top of page

Welcome to the Neuroeconomics Lab at NYU Shanghai

Research in our lab aims to understand how the brain gives rise to higher cognitive functions. More specifically, we investigate how our brain makes economic choice, which is the behavior observed when individuals make choices based on subjective preferences. Under this economic framework, we study neural circuits that are engaged in various aspects of our subjective mental processes involving rewards, preferences, and decisions. Building upon this line of work, we also study how relational knowledge and hidden states are represented and updated in the context of decision-making.


Xu, C., Ni, K., and Cai, X. (2022) "Specialized neuronal modules for economic and single attribute choice in the orbitofrontal cortex." preprint doi:

Cai, X. (2021) "The neural instantiation of an abstract cognitive map for economic choice." Neuroscience, Vol. 477:106 - 114.

Cai, X.* and Padoa-Schioppa, C. (2021) Neuronal activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex in economic decisions under variable action costs. eLife, 10:e71695. *, corresponding author

Yim, M., Cai, X.* and Wang, X.* (2019) “Transforming choice outcome to action plan in monkey lateral prefrontal cortex: a neural circuit model.” Neuron 103: 1-13. *co-corresponding author.

Cai, X.* and C. Padoa-Schioppa (2019). "Neuronal evidence for good-based economic decisions under variable action costs." Nature Communications 10(1): 393. *, corresponding author

Cai, X. and C. Padoa-Schioppa (2014). "Contributions of orbitofrontal and lateral prefrontal cortices to economic choice and the good-to-action transformation." Neuron 81(5): 1140-1151.

Cai, X. and C. Padoa-Schioppa (2012). "Neuronal encoding of subjective value in dorsal and ventral anterior cingulate cortex." Journal of Neuroscience 32(11): 3791-3808.

Cai, X., S. Kim and D. Lee (2011). "Heterogeneous coding of temporally discounted values in the dorsal and ventral striatum during intertemporal choice." Neuron 69(1): 170-182.

bottom of page