Which would you choose for a snack: a cookie or some carrots? The cookie may be delicious, but carrots are certainly healthier and better for you down the road. This type of dilemma plagues many of the choices we face in our lives: a trade-off between an immediate, more rewarding good in the present, and a larger reward but that is farther off in the future. Join us to learn how the brain weighs these short- and long-term rewards, and how we are able to delay gratification – and how this differs across individuals and across the lifespan. We’ll also discuss how researchers have used this information to successfully nudge us toward choices focused more on the future.
About our speaker
Nikki Sullivan is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University. She received her PhD in Computation and Neural Systems from Caltech, and also holds an MA from The University of Chicago in Social Sciences. Nikki investigates the neural mechanisms underlying decision making using a combination of techniques from economics, neuroscience, and psychology. Her research focuses on how we make choices that are in our long-term, as opposed to short term, best interest, and how this differs between individuals, including across the lifespan.