The main purpose of this research topic is to try and relate our understanding of the basic principles of visual perception and how the visual system operates with basic principles of value-based decision-making. Our main questions in this topic are, if and to what extent could we find value modulation in brain areas that are known to represent sensory information. We also examine if there is evidence for a “value tag” in sensory areas and whether this “value tag” is a bottom-up or a top-down modulation. We run several projects under this topic:
1. Shiran’s experiment: A collaboration with Dr. Tom Schonberg. Low level visual features have been known to play a role in value-based decision-making. However, thus far, mainly single features were tested on one type of item using one method of measurement. In the current project we test the contribution of low-level visual features on three items types: fractal art images, faces, and snack food items. Importantly, we test the role of the low-level visual features on preferences after controlling for higher level configural features of faces and market features of snacks like weight and calories, respectively. Using multiple item types and multiple measurement methods we aim to construct a unifying framework regarding the contribution of low-level features to value-based decision making.