual decision-making in Men who have sex with Men.  We are comparing groups of sexually risky and non-risky men as they perform a number of tasks in the scanner, including a risky dating game.   We ultimately intend to use the data from this project as the basis for a neural network model of the neural circuitry involved in risky decision-making

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Computational Modeling

Another central research interest is in computational models of social reasoning and social behavior.

I am working with Lynn Miller of the Annenberg School of Communication and several graduate students (Vita Droutman and Gurveen Chopra) to develop a neural network model of personality, based on work on temperament, the Big Five, and the neurobiology of motivation.

With Dan Simon, of the USC Law School, and Doug Stenstrom of CSLA, I am working on connectionist models of Legal and Everyday Decision Making.

Phil Ehret and I are working on a neural network model of Wil Cunningham's Iterative Reprocessing Model of Social Evaluation.

Jennifer Talevich and I are working on a neural network model of Adult Attachment processes.

With Brian Monroe and Vita Droutman I am working on a neural network model of Cognitive Dissonance.

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Decision Making

Coherence-based Models of Decision-Making

Over the last 10 years Dan Simon and I have collaborated on a series of studies testing a coherence-based model of decision making based on parallel constraint satisfaction processes in neural networks.

Neurobiological Bases of Risky Decision Making 

I am in the middle of a NIDA funded grant in collaboration with Lynn Miller, Zhong-Lin Lu, Antoine Bechara, and Paul Robert Appleby that is examining the neurobiological bases of risky decision making in METH and non-METH using men who have sex with men (MSM).  While they are in the scanner, we are examining their performance on a wide range of cognitive tasks that tap into various aspects of decision making.

Computational Modeling of Risky Decision-making

We will use the results of our fMRI studies of risky decision-making to build Neural Network models of risky decision-making.

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Interactive Environments and Health

Over the last 15 or more years, Lynn Miller, Paul Robert Appleby, and I have worked on a series of interactive environments designed to change risky sexual behaviors in men who have sex with men.

In the mid 1990s we developed an interactive CD that successfully reduced risky sexual behavior in MSM.

Following that, we developed a NIAID funded interactive DVD that was also successful in changing risky sexual behavior in MSM. An online version of this interactive DVD can be found at: Virtual Sex Project

Recently, we finished the construction of a game designed to change risky sexual behavior.  The game is currently being investigated in a randomized control trial.

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