Gregory S. Berns

Distinguished Professor of Neuroeconomics

Director of Center for Neuropolicy and Facility for Education and Research in Neuroscience (FERN)

Office: PAIS 174

Phone: 404-727-2556

Fax: 404-727-0372


Additional Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Department of Psychology

36 Eagle Row
Emory University

Atlanta, GA 30322

Additional Websites


Dr. Berns received his A.B. in Physics from Princeton University in 1986, a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of California, Davis in 1990 and an M.D. from the University of California, San Diego in 1994. He completed postdoctoral training in Computational Neuroscience at the Salk Institute and a residency in Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. He joined the faculty of Emory University in 1998. He also directs the Facility for Education & Research in Neuroscience (FERN).


  • Neuroeconomics (ECON/NBB 481)
  • Advance Practicum in Neuroimaging (Undergraduate & Graduate levels)


My research is aimed at understanding the neurobiological basis for individual preferences and how neurobiology places constraints on the decisions people make -- a field now known as neuroeconomics. To achieve this goal, we use functional MRI to measure the activity in key parts of the brain involved in decision making. We then link these activity traces to various phenotypes of decision making. For example, we have linked the pattern of activity in the striatum with the differential processing of risk and reward. More recently, we have used this activity to predict the commercial success of popular songs – the first prospective demonstration in neuromarketing.  These results have found application in understanding common stock investing errors, and more recently, in the stock market’s reaction to earnings announcements.  We are also studying decision-making over “sacred values” in the brain and its implications for terrorism. And finally, we are using fMRI to study canine cognitive function in awake, unrestrained dogs.