Scott Huettel, Ph.D.[Edit Page]

Professor and Senior Advisor to the Director

Hubbard Professor and Chair of Psychology and Neuroscience

Ph. D., 1999, Duke University (Experimental Psychology)

Research Interests

neuroeconomics; executive processing; prediction; decision-making; attention; perception; consciousness.

Research Statement

My research investigates executive processing, roughly defined as the top-down control of behavior. I am interested in how prefrontal cortical regions contribute to the dynamic selection of behavior based on moment-to-moment processing of stimulus information. In collaborations with members of the Brain Imaging and Analysis Center, Psychiatry, and Psychology, I examine different forms of executive processing, including decision making, working memory, and response selection. I am also interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying controlled judgment and attention. Recent studies have begun to investigate the relation between decision and reward processes, an emerging research topic coming to be known as "neuroeconomics".

For the past few years, I have also worked on adapting psychological task designs to event-related fMRI, through studies of timing, refractory, and signal-noise properties of the fMRI BOLD hemodynamic response.

Recent Representative Publications


Carter RM, Bowling DL, Reeck CC & Huettel SA (2012, In Press). A distinct role of the temporal-parietal junction in predicting socially guided decisions. Science.


Huettel SA & Kranton RE (2012). Identity Economics and the Brain: Uncovering the Mechanisms of Social Conflict. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society. Biological sciences. 367(1589): 680-691.


Huettel SA (2012). Event-related fMRI in Cognition. NeuroImage. 62: 1152-1156.


Venkatraman V, Clithero JA, Fitzsimons G & Huettel SA (2012). New scanner data for brand marketers: How neuroscience can help better understand differences in brand preferences. Journal of Consumer Psychology. 22(1): 143-153.


Stanton SJ, Mullette-Gillman OA, McLaurin RE, Kuhn CM, LaBar KS, Platt ML & Huettel SA (2011). Low and high testosterone individuals exhibit decreased aversion to economic risk. Psychological Science. 22(4): 447-453.


Venkatraman V, Huettel SA, Chuah L, Payne J & Chee M (2011). Sleep Deprivation Biases the Neural Mechanisms Underlying Economic Preferences. Journal of Neuroscience. 31(10): 3712-3718.


Taren A, Venkatraman V & Huettel SA (2011). A parallel functional topography between medial and lateral prefrontal cortex: Evidence and implications for cognitive control. Journal of Neuroscience. 31(13): 5026-5031.


Morey RA, Selgrade ES, Wagner HR, Huettel SA, Wang LH & McCarthy G (2010). Scan-Rescan Reliability of Subcortical Brain Volumes Derived From Automated Segmentation. Human Brain Mapping. 31(11): 1751-1762.


Henninger DE, Madden D & Huettel SA (2010). Processing Speed and Memory Mediate Age-Related Differences in Decision Making. Psychology and Aging. 25(2): 262-270.


Smith DV, Hayden BY, Truong T-K, Song AW, Platt ML & Huettel SA (2010). Distinct Value Signals in Anterior and Posterior Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex. Journal of Neuroscience. 30(7): 2490-2495.

Wang L, Mullette-Gillman O, Gadde KM, Kuhn CM, McCarthy G & Huettel SA (2009). The effect of acute tryptophan depletion on emotional distraction and subsequent memory. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 4(4): 357-68.


Goyer JP, Woldorff MG & Huettel SA (2008). Rapid electrophysiological brain responses are influenced by both valence and magnitude of monetary rewards. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 20(11): 2058-2069.


Platt ML & Huettel SA (2008). Risky business: the neuroeconomics of uncertainty. Nature Neuroscience. 11(4): 398-403.


Weber BJ & Huettel SA (2008). The neural substrates of probabilistic and intertemporal decision making. Brain Research. 1234: 104-115.


Clithero JC, Tankersley D & Huettel SA (2008). Foundations of Neuroeconomics: From Philosophy to Practice. PLoS Biology. 6(11): e298.


Tankersley D & Huettel SA (2007). Altruism is associated with an increased neural response to agency. Nature Neuroscience. 10(2): 150-151.

Huettel SA, Stowe CJ, Gordon EM, Warner BT & Platt ML (2006). Neural signatures of economic preferences for risk and ambiguity. Neuron. 49(5): 765-75.

Huettel SA, Song AW & McCarthy G (2005). Decisions under Uncertainty: Probabilistic Context Influences Activation of Prefrontal and Parietal Cortices. Journal of Neuroscience. 25(13): 3304-11.

Madden DJ, Whiting WL, Huettel SA, White LE, MacFall JR & Provenzale JM (2004). Diffusion tensor imaging of adult age differences in cerebral white matter: Relation to response time. NeuroImage. 21(3): 1174-81.

Madden DJ, Whiting W, Cabeza R & Huettel SA (2004). Age-related preservation in top-down attentional guidance during visual search. Psychology and Aging. 19(2): 304-9.

Huettel SA & Misiurek J (2004). Modulation of prefrontal cortex activity by information toward a decision rule. NeuroReport. 15(12): 188-92.

Huettel SA, Obembe OO, Song AW & Woldorff MG (2004). The BOLD fMRI refractory effect is specific to stimulus attributes: Evidence from a visual motion paradigm. NeuroImage. 23(1): 402-8.

Huettel SA, Misiurek J, Jurkowski AJ & McCarthy G (2004). Dynamic and strategic aspects of executive processing. Brain Research. 1000(1-2): 78-84.

Huettel SA & McCarthy G (2004). What is odd in the oddball task? Prefrontal cortex is activated by dynamic changes in response strategy. Neuropsychologia. 42(3): 379-386.

Madden DJ, Whiting W, Provenzale JM & Huettel SA (2004). Age-related changes in neural activity during visual target detection measured by fMRI. Cerebral Cortex. 14(2): 143-155.

Huettel SA, McKeown MJ, Song AW, Hart S, Spencer DD, Allison T & McCarthy G (2004). Linking hemodynamic and electrophysiological measures of brain activity: Evidence from functional MRI and intracranial field potentials. Cerebral Cortex. 14(2): 165-173.

McKeown MJ, Varadarajan V, Huettel SA & McCarthy G (2002). Deterministic and stochastic features of fMRI data: implications for analysis of event-related experiments. Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 118(2): 103-113.

Due DL, Huettel SA, Hall WG & Rubin DC (2002). Activation in Mesolimbic and Visuospatial Neural Circuits Elicited by Smoking Cues: Evidence From Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging . The American Journal of Psychiatry. 159(6): 954-960.

Huettel SA, Mack PB & McCarthy G (2002). Perceiving patterns in random series: dynamic processing of sequence in prefrontal cortex. Nature Neuroscience. 5(5): 485-490.

Huettel SA, Singerman JD & McCarthy G (2001). The effects of aging upon the hemodynamic response measured by functional MRI. NeuroImage. 13(1): 161-175.

Huettel SA & McCarthy G (2000). Evidence for a refractory period in the hemodynamic response to visual stimuli as measured by MRI. NeuroImage. 11(5): 547-553.

Duke University Academic Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry, Neurobiology, and Psychology

Center for Cognitive Neuroscience

Center for Neuroeconomic Studies