A multimodal approach to social cooperation
We are investigating three aspects of social cooperation within the framework of the Emmy-Noether research group. We are particularly interested in how these processes go awry in individuals with personality disorders. We aim at developing comprehensive neuro-computational models.
Before cooperating, humans usually learn about each others’ personality by generalizing across similar traits.
We have devised novel reinforcement learning (RL) models that capture how people generalize with different levels of granularity and references points (Frolichs, Rosenblau, Korn, preprint).
The basic problems of cooperation itself are encapsulated in the prisoner’s dilemma. Mutual cooperation yields the best joint payoff but unilateral defection is tempting.
Ongoing studies aim at modelling cooperative decisions in stylized as well as ecologically valid games.
Once cooperation is established, partners have to decide how to share the benefits.
Initial studies model social value orientation in such allocation decisions and show the involvement of the amygdala (Doppelhofer et al., in press).
These projects combine the topics listed below. All projects benefit from close interactions within the Department of General Adult Psychiatry and in particular with Sabine Herpertz and her lab. We closely collaborate with the lab of Jan Gläscher at the Institute of Systems Neuroscience (University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, UKE). Gabriela Rosenblau at George Washington University (Washington, DC) collaborates on projects involving social learning.
Heuristic versus optimal decision-making and learning
We are interested in understanding how humans combine myopic heuristic and rationally optimal policies. Such optimal policies necessitate integrating over multiple future time steps and across multiple social settings. We develop complex decision-making and learning tasks and models based on Reinforcement Learning (RL) and in particular based on Markov Decision Processes (MDPs).
Apparent biases in (non-)social information processing
Studies from Christoph’s Master’s thesis in London and his PhD in Berlin demonstrate that humans process self-relevant information about their future and their character in an apparently positively biased way (e.g., Sharot*, Korn*, Dolan, 2011; Korn et al., 2012). These self-related positivity biases are reduced in individuals with psychiatric disorders, i.e., with depression (Korn*, Sharot* et al., 2014) and borderline personality disorder (Korn et al., 2016a, 2016b).