We recently sat down with Vincenzo Fiore, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Computational Psychiatry Unit lab of Dr. Xiaosi Gu, to discuss how he uses novel scientific techniques and computational models to help better illustrate neural activity during human decision-making. His research focuses on addiction and how an area of the brain known as the basal ganglia influences the disorder.

What sparked your interest to research decision-making?  

It started as a question about how you make decisions and how you store information to exploit it for future selections or preferences. I was very interested in game theory, at first, especially understanding and predicting choices that rely on a person’s system of values. The topic evolved into questions about how you create your system of values – what is good for you and what is not. While studying robotics in Rome, I investigated how to make the robot construct decisions, which led to questions about how the brain works. Those questions led me to London, where I began my sole focus of neuroscience research.

How can your research help others?

I would like to be able to see whether these theories about the basal ganglia can be validated and applied to addiction. This would be very important because it could give a strong prediction of how to create and apply individualized treatment.

What are some of your hobbies?

I used to play basketball, and now I like to travel the U.S., and visit lots of different cities, and hope to visit several other countries soon.