New York University has established the Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Decision-Making (IISDM), which will draw upon neuroscience and a variety of other academic fields in order to develop new insights into economics, business, urban life, and other areas.
“Our goal is to better understand the mechanisms, predict the impacts, and shape the policies that will define the future of decision-making scholarship,” says Paul Glimcher, a professor in NYU’s Center for Neural Science and IISDM’s director. “We hope to define a new kind of decision science that will influence not only international academic scholarship, but also medical practice, financial markets, and the social policies that shape our urban setting.”
Glimcher notes that the availability of large data sets—and the means to process them—creates previously unimaginable ways to understand human decision making, and, with it, the potential to better inform practices in both the public and private sectors.
Future research could include understanding the forces that drive lottery-ticket purchases, what prompts risk-taking behaviors by cab drivers, or identifying the intersections at which pedestrians are most likely to jaywalk—and why.
IISDM will draw upon resources at existing NYU schools and centers—the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP), the Stern School of Business, and Langone Medical Center—as well as NYU’s Faculty of Arts and Science and its global academic centers and campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai.
“With access to the massive data streams flowing through the City of New York, IISDM has the opportunity to test models and policies developed by scholars at a previously unimaginable scale,” adds Glimcher. “Moreover, NYU’s unique assets offer an unparalleled opportunity to unite scholars studying decision-making in a synergy that would be possible nowhere else.”
In 2013, NYU launched an Initiative in Data Science and Statistics, which aims to harness today’s torrent of data in order to make advances in medicine, science, technology, business, and a range of other fields. The university-wide effort has included the creation of the Center for Data Science and a masters-degree program in this emerging academic discipline.
For more in IISDM, please visit www.neuroeconomics.nyu.edu.