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Decision Making 2012
09/05/2012

Decision Making 2012

Marcus Woo
Caltech neuroscientists have been looking directly into the brain in the hope of homing in on just how people make voting decisions—and, in particular, whether electability really is in the eye of the beholder.
montage of voter guide text
Thinking and Choosing in the Brain
08/21/2012

Thinking and Choosing in the Brain

Katie Neith

By mapping the brain lesions of patients, neuroscientists at Caltech were able to show that reasoning and behavioral control are dependent on different regions of the lobes than the areas called upon when making a decision.

Forging Ahead
06/20/2012

Forging Ahead

Marcus Woo

Tom Harris came to Caltech with an undeclared major, thinking he would study computer science. But, having been an avid Lego builder as a kid, he was drawn to mechanical engineering. He also has an interest in medieval history, which similarly dates back to his childhood—he loved pirates and knights, and both his parents were history majors—and after he took Brown's medieval history class, his impression of the study of history changed.

L.A. Times Shines Spotlight on HSS
06/19/2012

L.A. Times Shines Spotlight on HSS

Kimm Fesenmaier

Caltech's core curriculum is designed to prepare students for the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary research in science and technology and requires that they complete what amounts to a class each quarter in the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS). The Los Angeles Times recently focused the spotlight on this aspect of the Caltech experience, featuring several of the division's students. 

The Path Less Traveled
06/14/2012

The Path Less Traveled

Katie Neith

Growing up, Katie Brennan didn't have a lot of opportunities to travel. So when she started her biology studies at Caltech, one of her main goals was to explore the world. Thanks to a plenitude of funding from the Institute, Brennan—a graduating senior—can now cross two more continents and the mountains of Washington State off her list. 

Hands-On Research
06/04/2012

Hands-On Research

Katie Neith

Interested in how the brain makes connections between touch and emotion, neuroscientists at Caltech have discovered that the association begins in the brain's primary somatosensory cortex.

Caltech Research Shows Medicare Auction Will Face Severe Difficulties
06/01/2012

Caltech Research Shows Medicare Auction Will Face Severe Difficulties

Marcus Woo

Medicare's new method for buying medical supplies and equipment—everything from wheelchairs and hospital beds to insulin shots and oxygen tanks—is doomed to face severe difficulties, according to a new study by Caltech researchers.

Why Do People Choke When the Stakes Are High?
05/09/2012

Why Do People Choke When the Stakes Are High?

Marcus Woo

In sports, on a game show, or just on the job, what causes people to choke when the stakes are high? A new study by researchers at Caltech suggests that when there are high financial incentives to succeed, people can become so afraid of losing their potentially lucrative reward that their performance suffers.

Notes from the Back Row: "What Parents Want—Evidence from Child Adoption"
05/08/2012

Notes from the Back Row: "What Parents Want—Evidence from Child Adoption"

Douglas Smith

What do parents want—aside from kids who come home on time and never talk with their mouths full—and why is an economist trying to answer that question? Because, at its heart, economics is all about the process of making choices. 

Inside the Brains of Jurors
03/27/2012

Inside the Brains of Jurors

Kimm Fesenmaier

When jurors consider shortening the prison sentences of convicted criminals, they use parts of the brain associated with sympathy and making moral judgments, according to new work by Caltech neuroeconomist Colin Camerer and colleagues.