Academic Fields


Established in 2003, neuroeconomics has now grown to be a mature academic discipline. It uses fMRI to understand the neural mechanisms that underlie different types of decision making, building on economic theory. These include decision making under uncertainty, games, and social preferences.


As an applied field, business uses theory from the base disciplines (e.g., economics, psychology) to examine decision-making in business contexts. As neuroscience has been increasingly used to gain insights in the basic disciplines, it is also increasingly apparent in business research. For example, Emory scholars have used fMRI technology to examine the regions of the brain involved in decisions involving business ethics dilemmas. Neuromarketing is also an emerging area of research and application.


Neuroscience has become increasingly common in court. Lawyers often attempt to introduce evidence of brain deficiencies of their clients, and experts argue about the significance of such findings. fMRI-based lie-detection is a growing business, whose validity is currently unknown.


Neuroscience is being used to understand meditative practices. Additionally, neuroimaging is being used to determine how the brain represents and makes decisions over sacred values.


The neuroscience of music examines the subjective experiences and neural substrates of music perception and performance. It addresses questions such as: the relationship of music to language, emotion and memory; how music changes our brains; and whether music is uniquely human.


By comparing human and non-human primate brains with a range of neuroimaging techniques, biological anthropologists are learning about human brain evolution. Cultural neuroscience seeks to describe cultural differences in brain function that underpin cultural differences in perception, cognition and behavior. Finally, anthropologists are beginning to probe the neural bases of human psychological adaptations in order to better appreciate how our brains have been shaped by natural and sexual selection.


The field of neuroengineering has lead to the emergence of a new generation of neuroscientists who apply their training and expertise in biomedical engineering towards the understanding of complex network or cellular events that underlie major brain functions. This field also plays a key role in the development of novel therapeutic approaches for various brain diseases and the use of robotics or brain-computer interface for the treatment of brain disorders.